Poblacion has been effortlessly turning heads. It’s one of those rare neighborhoods that manages to be cultured in a big city way, and still maintain a small town intimacy. In an area of just one or two square kilometers, Poblacion packs some of the best of what the metro has to offer in terms of art, music, food, and drinks. And if you don’t look closely, you could easily miss some its hidden gems. So, here’s a list of must-visit places to help you explore new hangouts and rediscover old favorites.
Tucked along Alfonso Street, The Ruins is an events space situated in the remains of a burned down house. Despite its tragic past, a lot of the building’s charm has survived. Rattan furniture, capiz shutters, and ornate banisters hark back to its former glory. As the backdrop to epic parties, art shows, photoshoots, etc., it exemplifies how Filipino style and world class coolness can be one and the same.
ABKD x Ñ
Just opened in 2018, this new food and drink establishment features a locally-sourced coffee and pastry shop called ABKD on its lower level. They also serve savory brunch food—including vegan options! Meanwhile, upstairs is its sister bar, Ñ—a cozy space with sleek, dark interiors and great drinks.
The easiest way to describe Pineapple Lab is to call it an art gallery—but it’s also so much more. The space hosts movie screenings, artistic performances, live music, and even social activism. It’s a place that offers Filipino artists a chance to showcase their creations, while providing the Filipino public a destination to interact with high quality work.
While Poblacion is known for its hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars, Buddha Bar is a major exception to the rule. Located in a glorious, standalone edifice behind Century City Mall, Buddha Bar is one of Makati’s most opulent venues. Perfect for a romantic dinner date (they serve really good sushi), or a night of dancing with friends—this is the place to go if you want to be in Poblacion, but also want to get dressed to the nines.
If you’re into reggae music, strong drinks, and a casual vibe, head over to Pura Vida. It’s a great place to unwind after a stressful day of work—whether that means bobbing your head to Bob Marley, or taking shots of their famed Black Cocaine. Either way, bring your girls with you—they regularly have ladies’ nights, which means free sangria!
The Wild Poppy
For insta-worthy interiors and equally gorgeous food, check out The Wild Poppy. A balcony seat in the cooler part of the afternoon is ideal if you want to capture the hip yet elegant vibe on camera. And if your main priority is whether or not the food is delicious—rest assured that everything here is as good as it looks.
Bucky’s is a tiny restaurant packed with flavor. Offering both sweet and savory dishes, it’s a good place to have one of those long, meandering lunches that ends with a late afternoon coffee. And while their salad and sandwiches are pretty tasty, the real star of Bucky’s is the dessert. Whether you order their soft serve, parfait, or their signature Buckygato (a shot of espresso and ice cream on top of one of their namesake brownies)—you just can’t go wrong.
Need a cup of strong Filipino coffee to get you started in the morning? Head to Commune. Looking for a satisfying lunch? Commune’s got options. Maybe you’re into 3D latte art? Commune. How about feminist poetry readings or good acoustic music? You guessed it: Commune’s got everything you want out of a neighborhood hangout, packed in a cute little space on Polaris Street.
House of Joe
For excellent, locally-made craft beer, head over to House of Joe—the brewery and tasting room of Joe’s Brew. Upstairs is the mini-factory where they concoct their thoughtful flavors. And downstairs is an intimate bar where you can try their many brews, alongside other beer aficionados. It’s a boyfriend-friendly spot for an easygoing night out!
Who isn’t a sucker for classic diner vibes? With thick milkshakes topped with cherries, bow-tied servers dancing to jukebox tunes, pool tables, and even a full-on Cadillac in the middle of it all—at Filling Station you get the whole experience. Come here if you’re ever craving a juicy burger, perfect fries, and a quick getaway from the real world.
Follow Pauline on Instagram.