January 20, 2017

Secret Bar: Bank Bar MNL

A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an illegal establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920–1933). During that time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation (bootlegging) of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States. Speakeasies were so called because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors. 

In the past year there has been a boom in these back alley, hidden door establishments. So yeah, I'm pretty stoked to learn that the Manila night life scene is slowly embracing these types of establishments.  They are a must-see and must-go and you may have to put in a little effort to find your way inside. 

When I was in college, what were popular were disco bars where you couldn’t barely hear one another and get wasted AF. But it's the era of millennials and I believe this generation has a good grip of mixing the old and the new. Night-outs tend to be more relaxed or chill, where you can just sit, chat and enjoy a drink or two.

I promised one of my best college friends that I will take her with me on my quest in discovering Manila's secret bars. So one Saturday when I had dinner with her and another good college friend of ours who's back in Manila from Canada I decided to take them to this secret bar one of my foodie acquaintance told me about. I tried doing a quick research about it while we were eating our dinner. I'm familiar with BGC but it has changed so much that I really don't know where this building is or what streets are so and so.

All I know is that Bank Bar MNL can be located in one of the doors inside a convenience store at the ground floor of RCBC Building on 26th Ave. So we flagged down a cab, asked the driver to take us to that location. Upon entering the convenience store my eyes were already searching for "the door" and then I saw a guy standing outside a door, he was wearing all black and looks like a club bouncer, so I guessed tis was the door that leads to Bank Bar MNL. We approached and he opened the door and let us in.

Upon opening the door, you will find yourself in some sort of storage room full of spices and condiments. Walk some more and part the curtain, and you'll be on your way inside. Pretty cool huh? No password needed but just some of your Sherlock Holmes skills. Most tables need to be reserved beforehand so if you don't have a reservation, you have to just find a comfy spot to stand or if you're lucky a space by the bar might be available. 

Bank Bar MNL is by far one of the most sophisticated secret bars I've been to. It has a high-ceiling with a handful of tables/chairs to lounge around while having some drinks and listening to chill music. Though Bank Bar is more on the modern and industrial side when it comes to interiors than a true and authentic speakeasy. Millennial yuppies and generation X in class A and B frequent this place (both local and foreigners), so it gives you that posh and hip LA or New York bar vibes so better dress up if you plan to visit.

My friends and I got lucky and found some available seats by the bar. We checked out their menu and decided to order mojitos and margaritas. Just like ABV, Bank Bar MNL has a host of interesting cocktails; their drinks are quite pricey but of good quality. Their well-trained bar tenders curates you your drink and if you want to add something to your drink you can always politely ask and they will be willing to do it for you. My friend loved her Margarita because it used tamarind-flavored salt instead of the usual rock salt.

They also have the largest collection of alcoholic display I've seen in my entire life. Reservations are encouraged but you can just walk in and if the doorman allows you to enter. I also suggest to be dressed properly if you plan on going here or you'll feel misplaced (just my two cents hehe). All in all, my friends and I enjoyed our visit to Bank Bar. If you want good quality drinks and great ambiance for a chill night out, this place is good choice. 

Check out some of the other secret bars in Manila here: 
Shhh... Don't Tell: Some of Manila's Coolest Speakeasy (Hidden) Bars
Solaire Resort & Casino's New Speakeasy: Baccarat Room & Bar
Secret Bar: RM-16
Secret Bar: ABV
Secret Bar: OTC
Secret Bar: Bank Bar MNL
Secret Bar: The Exit
Secret Bar: Mandalay Whisky and Cigar Bar
Secret Bar: The ODD Seoul
Secret Bar: INT Bar 
Varra Restobar - San Juan's New It Place
Secret Bar: Alibi
Secret Bar: Bar by EAST at Lamp Quarters Marikina

G/F RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, 
26th St., BGC, Taguig City, Philippines
Contact Nos: 02 8014862 / +63 9178570852
Website: momentgroup.ph/bank-bar
Facebook: facebook.com/bankbarmnl
Instagram: instagram.com/bank.bar

For more information and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Bank Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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* some photos are takenfrom Bank Bar MNL's  Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

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