Watch Raw and Live OPM Music: Let Us Show You Where To Go

I can safely assume that not everyone enjoys being out on clubs. Sweaty bodies all cramped into a small space, people who thought they were having the time of their lives for a few hours, overdosing on overpriced drinks with the hopes of giving you mindless chances to flirt with random people. There are times where you just want to grab a cold brew, listen to raw live music and be in trance to the purity of experience.

Music is part of my everyday life. Nothing beats seeing your favorite bands perform live. OPM was revived 2002 due to an emergence of bands which gave record franchises to capitalize on the emerging markets. The linear audacity of over capitalism is that it kills the purity and substance of what the music is all about. After 2006, the scene slowly dwindled down and killed most of its following. But there are still these artists that never backed down and they’ve to continue to emerge and create music regardless if they’re losing money. They were able to pass on and inspire these new generations that have the same passion for creating and sharing their music. There are only a number of venues that really houses performances of this artist regardless if they’re signed or not. These venues serve as a general assembly ground for these artist and music fans to get together on a night where each and everyone will share one common joy; To be in trance with Music. Here are my recommended spots to witness the local independent music scene in Metro Manila. I have curated these places based on their role with local music, type of artist they welcome, the crowd and the overall community they continue to support.


1) saGuijo Bar & Café

  • Address: 612 Guijo St., San Antonio Village, Makati, Metro Manila
  • Grounds for: Signed, Unsigned Artist. Music Productions.
  • Average beer price: 70php per bottle

Yes, you are supposed to spell it that way. It means “sa Saguijo” because this Bar & Café is located in the residential area of San Antonio, Makati- specifically in Guijo Street. I have been coming to this bar since 2003. It is an old house with creaking wooden floorboards, the art deco murals, the warm lighting, the collection of random stickers on its door. They have a pretty good sound system so patrons would really delve into the music. Its four walls garnered a lot of history, stories, and memories of the local music scene. It is always the starting point of bands trying to make it to the scene and even if they’d make it they will always come back to SaGuijo. Outside it looks like your typical townhouse compound. You’ll have the ground floor to where the bands would play and upstairs used to house the infamous ‘ I Love You Store’  and Sarah Gaugler’s Snow Tattoo Shop.


They’re open Mondays-Saturdays as early as 6 pm and open til’ late. The start of the week it is low key. Order your ice cold beer, listen to live music, lightly groove and sit comfortably. During big nights, you’ll sweat, jump, you will sit again, be in trance, standing inches away from the artist. You’ll end your night at 2-3am probably bewildered of the fun that you just had, and buy fishballs from outside.


photo: Miguel Ambrosio

Order their Signature Drink: Isa Pa! 425php/pitcher. Hits you hard when you want to. saGuijo is Metro Manila’s definitive bar for live music.


  • 200php door charge comes with a bottle of local beer or ice tea. Add 10php if you’d want to get Red Horse Beer
  • Steady Nights: Mondays til’ Wednesday’s, Big Nights: Tuesday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s

2) B-Side, The Collective Compound

  • Address: 7274 Malugay Street, San Antonio, Makati City
  • Grounds for: Signed, Unsigned Artist. Music Productions.
  • Average beer price: 70php per bottle

Irie Sunday

Irie Sundays

B-Side is like saGuijo only more eclectic and houses different genres of music. It serves as an alternative venue for various local and international artist. A home to most interesting off track musicians and groups. They can house punk rock productions and on another night a Flip-top battle. B-side’s interior is enhanced with subdued lighting and avant-garde art. This venue is very unique because of the various subculture it embraces forth past years. It offers audio and visual stimulation to its patrons. One of their niches is their Irie Sunday, experience music with the best of reggae bands, dancehall, and ska.

photo by:vyb lab



  • Door charges are only applicable if there are large events
  • Steady Nights: Mondays til’ Thursday’s, Big Nights: Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s

3) 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub

  • Address: El Pueblo Real de Manila ADB Ave. corner Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center
  • Grounds for: Signed OPM Bands (has been, named-signed bands)
  • Average beer price: 90php

Designed with red leather couches, brick walls, and shiny hanging lamps. They have excellent acoustics, good air conditioning, and very spacious floor. Good selections of liquor and serves good food. Expect to draw more wad of cash as it’s relatively more expensive to hang out here. If you can recall Bagaberde in Pasig, this place reminds me of it only posher.


  • Door charges are at 300php. There are days that entrance is free
  • Serves good menu choices. 
  • Accepts table reservations with guaranteed revenue

Quezon City

4) Mow’s Bar

  • Address: Kowloon Basement, 20 Matalino Street, Teacher’s Village, Quezon City
  • Grounds for: UP and Ateneo grown college bands
  • Average beer price: 45php
photo: mow’s Facebook page
photo: mow’s Facebook page

Making underground waves in the local independent scene. Intimate hang out and cheap beer. Nothing beats their very cheap bear. They sometimes hose comic book reading sessions as well.

photo: mow’s Facebook page


  • Door charges are at 250php and comes with a beer
  • Crowd are mostly Gen Z’s
  • You can buy take out dim sum from Kowloon upstairs

5) Tago Jazz Bar & Café

  • Address: 14 Main Ave. Cubao, Quezon City
  • Grounds for: Jazz, Soul, and Standards
  • Average beer price: 55php

A quaint quarter from a converted residential house in Cubao City. A lone venue that only features live jazz music. The acoustics are good, the patrons are friendly, the beer is cold, and the musicianship is soulful. They play standards mostly, with innovative beats and improv solos.


