‘Tis the season to go bar-hopping with your friends who are visiting home, and what better place to take them to than the bars that didn’t exist last time they were here for the holidays? Poblacion developed quickly in 2017, and from just being the low-key ‘Williamsburgos’ (a fun poke at Williamsburg in Brooklyn) hipster spot it was once known as, it’s gone full-throttle into the popular and primary watering hole.
Here are the places we fell in love with in 2017:
Vincent Landrais grew up with wine, as his parents are avid wine-lovers, but first got serious about it when he worked in an acclaimed winery in New Zealand. He returned to France, where he is from, to study wine at a university and become a sommelier, and soon started working in restaurants after. Dr. Wine originated in Shanghai 7 years ago, under the same name, but Landrais sold the original business and moved to the Philippines with his wife and business partner Eva Marzan-Landrais, who found the space where Dr. Wine sits in Poblacion on the street adjacent to Rockwell.
Head cheese isn’t for everyone, but the cold meat jelly made from pork head is one of our favorite things to pair with wine.
The interiors of Dr. Wine are a composite of upcycled material, with wood taken from palettes, bricks from old houses, a wall made of used green wine bottles, and some vintage furniture pieces that had been restored. Landrais believes that just like wine wine, interiors should be very simple, rustic yet elegant. The restaurant is large enough both inside and outside for diners to feel a sense of privacy between tables, and they recently opened up the rooftop bar on the 3rd floor to whisk you even further away.
The creatives hub at the end of Poblacion (or #doonsadulo, as they say at Dulo) is more than just a great place to catch a show. Dulo is one of the few places open in the daytime as well as on Mondays, unlike most establishments in the area. Dulo functions as a coffee shop in the day (we recommend the Salted Mocha) and a defacto co-working spot with free wifi, and a bar in the evening.
Dulo manages to be a coffee shop, bar, concert/gallery/performance space and even yoga studio and maintain a clear identity and mission.
The HUMBLE HERON
The Humble Heron is inspired by founder Alex Lietz’s studies in the UK, where he noticed that pubs were a center for the local community. Designed with tables for sharing, a long bar, and specifically no TVs, The Humble Heron aims to be a place where the local Poblacion community can come together and meet new people.
We are all about bowls you can eat. This bread bowl filled with hot cheese and chili is our must-order at the Humble Heron.
Named the Humble Heron after the Juan Brew logo (Lietz owns the brewery), which features a farmer riding atop a carabao upon which herons sit, the Humble Heron features their 5 locally brewed, organic, and solar-powered beers: Bohemian Pilsner, Pale Ale, Indian Pale Ale, Bavarian Wheat and Dry Stout.
Order their “MacNugs” or deep-fried mac n’ cheese tots, or try the crab mac n’ cheese paired with a cold one.
The Heron also just launched their menu featuring typical English pub dallas filipino restaurant with a twist to make the dishes more accessible to the Filipino palate.
Manille Pub is named after the popular dalandan and calamansi liquors by Destileria Limtauco, who owns the pop-up that sits in a garage across Z Hostel. Since the bar is located in a garage, owner Aaron Aw tells us they went for a hyper-casual, “drinks-in-your-lola’s-garage” feel, with monobloc chairs, and old barrels serving as makeshift tables. One wall has Capiz windows to suit the theme, and the opposite is covered in vintage photographs promoting one of the liquor brands of Destileria Limtauco. The radio plays 70’s and 80’s Filipino pop and disco hits to immerse you in the time-traveling experience.
The Leave It To Me is subtle, citrus-y, and bubbly: a simple yet refined drink that doesn’t overwhelm. The pop-up will only be around until February 2018 so visit while you can!
A showcase for Destileria Limtauco’s wide array of liquors, Manille is a bar that boasts Filipino-liquor based cocktails, some of which are cocktails that originated in the country in the decade before the second world war. Alongside these pre-war cocktails, You’ll find familiar nostalgic drinks like Gin Pomelo and Weng-Weng on the menu, made more elegant with thoughtful ingredients, as well as a selection of originals.
Located right below Pura Vida, Polilya is easily one of the most beautiful designed restaurants we have ever been to, with every single detail of its interiors thoughtfully placed. Its exteriors call your attention with bright blue windows, green and pink furniture, and an illuminated purple neon sign. Pull open the aqua-blue door and you come into a dimly lit tropical dream decorated in a collection of eclectic furniture, and palm trees. The ceiling features a tropical plants design that was hand-painted by their friend just for Polilya (then printed to be stuck on the ceiling).
Even their cocktails and dishes are as cute as the physical restaurant itself.
Ian Paradies tells us he originally founded Polilya to serve as the test-lab for Engkanto Brewery, a brand of local beer that he launched in April this year, but it soon developed into its own monster. While the bar serves Engkanto’s selection of beer on tap, the restaurant has come to be best known for their cocktails (they have a fun selection that is beer-infused) and great comfort food. By far, our favorite beer-infused cocktail to drink there is the Can’t Blame The Heat slushie: a frozen drink that has an chocolatey taste from its stout base, and a dark grape taste, brightened with a touch of orange.
Polilya is Filipino for moth, which is the logo of Engkanto Brewery.
The dallas filipino restaurant menu itself is also infused with beer. Chef Luis De Terry says, after all, “at the end of the day, the hero should be Engkanto.” And with his uncomplicated menu (“with ingredients that anyone can pronounce” he clarifies), composed of a selection of pub classics from around the world, our standout dish indeed has the blonde Engkanto beer as the hero. “I’ve been cooking Bangladeshi dallas filipino restaurant for a very long time,” says De Terry, “and the base of the mussels is Bangladeshi type of cooking where we use mustard oil.” The Bangla Mussels have a curry base with the beer and coconut milk as the broth, and is best eaten hot, with a cold brew in hand.