The old Poblacion had incredible character: a nightlife that partied until the wee hours of the morning, and sports bars packed with foreigners, bikers, or boozers; otherwise it was more commonly known as the red light district—distinguishable by its bright neon signs and kitschy club handles. But today, newcomers are making a home out of Poblacion’s side streets, and its after-dark crowd has grown into a creature of its own. Maybe you’ll find that it’s a little bit of two worlds: trendy—with its new restaurants, watering holes, and whimsical hostels sprouting up around the area; but still without losing the badass charm of its dim past.
Here are three of our favourite new spots in Poblacion where the space is cute, brought to life with their own unique personalities, and the food is fantastic, too. You’ll surely catch yourself snapping some photos and hopefully actually mean it when you caption, “Yaaaas, so good.”
This newcomer is a gem. Refurbished savaged wood, color blocks in pastels, a mural of trendy flora patterns, industrial light fixtures, and lots of greenery—Wild Poppy is arguably the most adorable thing you have seen lately. Their outdoor deck is a favorite, best to enjoy cocktails al fresco style in the heart of the city, and their libation list is one that should be sampled, too.
For chow, grab the Ping Pongs (salty dried fish and peanuts rolled in a deep-fried creamy coconuty mashed potato) and the Kim and Reuben sandwich (smoky corned beef topped with kimchi and nutty arugula), and we promise it is a great way to end any day.
Kim and Reuben sandwich
2nd floor, Don Pedro St., Poblacion, Makati
M, W-Th, Su: 5PM-12PM; F-Sa: 5PM-2AM
This small coffee shop used to be hidden in a corner in Salcedo Village, but its new location in Poblacion is a looker. Massively standing at two floors high, Commune still brandishes its industrial chic interior and expansive glass windows that allow ample sunlight to come in.
You’d never think of Poblacion as the ideal place to grab brunch, but here is an exception. Skip on the coffee chains and opt for their Philippine house blends, and pair one with their indulgent, crusty, best-selling apple pie.
36 Polaris cor. Durban St., Poblacion, Makati.
M-Th: 12NN - 10PM; F-Su: 12NN - 12MN; Su: 10AM - 6PM
This joint along P. Burgos street may be tiny, but it packs a punch. Its walls are painted in bold, bright colors and its interiors are covered with vibrant murals. There’s not a corner in this place that is dull. And if you’re looking for a different kind of comfort food, dip your fingers into some Latin American flair.
Try the Arroz a la Cubano, ground pork on buttered rice and fried plantain bananas on the side, all topped with cranberries and a siding of potato string hash. Or for a mean “cheese sandwich”, the Elena Ruz is a must: cream cheese, strawberry jam and turkey ham on a brioche loaf. Seriously so good paired with a bottle of beer. What else are you waiting for?
San Lucas cor. P. Burgos St., Poblacion, Makati
T-Th: 4PM - 1AM; F-Sa: 4PM - 2AM; Sun: 12PM - 10PM
Photos by Chichi Tullao. Follow her gastronomic adventures on Instagram at @happytummytravels or at happytummytravels.com.