Some of the clubs and bars we used to know

Revisiting Manila nightlife. (Benson Kua/ Flickr/

Revisiting Manila nightlife. (Benson Kua/ Flickr/


It’s 11:30 p.m. and the line is getting longer by the second. Music emanates from the stereos inside, blasting in unison a song that spoke of being alive — saying this is what it feels like. Dolled-up women with their highest heels on stand next to men in their finest shirts.

This is a familiar scene — last weekend, this weekend, every weekend — a scene that brings memories of the clubs we used to know and love.

In 2005, The Fort had its beats dropping heavily with the opening of Embassy Superclub. Co-owned by Eric Cua, Tim Yap, Jon Herrera, and Fernando Aracama, the then-superclub offered a definite place to party hard.

The cover, however, was not cheap and unless you had your name on the guest list you had to fork over PHP 500 just to get in. The drinks were also pricey, but people went anyway. After all, getting into Embassy was more about seeing and being seen.

After years of its existence, Embassy was bombarded with numerous issues and was shutdown by the city government of Taguig. The owners put up a fight, and re-opened as Encore Superclub. Alas, the encore did not last — it closed for the final time in 2011.

If this sounds like a familiar story for clubs and bars, well that’s because it is. With few exceptions, the same scenario unfolds with almost every nighttime hotspot to achieve mainstream popularity.


Prince from northern India


A few meters away from Embassy stood another bar that had people jumping. Who would forget about that prince from Northern India? Just as delectable as their Tandoori and Lamb Curry were, Prince of Jaipur offered a place to party without the need to be all dressed up.

Prince of Jaipur had provided the partygoers a sense of India, an exotic feeling of being in a different and unfamiliar place. It had a relaxing view from above amidst the chaos below. People mouthed the words “loosen up my button, babe” of the Pussycat Dolls as they moved their bodies like queens of belly dancing.

After years of being the it-place though, Jaipur went stale; people started to look for a new place to party. Along with the Prince of Jaipur and Embassy/Encore Superclub, we had to say goodbye to Fuel, Ascend, and, most recently, 7th High.


Fridays are fresh


Countless Facebook invites began appearing on almost every person’s newsfeed in 2008. A restaurant along the stretch of Jupiter St, Makati opened its doors to the party animals. These invites were for Fiamma, the place where Fridays were made fresh and Saturdays were social.

Opened in 2005, Fiamma offered a more approachable rapport. Simply click “yes” to the Facebook invite and you’re on the guest list. Fiamma was like a huge party for you, your friends, your friends’ friends, your friends’ friends’ frie…(You get the idea).

Today, the only remnant of that era is an aging white building on Jupiter St. that once housed way too many intoxicated college students.


An Italian restaurant and…club?


And then there’s the bar that provided unlimited margaritas every Wednesday night. Having started in 1998, IL Ponticello Café Ristorante began as an authentic Italian restaurant right smack in the heart of Makati.

Ponti was an intimate space that felt like part-house party, part-club. The crowd was always lively with a mix of college students, young professionals, and celebrities.

Moreover, Ponti was also one of the first to popularize different themes for each day of the week. Mondays were jazz, Fridays for house music, and Saturdays for R&B and hip-hop.

In the annals of clubs and bars, Ponti was the old man who simply refused to die. 15 years is an eternity in bar-years though, and even old man Ponti eventually had to shut its doors. The place officially closed earlier this year.



Party hard, go out quietly


As with all things that burn too bright too fast: they never last long. Let’s not forget the others that also left our hearts aching with their closure these past years: Absinthe, Bedspace, Temple, Warehouse 135, and Izakaya Sake Bar, to name a few.

They were places that left a mark in our hearts. It’s been a while since some of them electrified our evenings, but they continue to excite us with the mere mention of their names.

For a lot of us, they were places of firsts: first time to party, first kiss, first night you truly cannot remember. You may have celebrated your birthday or met your crush in them. Some had met new friends or got beat up, some had no clue how they made it home, while some got locked in the parking lot and never left. Whatever the story may be, each person always had a memory intertwined with the place.

More bars will come and go though. In our pursuit of newer and hipper, it’s almost guaranteed the stars of day will eventually go out quietly as well. In the meantime, all we can hope is that the latest ones can recreate some of the magic from the past.


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  • Tomi

    I can’t believe no one has said Sambo’s yet

  • old drunk

    Peps in Pasay road
    That bar beside Peps in Pasay road
    Peps Alabang
    Republic (Malate)
    Ten Years After (Malate)
    Racks Valero

    oh, the drunken memories…

  • jayjay

    1. Jaipur
    2. Embassy
    3. Ponti

    are my top 3 clubs during my gimik days im turning 29 this year party life is no longer for me and it is unhealthy. I miss it though

  • ROB

    the typical superclub is hard to survive due to:

    -overhead (rent, djs, electricity, employees)
    -weekdays is a net loss business (the only days left to profit is Fri & Sat)
    -lots of guestlist (superclubs dont earn on them, some of them even shoo away potential income generating crowd due to “low class behaviours”)
    -the superclub business is very dynamic (changes rapidly)

  • Ram

    So many clubs have come and gone. Remember Faces, Mars, Euphoria, Club V? Every night single night these clubs were packed with people then they just disappeared. The new clubs of today will probably close down too in a couple of years or so because new clubs with fresher concepts will pop out of nowhere. It is what it is

  • Mark

    Didn’t realize Izakaya closed down already!

  • Maan Pamintuan

    Nice list. Mine would include Piedra and the earlier version of the Wednesday Ladies’ NIght Out at Wherelse :)

  • pj

    San Mig in Makati was cool too! :)

  • Konda

    Nice trip down memory lane! Opus is next, closing on February 28. Then we’ve heard Republiq is also closing later this year (moving to the Fort apparently).

    • Gabriel la Ó

      Oh wow, we completely missed on Opus closing next. It seems like the superclubs are having a tough time staying relevant now, especially with all new mid-size club/bars that are popping up.