As the old folks say, "Music is the language of the soul" and in Philippine context, one's daily life may not be complete without it. The country has been known to have a lot of internationally renowned music artists and today, the music scene is definitely thriving with the introduction of digital platforms that open the avenue for budding indie artists. However, the local music scene is best to experience live and the city has a number of impeccable music venues to offer. We've rounded up some of Manila's best live music venues that feature not only excellent talents but also great food and drinks for everybody's consumption.
12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub
It may have moved from its former location but 12 Monkeys never stopped setting the bar high. This excellent venue boasts quality sound system as well as an amazing lineup of Filipino bands and solo performers ranging from rock to jazz. Guests may enjoy scrumptious Filipino bar chow like chicharones, Chito's street corner Picha Pie, and a round of their delicious signature cocktails like Sweet Monkeys and Rockstar.
It may seem like a speakeasy bar because of its location but it's popularity have already made noise across the metro. This cramped up basement music bar offers cheap drinks and food as well as an amazing experience with its awesome lineup of bands. Because of its size, it is often used for intimate parties/concerts, which you should watch out as they are open to anyone who wishes to hear exquisite music for a reasonably priced door charge.
Kowloon House Basement, 20 Matalino St, Diliman, Quezon City
19 East Bar Grill
Since it opened in 2003, 19 East has been the premier live music venue in the city. It regularly features an awesome lineup of top OPM artists, not to mention a great array of dishes and liquors. Indeed, it is the queen of the south for live music experience.
Km. 19, East Service Road, Sucat, Muntinlupa City
For fans of Reggae music, B-Side brings Jamaica to this tucked away corner in Makati. What makes it unique is that although it is an indoor venue for great food and drinks, there are some special occasions that gigs are held outdoors, particularly in its open-air rooftop warehouse. It has an Irie Sunday that every patron strive to go everytime because of its incredible lineup of performers of varying genres besides Reggae like Roots, Dub, Ska, and Dancehall.
Malugay Street, San Antonio, Makati City
Conspiracy Garden Café
Having mentioned open-air, a similar venue is Visayas Avenue's Conspiracy Garden Café. Enjoy great Filipino music as it is frequented by artists like Noel Cabangon and the 3D (Ebe Dancel, Johnoy Danao, and Bullet Dumas) as well as Asian fare like malunggay pesto and beef caldereta. Some nights are also dedicated to open mic night for anyone who wants to unleash their talents and for those who are brave enough to express their repressed feelings in the form of spoken word performance.
59 Visayas Avenue, Quezon City
For an alternative and indie rock Filipino music, check out '70s Bistro and enjoy an awesome all-nighter lineup of popular artists. Its list of liquors and bar chow is a must-try.
46 Anonas, Quirino 2-3, Quezon City
Often frequented by millennials, hipsters, and younger audiences, Route 196 is the king in the long stretch of Katipunan Avenue. Thanks to the hit Cinemalaya film, "Ang Nawawala", it has made a reputation for being a romantic place to enjoy a gig with someone special. Enjoy their lineup of alternative rock and indie rock artists as well as reasonably priced bar chow dishes.
196-A Katipunan Ave, Project 4, Quezon City
One of the most popular live music venues since the onset of the decade is Saguijo. This old-house-turned-bar in Makati is the destination of popular rock bands today like Parokya ni Edgar, Kjwan, and the defunct Kamikazee. It also opens its stage for up-and-coming metal rock bands that go well with its list of strong beers and hard liquors.
7612 Guijo, San Antonio Village, Makati City
Craft Rock & Grill
The first and perhaps unbeatable spot for live music at the Fort, Craft Rock and Grill showcases the best and budding artists in the local music scene. It offers a fine selection of beers and sumptuous grilled dishes. Definitely the best and chill place to hangout with colleagues after a hard day's work.
The Fort Strip, 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Tago Jazz Café
There might be only a handful of decent jazz bars around the metro but Tago by far gives the best experience as it attempts to bring to younger audiences this good ol' genre. It's unpretentious and cosy setting breaks the stereotype that jazz is for the posh. The night also becomes more interesting and exciting when guests get the confidence to go up on stage and perform with the guest band.
14 Main Ave, Cubao, Quezon City
Another live music venue that showcases a different genre to its guests is Black Market, which is known for its lineup of local EDM artists like BP Valenzuela and Curtismith. Dance the night away with its awesome house, electronica, hip-hop, and dub music and enjoy its delectable cocktails at its main room called Mad Den or at the speakeasy bar beside it, Finders Keepers.
Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Plaza, Chino Roces Avenue Corner Sabio Street, San Lorenzo, Makati City
Another venue for awesome EDM experience is XX:XX. Perhaps it is best to munch first at its restaurant 20:20, which offers progressive modern cuisine, and then be tranced at the nightclub, which vibe is reminiscent of Berlin's electro and techno music scene.
La Fuerza Plaza 1, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, San Lorenzo, Makati City
Today X Future
Take hold of the future at Cubao's quaint and hip spot where everyone also enjoys EDM music for a more reasonable price.
General Malvar Ave, Cubao, Quezon City
The Roadhouse Manila Bay
Meanwhile, The Roadhouse Manila Bay is a favourite rendezvous of Harley Davidson riders and aficionados of other big bikes in the city. That's why it has a night solely dedicated for these guys with overflowing liquors, great food, and excellent blues music.
Seaside Blvd San Miguel by the Bay, Mall Of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Having mentioned blues and jazz earlier, Strumm's in Makati might still be the reigning king in this field. Opened in the '80s, Strumm’s is the place to be to remind oneself of the great music of the previous decades.
110 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air Village, Makati City
Staple and Perk Bakery
There are a lot more live music bars around the country but we're giving away this bonus part on the list to Staple and Perk Bakery. Technically, it is a bakery or café and there are no daily band performances nor a dancefloor for everyone to conquer. However in collaboration with Sixteen Bars PH, it has a pop-up event where guests may participate in its open mic night dedicated solely for songs from Broadway, West End, and other musicals. Guests may prepare their own minus one or instrument for accompaniment.
Ecoplaza Building Ground Floor, 2306 Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City