MANILA – In an unassuming office building in Bonifacio Global City is a watering hole where tired workers get their fill.
The “secret” spot behind a 7-Eleven convenience store is called Bank Bar, although there is no signage that easily gives away its location. A short hallway is designed to look like a stock room, complete with shelves and grocery items, leading to a curtain that covers the actual entrance of the bar.
Bank Bar’s overall feel is modern, with its plush seats and an industrial-style exposed ceiling, and is said to be a “cross between old world loft and cathedral left in ruins.” Guests can enjoy their drinks at the bar at the corner of the room, or order from the trolleys.
The lone bar concept of The Moment Group (TMG), Bank Bar opened two years ago as a place for “retired party people.” No loud music, no dancing, and a wide selection of drinks.
It is a passion project of TMG co-founders Abba Napa, Eliza Antonino, and Jon Syjuco. They came up with the concept when they were shown a space at RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center. Nobody else wanted the space, which looked more like a stock room.
“We were so tired from creating restaurants that after a long day at work, we want a place to hang out in. Two years ago, we can’t find a bar that didn’t have music that was too loud or offered more than just beer. We wanted to create a bar that we could go to after work and chill,” said TMG founder Abba Napa.
Bank Bar boasts of a wide selection of spirits, from whiskey to sake, one of the most comprehensive in Manila. They are also proud of their food – after all, TMG also owns and operates some of Manila’s most successful restaurant brands like 8Cuts, Ooma, and Din Tai Fung.
Recently the bar launched its updated menu consisting of new food items and cocktails. These include the Bone Marrow and Wagyu Tacos, Spicy Sausage Pizzete, Four Cheese Pizzete, and Charcuterie and Formaggio board.
For the cocktails, they worked with Hong Kong-based mixologists Pawel Mikusek, Edgar Santillan, and Marek Vojcarcik in creating unique concoctions like the Pinay Colada, which is a mix of local rums, mango juice, chocolate mole bitters, grapefruit, and citrus-honey meringue topped with rose petal dust.
The Mad Hatter is an earl grey-infused gin mixed with lavender, honey, egg foam, Angostura bitters, and brandied cherry, while the Mariang Bastos has local rum with Orgeat syrup, Cointreau, island bitters, citrus mix, overproof rum float, cherry, and cinnamon.
Bank Bar opens at 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. on Saturdays. Its main customers are expats and people who like to hang out after dinner to have a drink or two.
For a bar that did no marketing, it has become quite popular. “People have been asking us to open different kinds of bars in unique places, like in a bank or inside a restaurant or in a mall. But no plans yet,” Napa said.