I can safely assume that not everyone enjoys being out in clubs. Sweaty bodies all crammed 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 the 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 these artists regardless if they’re signed or not. These venues serve as a general assembly ground for these artist and music fans to get together for a night where each and everyone will share one common joy; To be in a trance with Music.
We have curated these places based on their role in local music, the type of artist they welcome, the crowd and the overall community they continue to support. Fat Girls Day Out’s 15 recommended spots to witness the local independent music scene in Metro Manila.
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.
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.
- Address: 612 Guijo St., San Antonio Village, Makati, Metro Manila
- Grounds for: Signed, Unsigned Artist. Music Productions.
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.
- Address: El Pueblo Real de Manila ADB Ave. corner Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center
- Grounds for: Signed OPM Bands (has been, named-signed bands)
Making underground waves in the local independent scene. Intimate hang out and cheap beer. Nothing beats their very cheap beer. They sometimes hose beer book reading sessions as well.
- Address: Kowloon Basement, 20 Matalino Street, Teacher’s Village, Quezon City
- Grounds for: UP and Ateneo grown college bands
- Door charges are at 250php and comes with a beer
- The crowd are mostly Gen Z’s
- You can buy take out dim sum from Kowloon upstairs
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.
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.
What I love about this venue is that regardless of 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 riff and the artist’s vocals. Your world will stop and your heart will wrench. Unjustified melancholic state.
- Address: 59 Visayas Ave, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
- Grounds for: Acoustic, Folk Filipino Music
- Door Charge: 300-350php
- Food is okay. Not great, but not as bad.
An old timer. 70’s Bistro was once in competition with Mayric’s in Espana. Mostly popular OPM bands come to 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.
- Address: 59 Visayas Ave, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
- Grounds for: Popular OPM Bands (Franco, Wolfgang, the likes)
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.
- Address: 196-A Katipunan Ave., Project 4 Quezon City, Philippines
- Grounds for: Independent, Signed and Experimental
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.
If you like the mainstream hits (Freestyle!), or just want to hear music with solid acoustics, or you want the classic Bagaberde vibes then you must come here.
- Address: Km. 19 E Service Rd, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila
- Grounds for: Signed local and international indie artist
The Minokaua serves good comfort food, a hub where the 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.
- Address: 1951 Adriatico St, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila
- Grounds for: New neighborhood bands, signed and unsigned artist
Ultimate college vibe. Most UP students go here or those people who like the whole ‘UP vibe’. I still prefer the original TK, but this new location isn’t bad at all regardless if its a pale reflection of the former. Indie college bands play here and even tenure bands like Pedicab still grace its location.
- Address: 19 Malingap Street, Teachers Village Makati
- Other Location: Tomas Morato
- Grounds for: New neighborhood bands, signed and unsigned artist.
A chill and comfortable place to watch live bands while enjoying your cold beer towers and chicken wings. They have a mighty selection of good grubs prepared by their in-house chef. They do weekly promos for their alcoholic making it more affordable.
An ideal setting smack in Bonifacio Global City to get cheap wings, beers and live music.
- Address: Unit-E Fort Entertainment Complex, Bonifacio Global City Taguig
- Grounds for: signed and unsigned artist.
Metal Heads musical home. Watch off the radar artist still giving homage to raw slashed down guitar rifts with heavy set bass. Mosh and trash through the crowd.
- Address: Unit 101 Westlife Building, West Ave QC
Jess and Pat’s are all about indie and anything artsy. You can chill together and enjoy great music, affordable food, look at art, and enjoy their rooftop view. Jess & Pat’s host various art-centric led events by supporting budding local artists. Go for their homemade burgers and coffee
- Address: 2/F 63 Maginhawa, Diliman, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101 Metro Manila
- Grounds for: New neighborhood bands, signed and unsigned artist, and local art makers.
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 Drake stoic beats. Get out and catch these live acts yourselves.
Did we miss anything or have something that you’d want us to check out? Feel free to connect with the Fat Girls Day Out crew on different social channels listed below.
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