Poblacion: Red Light District Bar Hopping!

The Filling Station Bar Cafe

Poblacion is Makati’s historic downtown and the city’s second most important commercial district, after the Central Business District. We live nearby Makati’s Poblacion neighborhood, which is also Manila’s red light district. Now that the pandemic is starting to subside, commercial establishments are opening up again. It’s no wonder that a lot of people (including me) are indeed thirsty to go back to this exciting and vibrant area. Furthermore, Poblacion now has a wide range of independent restaurants and bars that are gaining interest. Of course, Friday nights are always best with booze, music, and friends, right? So we decided to spend ours exploring this place and make the most of it. The experience definitely made me feel good old days are coming back and I can’t wait to share it all to you! Planning to experience nightlife here? For starters, here is the list of the three must-visit we tried.

The Filling Station Bar & Cafe

As you enter Poblacion, it’s impossible for you to not notice a very bright building with neon lights. I can say that this is the most colorful restaurant you can find in the area. Travel back in time to the 1950s and dine with famous artists at the Filling Station Bar and Cafe! Its theme doesn’t end on the facade, but it also continues in every corner of the interior. There area lot of pop-art posters, real retro cars (no machine inside), and nostalgic displays that surely transport you to decades past. I even had a chance to meet icons like Elvis Presley, Manilyn Monroe, Superheroes like The Hulk and Captain America, and more! (Just life-sized statues though) What else can you ask for? I really love the effort and everything done to put this up! Definitely a gem in Poblacion and a must-visit!

The Food & Menu

Well, I wouldn’t say that the prices in the Menu are cheap because they aren’t. It’s situated in Poblacion, anyways. But the generous servings and the delectable taste of the foods make up for it! The restaurant was founded by an ex-US navy chief cook who decided not to return to the US after his base contract was not renewed. Thus, everything you can find, even the cuisine is western.

The complete meal cost us around Php 2,000 (40 USD). It was a very reasonable price for us 4, we even had some to-go boxes! Talk about HUGE SERVINGS! Also, the staff and service were great. They were all approachable and attentive!

You can never say anything wrong about the taste of the food. They taste just as delicious as they are presented. I’d love to come back here to taste them again, specially the 1945 Kiss! The strawberry was sweet and soft, melting with the ice cream in the mouth. Yummy!

Agimat at Ugat Foraging Bar

Still in Poblacion, you will see another very eye-catching establishment if you walk few blocks from Filling Station. The Agimat at Ugat Foraging Bar. The facade will remind of an old bahay-na-bato filipino house. It might just look like a very-well maintained 19th century colonial abode at morning, but it gets more dramatic at night with its dim lights and melted wax on the sides of the stairs by the entrance (additional to the mood). The name and concept are based on Filipino folklore: the enigmatic amulet known for fending off evil or the mythical charm known for attracting emotional connection to the holder. This brainchild of Liquido Maestro Kalel Demetrio and Chef Nio Laus, has been making waves both locally and internationally since it opened in 2018. Agimat guarantees a mystical experience for those seeking magical ambiance, unearthly cocktails, and enchanting food that commemorates all that is indigenously Filipino.

The Food & Drink

Keeping consistent with the theme, Agimat & Ugat Foraging bar offers a lot of famous Filipino foods. We tried one of their specialty – Balut and Chicharon. Balut is a boiled and eaten from the shell fertilized developing egg embryo. In the country, it is commonly sold as street food. Furthermore, Chicharon is a dish made up of fried pork belly or fried pork rinds. These two are typically served in drinking sessions as pulutan (drinking snack).

Poblacion - Agimat & Ugat

Almost all of us are used to eating our Crispy Chicharon with salt and vinegar. However, unlike the conventional way, we dip it in Balut here in this bar. They didn’t make a mistake doing that though, the two dishes compliment each other well.

The majority of the classic drinks served at Agimat & Ugat Foraging Bar are created and crafted by the owners. It entails traveling to places like Batangas to research and study the ingredients and resources required for their cocktails and boozes. I truly enjoyed drinking their Gayuma Liqeur as I can taste the lychee flavor in it. This is for sure one of the women’s drink favorites.

The Rituals

Another unique feature of this foraging bar and restaurant is the ritual or dance performed in some drinks, which combines Filipino folk beats, and music. They explain afterwards the ingredients used in every drink and rituals. This is my favorite part in this bar!


The Bourbon New Orleans is one of the standout bars in Poblacion, Makati. It has the same 50’s United States Bar Vibe as the Filling Station. It is also just near, a few walks across the latter. Neon lights and retro art-pop posters are also all over the place but it wasn’t as big as the Filling Station. This is our last stop so this time we’re just looking for some drinks (since we ate at the first two). If you’re looking for very cheap drinks (cocktails start Php 200). What I like about this bar is that they have an area where you can play billiards. It would be nice to play with friends and colleagues. Although the place can be very overwhelming at first (because there are a lot of foreigners and escorts), you will still for sure have a good time here spending with your loved ones.

The Drinks

Considering the bar being in Poblacion, the price of the menu and drinks are relatively cheap! We were able to enjoy for just more or less Php 1,000 having 3 cocktails and a beer. Mine was the Mint Julep that set me back P220. Just a glass of it made me really dizzy!

Entertainment & Updates

What I like about this bar (aside from the very cheap menu) is their acoustic band where you can request songs that you like. Just adding so much fun and cozy vibes. As of writing, I heard that they made some changes in the place, changing its name and expanding it to two separate bars (one for more relaxed bar with acoustic nights, one bar for escorts with their customers)


  • If you’re planning to go to these places, I recommend going around 3 PM onwards
  • You should go first to Filling Station since they are open almost 24 hours and they have wide variety of food (perfect for merienda and the place is very instagrammable)
  • Then you can warm up the night with few drinks at Bourbon since it’s just across
  • Finally go to Agimat & Ugat Foraging bar (few blocks away) to enjoy the rest of the night since they have acoustic bands too and really entertaining bar rituals
  • Prepare around Php 3,000 – Php 5,000 per head to be able to fully enjoy all these resto-bars
  • Make a reservation on the bars/restaurant you want to go to, specially on weekends
  • Be vigilant on your personal belongings, there are pickpockets in the area

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