Drinking holes everywhere are stepping up their game by offering restaurant-level bar chow and meals. We list down the bars near Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, that serve grub so good, they can fuel you up all throughout your Friday night inuman session. You may opt to skip that McDonald’s drive-thru.
1. Taco Joe’s Food Shack
318 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights
Taco Joe’s is a bar and restaurant that features classic Mexican favorites such as tacos, nachos, and more. Get your hands dirty and munch on.
You can’t help but notice the Lucha Libre mask staring at you during your stay at Taco Joe’s. This quaint bar has a Cantinaesque interior that adds a rustic vibe to the place. The wooden tabletops, red interior lighting, and high-energy music help showcase the Mexican theme of the bar. If you’re looking to spend your Friday night somewhere energetic, Taco Joe’s is the place to go.
You won’t go hungry as the place has established itself as a legit food shack. Try any of its soft tacos, which are a crowd favorite. We recommend the Baja Fish Taco (PHP90) if you want to enjoy a taco that deviates from the usual beef or pork fillings. And if you’re looking to share, your barkada can opt to order a plate of the bestselling Carnitas Fries (PHP180). Pair your chosen food with a glass of TJ’s Sangria (PHP100) and get your pregame on.
2. Basement 55
ALCAL Building, 258 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights
Basement 55 is Katipunan’s hidden gem, tucked away on its own from the rest of the bars in the area.It’s known for its PHP55 cocktails. (You read that right. You can get your mojitos or martinis for that cheap here.) It also has a selection of Japanese-themed menu items.
The interior captures the essence of a cool and well-designed basement hangout–the name totally checks out. Lit up beer signs adorn one side of the interior, and the cool light from the signs adds to the basement aesthetic. The space is roomy, with the tables spread out far enough for just the right amount of legroom for everyone. The dim interiors are lit up by ambient lights once the sun sets.
Order its Katsuboshi fries (PHP150) if your barkada wants to share a snack while enjoying drinks. The fries are topped with bonito flakes (smoked tuna) and Japanese mayo–flavors that embody the Japanese-inspired menu options. And if you don’t care for sharing, try one of its donburi bowls to enjoy a full meal. The Chicken Teriyaki (PHP120) is served with a generous bed of rice to fill up your stomach without burning a hole in your pocket. To wash down your food, order one of its signature cocktails. We recommend the Mojito (PHP55) for a sweet drink that comes with the right amount of kick.
3. Barcino at UP Town Center
G/F UPTC in front of St.Marc Café
Barcino is known for its tapas, authentic Spanish dishes, and a wide assortment of wines and spirits that pair perfectly with well-crafted menu items. Open until midnight, Barcino is a great place to dine with a friend or two to celebrate the end of the work week in style.
If you’re looking to indulge after a stressful week, book a table at Barcino and spoil yourself. Barcino’s ambiance is refined and sophisticated. The interior is spacious so that guests will be comfortable wherever they are seated. Get a table inside to enjoy a more intimate gathering, with your table dimly lit by the establishment’s liquor displays that adorn the space.
The servings here are generous, so don’t be afraid to order food to share. The Spaguettis Con Gambas Al Ajillo (Spaghetti with prawns in garlic oil) comes in a large serving and can be shared between two people (unless you’re really hungry). The pasta has the right level of spicy and works well with the buttery meat of the prawns. To complete your meal, order a large glass of its signature Sangria. This drink is one of the more refreshing alcoholic beverages. It will leave you with enough buzz to know that you’re having a good time.
4. Grape Escape Wine Lounge + Kitchen
99 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village East
Grape Escape is a tapas bar and wine lounge that is a popular choice for people looking to wine and dine at a sensible price point. Grape Escape’s wide-ranging menu caters to everyone, whether they’re on a date or grabbing dinner with the family. Head on over to Maginhawa and visit one of the local favorite gastropubs in the area.
Grape Escape’s interior is divided into two spaces, with a stairway at the side leading up to the second level where most of the tables are. The first floor has a bar and liquor display with an open kitchen. If you want to enjoy a more intimate dinner, head on up to the second level. The hanging rope lights give the area a more quaint and romantic aura.
The menu ranges from tapas to pasta. We recommend Basil Pesto (PHP285), a meal good for one that pairs well with a glass of wine. Wash it down with a chosen glass from its wide selection of wine. We suggest Gallo Merlot (PHP225) if you want to pair your meal with an off-dry wine that leaves you with a fruity finish.
5. Lan Kwai Speakeasy
42 Esteban Abada Street, Quezon City
Lan Kwai Speakeasy is a Hong Kong-themed restaurant and watering hole that features the red neon aesthetic of its namesake street. Experience a taste of Lan Kwai Fong nightlife through a menu that features a wide selection of drinks and satisfying Hong Kong style dishes.
The red neon lights and murals on the wall make for great backdrops so you just have to snap some pics for the ‘gram when you visit Lan Kwai. The entire space is well put together–it has a nicely designed interior that fits in well with the bar’s theme. The great lighting, chill tunes, and relatively spacey interior makes Lan Kwai a great place to have a cozy Friday Night hangout with your buddies.
Lan Kwai’s menu offers a wide range of options, from rice meals to noodle bowls. Since it’s the rainy season, one has to sample the Chicken Noodle Soup (PHP149). The broth is tasteful and has a great umami kick, and the chicken is soft and flavorful. Looking for a snack instead? Get an order of the classic Siomai(PHP99)–there’s a reason why it’s a Chinese cuisine staple. Cap off your meal with a Lan Kwai Mule (PHP99) and get your Friday night started the right way.