Page 3 Asian Journal - (619) 474-0588 Visit our website at http://www.asianjournalusa.com August 15 - 21, 2008
By Igan D’bayan Philstar
There is something crushingabout city life. Our daily toil,
trafc that gives us a spectacular
preview of Armageddon, and
the plagues of heat, ash oods,
occasional coup attempts, pigs insuits in government, and a spateof metro handsome posters inshocking pink. Heck, we all needa drink. Good thing there are bars (with either live bands and piped-in music), themed pubs,and areas with rows upon rowsof restaurant-bars that give our city its character. Our beloved-and-equally-hated Metro Manilacould go toe-to-toe with Bang-kok’s Patpong or Barcelona’sLas Ramblas, and emerge victo-rious like the Pacman.The good thing about drinkingis that it’s democratic: it’s for the people and of the people. So-cialites drink. Stevedores drink.You drink. I drink. The goddesswho hums a Guns N’ Roses songand must jet off to a land far, far away drinks. Her gargoyle of anadmirer drinks, while dreamingof outdoing Balthus in his next painting. Say cheers to all that.I put together this list of top bars in the metropolis with thehelp and suggestion of other STAR writers — who also drink (moderately, of course). TanyaLara likes vodka and bars thatfeature folk-rock musicians likeMy Bro’s Mustache and Hob- bit House. She and her husbandRomel could also be spotted inAnthology in Malate, listeningto the DJ bring out dusty songs
from the forgotten cofns of
the ’80s — stuff by Erasure,
10 brightlights inbeer city
Psychedelic Furs, Seona Danc-
ing featuring a pre-Ofce Ricky
Gervais, and Bananarama. TheSupreme beings gravitate towardEmbassy. Therese Garceau onceheld a smell-a-vision screeningof Perfume in Lyle Sacris’ Mog-wai in Cubao X. (Maybe oneday Scott Garceau will stage thedrinking game during a screen-ing of Whitnail & I, matchingevery emptying of jiggers by thecharacters played by Richard E.Grant and Paul McGann. Give
us the nest wines available to
humanity — we want themhere and we want themnow.) Kathy Moranlikes apple martinis.Krip Yuson likessingle-malt Scotchwhisky. JuaniyoArcellana hashad epiphaniesdrinking Paleat the bar inPenguin. Ionce hungout withLourd deVeyra,Bert Su-lat Jr.,RickyTorre,AllanHernan-dez and JoelTolledo at GoldenGagamba in QC where wewere cajoled into buying drinksfor women as old as Methuselahwhile the other male customerseyed us menacingly, clutching
their bags most likely lled with
hammers and saws — a routinestraight out of Hunter S. Thomp-son. I had a memorably sham- bolic time. Really. As the greatgonzo once sad, “Some maynever live but the crazy never die.”There is a Golden Gagambaout there for everyone.
1. PENGUIN CAFÉ: MA-NILA’S FINEST
Penguin, near the RemediosCircle in Malate, is easily the best bar in this blessed nation.First good thing about it is theart. Artists mount exhibits here,with Santiago Bose curatingfrom the great beyond. On vieware paintings by NunelucioAlvarado, literary wall-pieces by Cesare Syjuco, sculpturesand photo collages by artistswe don’t know but ought to.Of course, there is the music.Some of my best recollectionsabout my favorite bands hap- pened in Penguin.Lourd and Radio-ac-tive Sagocov-eredAnakbayan’sJeepneyRock. Uponmy request,Johhny Alegrewith Colbydela Calzadaand Mar Dizondid a reading of Pat Metheny’sBright SizeLife — whichwas pure bril-liance. It is a joy to watchJohnny withhis scowls andgrimaces andgreat guitar-work.Lirio Salvador andElemento with their Sandata pieces did onehallucinogenic jam end-ing with Bob Dylan’s ItAin’t Me Babe. And gui-tarist Noli Aurillo playedSteely Dan’s Any Major Dude. All the melodies andharmonies created by piano,guitars, bass and probably an-gular banjoes were recreated by Noli with one Takamine acous-tic, plucking and strumming hisway into the pantheon of guitar
gods, his spidery ngers across
the fretboard. Aw, aw, aw. Getthese things at Penguin: cheap beer, sausages with just the rightspice, a view of engaging andagitating art, and Original Pili- pino Music played with edginessand shambolic brilliance.For information, call PenguinCafé at 521-2088.
