Escolta in her glory years was known to be grand in its architecture and as a centralized location that houses malls, drugstores, stores and stand-alone theaters. She was roaring lioness that commands respect and adoration in her time. It was the commercial hub of Manila during the early 1900s and was a witness to many pioneering establishments in the country: first ice cream parlor, first movie house, first electric tram among others. Come 2012- a group named 98B COLLABoratory was created. It is an artist-run advocacy and space initiative in Manila. They focus on community building, networking of artist, local material merchants and kitchen. Their main objective is to create a space where creative centric individuals from all forms of disciplines artists, designers, curators, writers, musicians, filmmakers, activists, educators, researchers, cultural workers, performers, architects, and students together with the general public. The Den resides at the back of the First United Building offering a hidden refuge from the gritty outside world.
Dim Lights, Congruent Shapes, and Good Coffee
In all essence of its name- “Den” it really oozes that vibe. You can pursue activities privately like reading, doing some light work, and perhaps simply sitting quietly contemplating things about one’s self.
The Den is a specialty coffee shop in the heart of Old Manila that is meant to play with form and functions while paying respect of their space. Don’t expect big comfortable coaches, typical wooden chairs conducive to reading. This coffee shop is dimly lit, ambient playlist piped in that will tolerate you to just wave off.
Grey slabs of concrete mixed with industrial wooden fixtures and colors give this 82 square meters of space a distinct deep character. Started as just a coffee shop idea with a manual pour over pop-up. The three owners Gabriel Villegas and his partners Carlo Magno, and Arts Serrano saw the opportunity to open this concept coffee shop. The owners are also the architects behind The Hub.
Wooden platforms with intersecting lines, a form of shapes that exudes balance.
With The Den’s beaming character, they also attract various segments of customers. Here you will find creative young individuals, the lost tourist, office workers from nearby buildings, students cutting classes or on a date. Although mixed with different people and you would expect loud chatters these dynamic customers also flows with this coffee shop’s character.
They get their beans from Kalsada Coffee which directly sources their beans directly from micro-farmers and an organization that pushes boundaries in coffee processing for the local coffee industry.
Aromatic notes fills your nostrils as you take in the bold flavors emanating from the cup. Rich, creamy, and smooth.
This will be our go-to coffee space in Escolta
Just sitting in this coffee shop you can feel its authenticity and thoughtful execution of design and function. There are minor cracks on the wall and even old paint remnants that they didn’t cover up to maintain the essence of respecting every inch of available space of the First United Building.
A nondescript space at the back of a classic Art Deco building hailing from the Queen- Escolta. The Den is your gracious host inviting you to come ins and enjoy a cup or two of their specialty coffee.
- Address: First United Building, 413 Escolta Street, Binondo, Manila
- Opening Hours: Today 11 AM to 9 PM
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