As it names precedes it- ‘Tago’ it is quite hidden. Make sure to find it on Waze as you’ll likely get lost on the back street of Cubao to find this signless bar.


  • No cover charge for live acts

6) Conspiracy Garden Café

  • Address: 59 Visayas Ave, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
  • Grounds for: Acoustic, Folk Filipino Music
  • Average beer price: 55php

This is a long-standing character-filled venue attracting an older, sit-down crowd for more acoustic-oriented gigs. The garden is a good place to chill with a dark San Miguel. Gigs start around 10 pm. Host to Ebe Dancel, Jahnoy Danao, Noel Cabangon just to name a few. Solid local singer/folk Filipino artist.  They’ve been hosting spoken words performances way back before it became mainstream. It is an old 60’s or 70’s house converted into a bar. The place is airy and eclectic.

photo by:

What I love about this venue is that regardless our countless conversations happening all around, once the artist strung his guitar and sings his song. Everyone stops and focus. You can just hear the guitar rift and the artist’s vocals. Your world will stop and your heart will wrench. Unjustified melancholic state.


  • No door charges
  • Food is okay. Not great, but not as bad.

7) 70’s Bistro

  • Address: 59 Visayas Ave, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
  • Grounds for: Popular OPM Bands (Franco, Wolfgang, the likes)
  • Average beer price: 95php

An old timer. 70’s Bistro was once in competition with Mayric’s in Espana. Mostly popular OPM bands come play here. They have good airconditioning although relatively dated furnishings, and good sound acoustics.  You have to come in early though if you want to get the seats near the stage. It can get pretty packed so AGAIN. Come early.


A long-running Quezon City bar, known for getting some of the best reggae acts in the country, plus classic Pinoy rock bands that have been around almost since the 1970s, like the Jerks.


  • Door charges are at 300php
  • Come early if you want to get good seats

8) Route 196

  • Address: 196-A Katipunan Ave., Project 4 Quezon City, Philippines
  • Grounds for: Independent, Signed and Experimental
  • Average beer price: 70php



Off radar artist to Spotify famous bands. The likes of Aia de Leon and Terno Recording artist sets foot to perform on their stage. You’ve probably seen Route 196 in a few band’s MV’s Sud- Sila, BP Valenzuela’s Steady and for the movie Ang Nawawala where Gibson first heard Ang Bandang Shirley.

This bar conducts film viewing nights. music video launches and benefit hosted gigs.



  • Door charges at 300php
  • Come early if you are bringing a car since there are limited spaces
  • Order the Chicken Devil 


9) 19 East

  • Address: Kilometer 19, East Service Road, Parañaque
  • Grounds for: Popular OPM Bands (Franco, Up Dharma Down, True Faith, the likes)
  • Average beer price: 115php

An isolated venue for people coming from the North. It has a pretty relax-south vibe atmosphere. The place is spacious, with ample parking outside and decorated with warm Christmas lights.  They have a lush outdoor garden that will give you vantage point view of Laguna Bay and its neighboring areas.




  • Door charges 300-400php
  • Crowd are mostly Gen Y’s- Older Millenials 
  • The ambiance is wonderful and airy
  • If you’re coming from the North you should take Sucat Exit from SLEX and then enter the service road
  • Month long line ups are posted outside facade of their establishment, Instagram, and Facebook

10) Checkpoint Bar

  • Address: Metro Star Mall Aguirre Street BF Homes, Parañaque
  • Grounds for: New neighborhood bands, signed and unsigned artist
  • Average beer price: 55php

Long tables and bar stools leading up the stage where a mural of both local and foreign legends of rock are paid homage to. This is a venue for artists who’d wish to play for their fans from the southern part of Metro Manila. Ebe Dancel, Barbie Almalbis sometimes grace their stage. Independent bands, solo performers often play in this venue.

Photo: CheckPoint Bar Facebook Page

Unlike the above mentions bars in Makati and Quezon City where you’ll find more seasoned rockers, Checkpoint is a hotbed for up-and-comers.


  • This bar is located inside a village so prep to live your ID when you enter w/o a sticker
  • Crowd are mostly Gen Y’s- Millennials
  • Laid back

11) The Minokaua

  • Address: 1951 Adriatico St, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila
  • Grounds for: New neighborhood bands, signed and unsigned artist
  • Average beer price: 75php


The Minokaua serves good comfort food, a hub where artist and the likes can gather. A restaurant/Bar, art gallery, and music hall packed into one package. Minokaua is a two-story building, the first floor where the dining area is that can be translated as a co-working space, while its second floor is where you could watch the gigs live. They have the upper loft available for VIP reservations/events. If you love jazz, some blues and a bunch of synthesized music-muses wrapped in Malate’s charm then this place is for you. I can personally vouch for this place.


The Minokaua Facebook Page


In Metro Manila, you’ll never be hard-pressed to find venues that showcase the creativity and showmanship of Filipino musicians. These above-mentioned venues definitely support and promote local artistry of our local musicians. Forget first your Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande’s. Get out and catch these live acts yourselves.


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1 thought on “Watch Raw and Live OPM Music: Let Us Show You Where To Go”

  • Small and homey Route is your best bet if you want to catch your favorite local act but can’t convince any of your friends to ditch the latest The Walking Dead episode to hang out with you — bartenders know regulars by names, and where not seeing a familiar face is next to impossible.

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