Located at Raffles Drive corner Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City
With Metro Manila now dotted with bars- from your laid-back yuppie hangouts to wood-paneled temples of curated bottles- locals rarely come to five-star hotels to unwind after a long day with sips of their favorite cocktail.
But, what many do not know is that they're missing out by not coming to The Fairmont and Raffles Makati for drinks. As I discovered recently, their strong cocktails game is not reserved for their award-winning Long Bar alone- even Spectrum dishes out stellar, well-crafted libations. See post here.
Some friends and I were given a drinking tour of the establishments in what I deem as currently Makati's ritziest address and drank ourselves to the ground.
Here is what I remember.
The sunset happy hour at The Fairmont Pool
Hanging out at the pool is something reserved for hotel guests, so do enjoy this privilege when you are billeted at The Fairmont. Their bi-level pool is pretty at dusk, to say the least, and the crowd is mostly European which is the hotel's usual clientele.
The sunset happy hour from 5 to 8pm is set at P695 with allows you to have your fill of local beers, house pours, wines, and cocktails with a platter of bar chow. If you want something light and summery, their Classic Singapore Sling is fruity and tropical. However, if you want something less sugary, the Panutsa Old Fashioned is the perfect mix of complex flavors with a kick.
The tapas are well-priced- I enjoyed the cheese croquettes, chicken satay, chorizo, and of course- pork rinds.
Ostras y Cava at the Fairmont Lounge
At P1200++ per head- this is a steal. Freixinet- probably the most well-known Spanish sparkling wine brand- flows freely from 6 to 9pm, plus you get a buffet of tapas, pintxos, and fresh raw oysters resting on a bed of ice.
No worries if raw seafood makes your stomach queasy- you can have the kitchen bake them ala Rockefeller or with just garlic and butter. They also do a mean patatas bravas- fried potato wedges with aioli and pimenton- as well as a chorizo pintxo topped with fried quail egg.
Personally, I am perfectly happy gorging on their spread of boquerones, thinly-sliced jamon, and skewers of olives, Manchego cheese, and melon. It's a gorgeous, well-curated buffet, perfect for a light drinks-to-dinner affair with my girlfriends.
The Classics at Long Bar, The Raffles
Honestly, by the time we got to Long Bar, I was as drunk as a worm in a bottle of mescal. Which was a pity, since the award-winning mixologists there always serve up some of the best cocktails I have ever tasted.
Still, I tried my damnedest to focus on Orman Bag-ao's explanation of each drink they made us try that night. Their feature cocktails are inspired by the classic luminaries and their libations of choice. I recall liking the Gin Rickey (a little too much, I think. I felt it the next day.), the favorite drink of 20s it couple Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Truman Capote, apparently, loved his screwdrivers and Orman did his own spin on this classic, calling it the True Man's Capote.
These two I remember loving immensely. I also remember stuffing my face with lobster roll and fries. After that, I somehow managed to pry Matt from the dance floor (there was an 80s band that he was annoying with his requests), pick up Little Chi at my parents', then safely laid her down on our bed before I myself passed out. (We took an Uber- no irresponsible drunk driving took place here.) The next day, I discover my phone with messages from our friends saying Matt had left both his cellphones at the bar.
Long Bar is DA BOMB. Drinks start at P395, but they are worth every centavo.
By: Jaclyn Clemente-Koppe
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