It’s no secret that Manila is home to an incredible range of musical talent. All over the Metro are a huge variety of singers, songwriters, and bands performing in any number of genres and styles. With all this talent, it’s no surprise that you can find a nice place to grab a beer and listen to some good music just about anywhere. Still, there’s nothing like the atmosphere that the classics will bring you. If you’re not quite feeling up to the noisy energy of a crowd this weekend and just want to sit back with a drink and some contemporary nostalgia, then here’s a list of some of the best jazz bars in Manila.
Tago Jazz Café
No list about jazz in Manila would be complete without Tago Jazz Café. One of the premier establishments devoted to the art of jazz, Tago is intimate, artistic, and accessible. Here, jazz night isn’t just a Thursday special; it’s every day of the week. Take a jeep or taxi to Cubao and get ready to enjoy the tunes of some of the best jazz musicians in the country, like guitar master Noli Aurillo.
A little further south is another mainstay for old school lovers, Strumm’s Makati on Jupiter Street. Strumm’s has been in business for over 25 years, and is one of the oldest continuously-run jazz bars in the Metro. It’s the only place in Makati that offers live gigs, from cover bands to original Philippine jazz, from Mondays to Saturdays, which means you can pop in for a listen almost every day of the week.
Where: LPL Mansion, San Agustin Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City Contact: Facebook, or through 0920 927 6436
78-45-33 is the new kid on the block, but it definitely has a lot to offer. The brainchild of a group of audiophiles led by Tonyboy de Leon, 78-45-33 was created around the central conceit of putting the “jazz” back in “jazz bar.” It sets itself apart from other establishments by keeping the atmosphere chill and relaxed, with music that doesn’t overpower the conversations of its patrons. Grab one of their famous cocktails and let yourself sit back and appreciate some of the best music in the Metro.
Baroque Jazz Bar
Where: Hotel Rembrandt, 26 Tomas Morato Extension, Quezon City
Contact: Facebook, or through (02) 373 3333
The Scout area in Quezon City is filled with a bustling night life and tons of things to see and eat. This hub of culture and food in the northern part of the Metro is a site of hidden gems, and one of those is the Baroque Jazz Bar at the Hotel Rembrandt. Here, fans of jazz can listen to great music while eating Hotel Rembrandt’s famous Italian steaks and ribs without any of the bustle or noise you might find in the other bars in the area. Night owls will enjoy this place, as the jazz plays on until the early hours of 2:00 am most nights.
Where: 175 Kamias Road, Quezon City
Contact: Facebook, or through (02) 218 1794
Balete@Kamias is another unmissable jazz bar, with eclectic selections for a musical experience that you won’t find anywhere else. The AMP Big Band is one of their top regular performers, and while jazz is a huge part of Balete@Kamias’ repertoire you’ll also find a revolving door of ska, piano, and open mic performers. The jazz bar started out in 2012, and has slowly made a name for itself in music circles. If this sounds right up your alley, then hop on over.
Incognito Music Bar
If you’re a little closer down South, then head over to Incognito Music Bar at The Levels in Alabang for a night of chill music and delicious drinks. Incognito Music Bar prides itself on being one of the few, if not only, jazz bars in the South, and has collected a loyal group of regulars in its young run. The performance space is intimate but the music definitely doesn’t overpower, and the food is pretty delicious too. Try their tuna and some cold beers and enjoy the night.
Ten 02 Restaurant & Bar
Hailed as one of the most elegant jazz venues in the Metro, Ten 02 Restaurant & Bar has become an institution among jazz lovers in the city. With its wide selection of food and drinks and an impressive list of bands and performers, this is one of the best places in the city for dinner, drinks, and music. Monday night in particular is a great time for jazz fans to come in and check out the shows, so make sure this one’s on your list.
For more tips on where to go and what to see in the Metro, check out more posts here on Daydreaming in Paradise!
James Gonzales is a Filipino-American travel enthusiast and writer currently based in the Philippines. After living and working in New York for 10 years, James decided he wanted to see more of the world and leave the city behind. In the course of saving up for what would become an epic trip across Asia, he wrote about previous traveling experiences for various travel websites and publications based in the Lower East Side.
James focused on journeying through the Philippines in the hopes of understanding his roots, and began Daydreaming in Paradise to share his thoughts and experiences. He’s always looking for like-minded travelers to trade stories and swap tips with, and he hopes you’ll join him on his journey.