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Where To Go With The Barkada If You're Abstaining From Alcohol

For times you wanna give your liver a break.
PHOTO: Pixabay

Gone are the days when going out and having fun with your friends meant boozing it up at the newest bar or club (you’d like to be able to actually hear your kabarkada’s latest life update this time). Thanks to the influx of new establishments and things to do in Manila, a sober night (or day!) out is now a totally viable option. Give your liver a break and check out these alternatives to clubbing. 

1. Have tapas.

Tapas is a term for traditional Spanish appetizers and finger food. The legend goes that a certain king of Spain decided that all drinks should be served with a small snack, specifically ham, and the tradition began. Head to a tapas bar instead of the latest club the next time you have a GNO for a quieter night of catching up. You can usually get a big variety of "light" dishes in tasting portions to go with a cold cocktail or aperitif, and opt for a bigger variety of dishes in place of dinner servings. These are our favorites, but check out more here.

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This new it-restaurant by the Las Flores and Rambla group is famous for their Salmon TNT and the chill, laid-back, but distinctly stylish and cool vibe. 


This old reliable is still a good option—have their Tapas Gourmet and Chorizo and Cheese platter to go with your favorite red wine. No one will expect you to down it all at once.

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2. Have high tea with live music.

Turn it up a notch for a classy afternoon that doesn’t break the bank at the swanky Makati Shangri-la Hotel Lobby. Swap the noisy, electronic canned tunes for live music by some of the country’s best classical musicians care of Manila String Machine as you sip tea and coffee paired with sandwiches and pastries. Make sure to go on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.  Nothing says mature and classy like high tea in Manila’s five-star hotels!

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3. Have Sunday brunch.

Who says get-togethers have to take place at night? Block off a Sunday morning and have a girls' brunch instead. Opt for a bright and airy restaurant (or one that has outdoor seating) to get your much-needed dose of sun and fresh air. After five days cooped up in your office and in traffic, it’ll be a welcome change. Check out these spots.

4.  Have a “Healthy Day” with the girls.

Who says a Friday GNO has to mean hitting up a bar? Think Kendall and Gigi leaving Soul Cycle and heading to a juice bar—but in Manila instead of West Hollywood. Thanks to cycling studios like Ride Revolution and Electric Studio, you don’t have to head to a club to dance to your favorite playlists—and you’ll be breaking a sweat while you’re at it. A newbie to the bike? Even better—most studios offer beginner packages for a big discount. Whether you decide to go on a weekend or on a Friday after work, you’ll have lots of schedules to choose from!

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Head to Ride Revolution for a super fun, themed ride.

You might even end up cycling next to your favorite celeb—Isabelle Daza is a co-owner and occasionally teaches a class, and Solenn Heusaff is a regular! 

Have a guilt-free post-workout meal.

After working up an appetite, you’ll want to rejuvenate. Don’t completely throw away your workout by bingeing on a buffet or downing some shots—try these new diet-friendly places we’re loving right now. 

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Happy Garden Café by the Bizu group for a scrumptious but "clean" meal. Try their to-die-for rice-less Bibimbap Bowl or go for their hand-pressed juices.

Poke Poke brings the poke bowl trend to Manila, and we’re in love. Think sashimi and a multitude of flavors in a bowl of healthy goodness. 

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5. Have a history and culture day.

Head to Old Manila and appreciate our country’s rich culture and heritage. Thanks to various restoration efforts, there are many things to do and see around Manila.

Go on a bike tour of Intramuros.

Hop on sustainably-built bamboo bikes care of Bambike and see Intramuros through new eyes. Go for the afternoon tours if you want a beautiful sunset over Manila to end your day!

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Visit the National Museum.

Now that the entrance to our National Museum is free, visiting should be a priority on your weekend list of things to do. See beautiful works by our country’s best artists through your own eyes, and walk through our history with a fresh perspective.

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