You know it's a typical Friday afternoon when you get the random "Pob?" text. Then comes the long, drawn out decision-making process of where to eat and drink that'll make braving Makati traffic—even worse on payday weekends—worth it. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that not everything that glitters is gold. Even if the buzzy district is filled with hotspots, there's only a handful of places were one can truly enjoy herself, especially if she expects all the trimmings that comes with being a Preview girl.
Located in the same structure as Tambai, Kampai and Ebi10, Wantusawa is an intimate dining experience. You can cross-order if you want to try everything, but my advice is to open a tab and seat yourself by the bar. An oyster is P50 a pop; start with a fresh oyster topped with spring onions, calamansi juice, and hot sauce, then work your way to the baked ones. The hint of miso is truly unexpected and will have you craving more. Wash it all down with a Roku gin and tonic.
Best for: Oysters—baked, raw or fried—and a G&T
Address: Tambai Alley, 5779 Felipe St., Makati
You must've been living under a rock if you didn't know Bucky's serves food other than not-brownies. It's made a number of lists, but the crowd favorite remains—the soft-serve ice cream. The fries with ragu are also worth a try. The space is quaint and it's good for an afternoon of passing the time, so you can finally drink at happy hour.
Best for: Nibbles while waiting for happy hour
Address: 5666 Don Pedro St., Makati
You're gonna have to slum it to dine in KTC. (That, or you can always get take-out.) But admit it, there's nothing like fried food after a night of binge drinking! It closes very late and is less than a block away from Polilya et al, so it's not much of a walk even if you're in heels. But keep your eyes peeled as it is a hole in the wall! Order a whole fried chicken for your party, and shell out for the special sauce they fly in from Korea. It's worth the extra 30 bucks—trust me on this.
Best for: Unabashed bites while inebriated
Address: 5650 Don Pedro St., Makati
Speaking frankly, the lure of Filling Station is not so much its food as it is the decor. Case in point: It served as the backdrop for the feature on 2017 Preview Best Dressed Bea Marin. The 24-hour diner is filled with neon lights, vintage posters, faux cars—some even on the ceiling—soda pop dispensers and fuel pump decor. It's a treat for the boys as much as it is for the girls!
Best for: Snapping a retro American diner OOTD
Address: 5012 P. Burgos Ave., Makati
Only open as a watering hole on Fridays, The Workshop is actually a leatherware store by Liana Navarro. Its easy-going vibe is reminiscent of a block party. Go often enough and you'll recognize the community of regulars. Plus, you can treat yourself to a small purchase—who doesn't love the smell of leather?—while sipping on a spicy mango rum.
Pro-tip: The comfort room does not have a lock, so do not enter if the door is closed. It still is worth a peek if only to look at the beautiful hide that's draped on the wall, though.
Best for: Inexpensive drinks and an unpretentious vibe
Address: 5856 Alfonso St., Makati St., Makati
Drinking in Mathilde is like drinking in one big living room. It's cozy, relaxed and casual, but that doesn't mean you won't spot a familiar face or two. It also attracts its fair share of the fashion set. The menu is easy to understand, and so are the drinks—classics that are unafraid to remain classic. It's just a no-frills engagement that doesn't compromise on aesthetics or the vibe.
Best for: Laid-back drinking
Address: 8483 Kalayaan Ave corner Matilde St., Makati
Hidden a short distance away from the main scene is Oto, which is co-owned by David Ong of The Curator. Now that we've mentioned its fashion allure, we can talk about the bar itself. Oto serves food and cocktails that one would expect from a bar of its nature—modest, storied, and artfully prepared. Its walls are patterned with diagonal stripes, and its tables are interlocking circles that be reconfigured to fit the size of any group. Oh, and did I mention its DJs play music from vinyl?
Best for: Spotting the fash pack
Address: 5880 Enriquez St., Makati
How can we ever talk about the Pob scene without mentioning Polilya's neon lights, painted ceilings, and bamboo straws in adult slushies? Designed by Lizzie Zobel, Junie Reyes, and Mia Borromeo, it's what one would expect from a Preview Girl hangout. It's cool, trendy, and well-lit—all the better to see and be seen! There's always a shortage of tables, but isn't that how you know a place is truly happening?
Best for: Soaking in the neon lights
Address: 5658 Jacobo Street corner Don Pedro St., Makati