Right in the middle of the metro lies one of the most underrated hubs for, well, just about anything. Cubao Expo, formerly known as Marikina Shoe Expo, is a small haven of art, culture, and free-flowing alcohol amidst the chaos of the city. It’s got vintage shops, music stores, restaurants, art galleries, and even its own dental clinic.
But once the sun’s down, that’s when Cubao Expo comes to life. Why? Because no other place in the city offers such a varied selection of drinking spots all huddled together in a single compound. So the next time you feel like having a drink instead of braving the unbearable city traffic, head straight on to Cubao Expo’s bars and restaurants, and take your pick from one of these venues.
Come for the cozy ambiance, stay for the habanero-infused food and drinks.
This cozy little corner bar is one of those places that allows patrons to transition smoothly from a quiet dinner to a night of laid-back drinking. With its ambient lighting, soothing music and distinctive menu, you can stuff yourself silly with dishes like their Lengua Spring Roll, and their 3-Cheese Pizza drizzled with their signature Habanero hot sauce.
But their unique selection doesn’t stop there! Where else can you find drinks like Choco Lavender Vodka, Tarragon Frozen Mojitos, and their increasingly popular X-Bomb Bursting Shots? See that photo up there? Yes, those are shots. And yes, they’re only available at Habanero Kitchen.Bar!
Come for the games, stay for another round (of drinks or games).
Backtrack to a couple of months ago, and you might remember this place as the Rumpus Room – a venue with huge TV screens, avid gamers, and an ever-present audience. Now, with the addition of alcohol into the mix, the Rumpus Room has evolved into Whiskey Dicks, a go-to venue for gamers, drinkers, and drinking gamers. With an assortment of games and a straightforward bar list, it’s not hard to mingle with the nerds in this self-proclaimed nerd daycare!
Come for the communist propaganda, stay because you’re now a serious drinker.
Fred’s Revolucion has one of the biggest spaces in Cubao Expo, and the most striking thing about the place is the assortment of political posters adorning their walls. You could drink at the bar for hours as you ponder on the ideologies of Lenin, Mao, Ho Chih Minh, and Marx. Heck, just being there might already change your political affiliations, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
When it comes to the bar chow, don’t expect the same sizzling sisig when it comes to food here because their gourmet selection will put any pulutan to shame! Their menu is chock-full of ingenious dishes like their better-than-bacon Grilled Pork Strips and their sought-after Farmer’s Oysters. Most importantly, liquor is in infinite abundance at Fred’s Revolucion. Whether you want beers by the bottle, beer on tap, or hard liquor, their friendly bartenders will cater to your every alcoholic whim.
Come for the vinyl, stay for a quick beer as you discuss your finds.
Gold Digger Records has only been around for about a year, but it’s already turned out to be one of the easiest to find spots in Cubao Expo. For starters, the place looks classy with the glass exterior adorned with artwork by BakiBaki, and an Eastern-inspired food stall right outside. Once you head inside, it’s like stepping into a time capsule filled with vinyl records, hard-to-find sneakers, and rare shirts.
Gold Digger Records may not be a place where you can drink the night away, but you can hang around with some beers until 11pm as you enjoy the soothing ambiance of the place.
Come for their signature rice burger, stay for the beers.
Whether you want to enjoy some bento-style Korean food or you just really want a quiet place to drink and chill, Korean King Rice Burger is the place for you. While their food might not match up to high-end Korean restaurants, you still get a bang for your buck plus you get to wash down your meal with an ice cold bottle of local beer. The best part is they open at 3pm, and they serve both food and beer until Cubao Expo closes at 2am.
6. The Humidor
Come for the cigars, stay for the company.
Humidor is one of the first populated places you’ll see when you enter Cubao Expo at night. Once inside, you’ll be greeted with an assortment of comfy couches and of course, their wide selection of foreign and local cigars. If you’re a tobacco aficionado or just a regular Joe looking to try out some cigars, you’ll adore the place.
Of course, when it comes to drinking, they also serve beers and liquor at a very affordable price. Alongside your bottle of Pale Pilsen or single malt whiskey, you can order from their eclectic selection of bar chow – from sushi to cold cuts. It’s the perfect place to smoke and drink freely, all while lounging amidst a crowd of easygoing patrons.
7. Genre/Alan’s Grill
Come for the Filipino food, stay for the live band.
Almost everyone walking around in Cubao Expo has wondered, “Where is that delicious smell coming from?” Chances are they’re referring to the scent of whatever’s on the grill at Alan’s. It is hard to resist considering the place is extremely accommodating to hungry patrons and thirsty drinkers alike. Once you’re done dining, you can head on up to the second floor with your drinks in tow as you savor the occasional live band in Genre. And hey, you can’t complain when you’ve got great food, unlimited drinks, and great music!
So which of these spots do you think you’ll be heading to when you visit Cubao Expo? Considering they’re all pretty great, we know it’s going to be a tough decision. Let us know your pick, and once you’ve dropped by, tell us your experience with the place!