City of Manila

A Night at Malate

Much has been said about Manila’s Malate district, more so about the nightlife scene in this fabled part of the city. Like the story of the city itself, the story of the Malate nightlife scene has been a story of a past glory that was lost and now trying to revive itself again.

Remedios Circle

As someone who admittedly is not much into the nightlife scene, the Urban Roamer has been witness to how the district somehow became alive again in the early 2000s, especially with the popularity of the Roxas Boulevard’s Baywalk area as a hangout at night. Fell into a slump after 2007, which coincided with the disappearance of those Baywalk establishments, and its current struggles to make the district relevant again in the midst of the new challenges it is facing.

Much has changed in Malate’s landscape in the last 10 years or so, with some establishments now gone while some new developments have also sprouted in the area, particularly residential high-rises and some new hotels as well.

the former Ka Freddie’s bar and restaurant, owned by Filipino musician Freddie Aguilar (no relation)
one of the new residential high-rises that have sprouted in Malate
one of Malate’s newer hotels

Another aspect of these new developments is the rise of a number of Korean-owned establishments like restaurants and groceries. owing perhaps to the influx of Korean expats in this part of the city, making Malate a mini-Koreatown if you will. Something that may or may not please some folks.

And there are the KTVs in the district, from the wholesome ones to the ones that are, well…not so much.

Despite these changes, one thing that has remained constant is the nightlife. There are still some great places to see and where one can listen to live music, party the night away, or just unwind. And perhaps some surprises along the way.

Nakpil Street at night

One thing that makes Malate nightlife unique, and perhaps loved fondly as well, is that the nightlife here is not just limited inside the bars and restaurants but also outside as well.

a Japanese street cart bar along Adriatico Street
bars and al fresco dining, Pinoy-style along Remedios Street

Of course, one cannot talk about Malate nightlife without mentioning the two establishments in the area that have become landmarks of the district and are iconic in their own right.

Cafe Adriatico, perhaps the most famous restaurant in Malate
The Library, the iconic comedy bar in the district

Malate has seen so much going on these past 10 years that there is no doubt that it will continue to evolve in the future. We can only hope that such evolution would help pave way to the realization of that long-held dream of a revitalized Malate that everyone would enjoy visiting…at day and, especially, at night.


You can view more photos from this set at my Flickr album here

One Comment

  • Gerald

    I miss the old malate! The malate that I knew and saw during my college days (late 90’s to early 2000’s) The scene back then was different. I’m not sure if they are able to revive their old glory…

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