Light that fre
Fiamma on Jupiter
St. is guratively a
hotspot. Come mid-night, the restaurant- bar is crawling withcelebrities (KC Con-cepcion and RichardGutierrez, to name afew) who go to the bar in Bel-Air for signature drinks suchas the blue kamikazeshaker and shooters; bestselling thin-crust pizzas such as Sam- bal Olek & Prawns,as well as pepperoni& garlic; and good,good music.Paolo Trillo, one of the own-ers, says, “‘Fiamma’ is Italian for
ame. When we opened the bar
in October 2005, we envisioneda place where things are happen-ing — a hotspot.”Dig the wine tower in themiddle of the bar. Trillo calls itthe heart of the place. The area beside the island-bar is whereguests congregate. Later in theevening it is transformed into a
dance oor. You could just imag
-ine the parties they have here.On some nights there are celeb-rity bartenders; on other nights,Fiamma serves 400 Jell-O shots
in assorted avors. During
“Eighties Night,” some guestseven come in dressed in Eightiesattire, ready to groove to NewOrder’s Blue Monday, or TheBangles’ Manic Monday.“On ‘Flashback Mondays,’ oneof our best nights, we play ’80sand ’90s music mixed with funk and alternative rock. On ‘After-work Wednesdays,’ we play retrodance music. ‘Fresh Fridays’ isour busiest night. It’s smoothR&B-hip-hop night. On Satur-day nights, we play house music,which becomes more progressivelater in the evening. We call it‘Sinful Saturdays.’”Paolo’s brother, Carlo, sumsup what Fiamma is all about:“Fiamma is a place for everyone.We take pride in getting to knowour customers and keeping themhappy. Not just playing musicfor them or serving them drinks,it’s about creating relationships,learning about them. This is Fi-amma’s way of life — everyoneis family.”Paolo concludes, “The chal-lenge is in always reinventingyourself and making sure thatour loyal clientele is happywith the service. That’s the onlyreason why they’ll keep coming back.”Fiamma is at 32 Jupiter St.,Bel-Air Village, Makati. For information, call 897-1352 or 897-1253.
3. MAYRIC’S: ROCK TOSCHOOL
Mayric’s along España, justacross University of SantoTomas, is the stuff of legends.When it was still a dingy pubin the ’90s, it featured the best bands in the country — TheJerks, Pu3ska, Rizal Under-ground, Datu’s Tribe, AnnoDomini, and Yano, amongothers. My classmates and Iwould sometimes ditch class,eat at nearby Shakey’s then goto Mayric’s and listen to musicallectures by Dong Abay, Papa-dom and Chickoy Pura. I think I learned more from Chickoyabout the state of this nation thanall my political science profes-sors put together. These days itneeds a resurgence of sorts (after that renovation job), but its leg-end remains untainted. Rebirth
is near, as the ofcial website
promises with bands such asKamikazee and Queso slated to play.Mayric’s is at 1320Macaraeg Bldg.,España, Manila. For information, call 740-2960.
4. 70s Bistro: ADECADE OF TRAN-CENDENCE
Also as legendary is70s Bistro in Anonas,Quezon City. I onceinterviewed NoelCabangon at the pubafter being regaled byhis music and mus-ings upon the lives of everyday folks likeyou and me. LolitaCarbon and Asin also perform here. Lolita, by the way, deserves a bronze monument for her songs.That voice, that voice. Well atleast she has a dish named after her at the bistro: Lolitacarbonara.(Customers can also try Picha niParokya or Tilapia Molotov.) 70sBistro sometimes pulls an aceup its sleeve by holding tributesto The Beatles (featuring a bandwith Ely Buendia in it) and Pink Floyd. My friend told me theguys from Razorback performedThe Great Gig in the Sky withMishka Addams. Now that is onestratospheric gig.70s Bistro is at 46 AnonasSt., Project 2 Quezon City. For information, SMS 0921-6402491or call 434-3597.
5. MY BRO’S MUSTACHE:HIPPIE EVER AFTER
My Bro’s Mustache in ScoutTuazon in QC is younger thanPenguin and Mayric’s, but themusic is as old as the hills andhigh times are forever. The brainchild of Boy and Gigi Vin-zon, the folk-bar has become theresidence of rock stars (WallyGonzales and Friends are regu-lars; Joey “Pepe” Smith popsin from time to time) and greatfolk musicians (Labuyo’s MonEspia and Koko Marbella play
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