If you drive by Pasong Tamo (now called Chino Roces Avenue) on a quiet Wednesday night, the last thing you expect to see is a bar right behind a row of banks and a Ministop convenience store.
The 20:20 bar and XX XX club have a corner of their own where people of all ages come to party or socialize the night away.
Enter through a gate right beside the Ministop and walk a few more meters before getting there. It’s quite a hidden location, but this builds curiosity and adds a sense of mystery.
Hidden bars have recently become more popular than your local bar down the street. Millennials love the thrill of adventure and being in on a secret. The charm of a bar so hidden fuels speculation as to where the night is headed.
XX XX opened its doors to the public in June 2016; its sister bar 20:20 in September of the same year. The place used to be an old warehouse which the owners Anna Sobrepeña, her husband Erick Ong, and their partners turned into a bar and club joint. Since then, it has housed numerous events, DJs, and social gatherings.
While XX XX is home to the crazier, wilder side of parties, 20:20 serves as the cozy and chill place to get a drink, hang out with friends, or meet new people.
The place screams “Steampunk Americana” and it does not disappoint.
Upon entering the establishment, you are immediately drawn to its edgy and fringe interiors. From the shadows cast on the dimly lit floors to the numerous artworks hanging (or painted) on the walls and the flickering candlelight on every table, the place definitely sets the chill vibe and urges you to relax.
It opens mid-week, unlike other bars that are open daily. Door open at 7 pm on Wednesdays but are mostly busy on Fridays and Saturdays.
20:20 holds a monthly party called Circus 20:20 that has three stages: XX-XX, 20:20, and Court Yard. If you’re up for a twilight escapade, then try attending one of these events— or all of them, if you could catch their simultaneous performances.
Visiting while it’s still early isn’t so bad either.
They serve tapas and sangrias from 7 pm to 10 pm. Something to think about if you’re looking for a good time and are on a tight budget. However, if you don’t make it before 10 pm, they still serve really good finger foods to pair up with your choice of cocktails or hard drinks.
I asked about the bestsellers on their menu and just hearing the names already made my mouth water. Their servings were nothing short of exquisite. Every bite was rich in flavor and delightful to look at, to say the very least. I couldn’t stop eating until my order was all gone!
A clear bestseller, the Popcorn with Manchego and Chorizo is great paired with a bottle of cervesa. A step up from your usual pulutan, this pika-pika rocks, thanks to the flavors of the Manchego and chorizo.
My favorite of the night was the Bacon Croquettes, soft and chewy to the core. The potato fritters were stuffed with bacon and mozzarella, a subtle reminder of your childhood mozzarella sticks. A single order has six pieces, enough for 2-3 people to share!
Last but not the least, the Sausage Pizza was packed with cheese and Cajun sausages that could satisfy even the hungriest of stomachs. A strong contender for the title of Best Thin-Crust Pizza in town.
Every night is a different story, and 20:20 houses hundreds of them, moments to be remembered and laughter to be heard. If you ever find yourself along Makati one of these nights, you know where to go.