August 22, 2017

Secret Bar: The Exit

Times have become different since the dark era of 1920's Prohibition, when the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages was outlawed. While not outlawed, a great number of these drinks are just as unreachable as they were 90 years ago. While doing some reading about this topic, I found out that most bars and liquor stores carry only 10 to 50 bottles on average. Thus the proliferation of speakeasies across the United States.

Although I have not come across any written evidence that this was also the case in the Philippines during the 20s and 30s even though at that time we were a colony of the US. That's a good thing perhaps. Exactly the same thought that after a while, speakeasies are also springing around the metro. 

If you're not a regular visitor of my blog, you might not know it but I am very fond of anything vintage especially the anything from the Roaring 20s, because hello, it is easily the most glam era. That's why I am also intrigued to discover hidden bars because they have their roots from the Prohibition era. I've been to and blogged about only 6 and I actually don't have any idea how many are there really. I have vowed to visit each and every one of them and 6 is still a small number I guess. 

My latest conquest is The Exit. One rainy Saturday night and after attending a foodie event in Makati, my friend and I decided to get a couple more drinks. We were supposed to go to Exit's poshier sister The Blind Pig, but on our way, I found out that a reservation should be made beforehand and if you don't have one, there is a huge chance of not being allowed to enter. Since my friend have been to Exit and how intriguing it was to find your way inside this secret bar, we re-routed.

I'm not sure about this information but I believe The Exit is run by the same owners of Blind Pig, who lead the speakeasy movement of the modern day Metro Manila.  It was a lazy and gloomy night, an area of Makati where it's busy and chaotic on weekdays and now it seems like a ghost town. We got off our Uber ride and found this cafe in one of the streets near Greenbelt 1. We walked inside, one of the staff smiling and three other customers scattered across the cafe greeted us. We walked passed them, down to a long corridor almost at the end of the ground floor, then my friend suddenly stopped in front of a door with an "EXIT" sign. Just like that sign you see on fire exits. She pushed it open and then we were transported back in time.

We enter this dimly lit tiny bar with long leather couches from wall to wall on both sides and at the end is the bar with a wall full of collection of bottles, from big brands to craft distillers with yellow lights behind - the spotlight of the Exit Bar. Four customers were there, a couple probably in their early forties and two other females all were foreigners. It was a rainy Saturday evening and it was still early after all. The atmosphere was chill, people talked in hushed voices. We sat near the bar and asked for the menu.

They have an extensive line of cocktails, other drinks and finger foods priced reasonably higher than usual, something that We wanted something sweet and ordered pretzels together with our drinks, one for each. The pretzels, as they turn out, weren't paired with a sweet dip but a sour cream dip instead. We came from a Mexican restaurant earlier thus I was still on a Mexican feeling and ordered something that resembles a mojito, One of The Exit Bar's best-sellers The Old Sport which contains gin, cucumber, mint, lime and sugar. My friend on the other hand ordered this ginger ale beer. 

We weren't satisfied with our pretzel so I went out to the cafe and asked if I can find something sweet; they only have a few selections and I got us this huge chocolate cookie topped with a scoop of ice cream and asked it to be served inside the bar and the staff said it could be done. We enjoyed that cookie and it somehow satisfied our sweet cravings.

I was expecting that the music inside the bar would be jazz and blues to complete the whole speakeasy experience, but they were playing modern tunes. It wasn't so much of a big deal but it would have been nicer if they did play old tunes. Around 11:00pm people started pouring in. The crowd was mixed with couples, college kids and yuppies.

After a couple of hours of catching up, my friend and I decided to call it a day. Such a tita-of-Manila move, but oh well, we were already tired from the day's events and I haven't had a decent sleep since I still worked graveyard from the night before. I would likely to go back at Exit with a couple more friends in tow since I still want to try their other cocktails.

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

Corinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo De Roxas, 
Legaspi Village, Makati City
Contact No: 02 5511283

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
The Exit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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