Manila is a sprawling metropolis with a variety of nightlife areas. Most bars close at 2am although some open much later on weekends and holidays. Malate is probably the most famous bar zone, and I think it’s livelier than the comparable Lang Kwai Fong strip in Hong Kong. In Quezon City, Morato Avenue is full of bars and comedy clubs while Makati and Global City have bar strips in the Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street malls respectively.
Manila is famous for its plentiful bars of ill-repute, but there are other night-time attractions. One of the more unusual options is The Hobbit House (A. Mabini Street), a Manila institution having been open since 1973. The décor is inspired by Tolkien’s Middle Earth and all of the waiters are midgets or dwarves (little people, if you wish to be politically correct). It offers a dark, smoke-filled interior and live music, mainly of the country and folk variety. And no, dwarf-throwing is NOT a feature of this bar.
Close to the heart of Makati, Tabu is a vibrant yet cozy place for dining, drinking, dancing or just hanging out. The design is sophisticated but unpretentious with velvet couches combined with industrial flooring. The food is great and there are electro and house beats most nights, although there’s also a rock and Latin night.
For trance and house and hands-in-the-air club culture, try Laser Planet (Star City, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay) or The Verve Room (J Nakpil Street, Malate). Alchemy (Silvercity, Frontera, Verde Drive) is a recent edition to Manila’s high-end nightlife scene and features three floors, each with a different theme. The partying gets more intense as you go higher and the music is a mix of hip-hop and trance. The crowd is friendly and up for fun, a winning combo in any club.