Nightlife legend Louie Ysmael is subject of new book 2
Louie as a young man. Photo from ANC’s LSS with Martin Nievera.
Culture

The life and times of Louie Ysmael, Manila nightlife legend, is now a book

It’s a “tactile trip down memory lane for clubbers from the 60s to the present day,” says one of its publishers GP Reyes
ANCX Staff | Nov 25 2022

If you went clubbing in Manila in the 80s, the 90s, and even in the 2000s, you have got to know the name Louie Ysmael, king of the city’s nightlife. He ran some of the hottest bars in all those three decades: Stargazer, Louie Y’s, Euphoria, and the once controversial Venezia. He’s entertained celebrities, dignitaries, tycoons. He was even among the elite group of enterprising partyphiles who woke up a sleepy little town called BGC when it opened Embassy in the mid-noughties, which brought Manila clubbing back to life. 

“Good Morning, It’s Time To Sleep” book
The book isn’t just all Louie but also offers a bit of Manila nightlife history, says co-publisher GP Reyes.

The guy is a legend, and you know what usually happens to legends—they become the subject of books! It seemed a long time coming but it’s finally here, like an Old Fashioned drink that took a bit of ceremony to make: a book about Louie Y. It’s called “Good Morning, It’s Time To Sleep,” with a subhead that says “The Adventures and Misadventures of Manila’s Nightlife Legend.” It’s a pretty hefty read, and lavishly illustrated too. 

Co-publisher GP Reyes describes the tome in his Instagram as “this truly sensational piece of hardbound history with a treasure trove of priceless visuals and magnificent storytelling.” To hear GP say it, the book isn’t just all Louie but also offers a bit of Manila nightlife history. “[It’s] A tactile trip down memory lane for clubbers from the 60s to the present day showcasing some of the Philippines’ most celebrated clubs and bars.” Louie, now 74 and retired from being a nightlife impresario, is also one of the book’s publishers. He and GP were among the partners that built Embassy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by GP Reyes (@gp_reyes)

Louie, of course, is the son of social scene figures Chona Kasten and Johnny Ysmael. “His taste for the highballing nightlife began in 1970s New York, followed by blithe adventures through Europe’s most exclusive clubs, going from Paris and Switzerland to a small island in the Spanish Balearics, before the world came to know it as Ibiza,” wrote Rogue about the guy in November 2015 (an earlier profile on Louie would set the tone for the magazine’s brand of luxury and cool). 

The same Rogue writeup also brought up that one evening sometime in 1977 when Louie and friends were in a Paris club and found their usual spot taken over by a group of disruptive young men. The establishment’s maitre d’ had the latter group moved to another table—and Louie and company would find out later the rowdy boys were the Rolling Stones.

Can we expect more stories like this from “Good Morning, It’s Time To Sleep”? GP tells ANCX he prefers to keep the book a bit mysterious, and for the curious just to refer to his Instagram post. “This coffee table book is a must have for anyone who ever had a night out in any decade in one of the world’s most exhilarating party capitals. (Yes Manila is exactly that. And for those of you who haven’t been perhaps it’s time to head on over).” If you like to buy a copy of the book, send a DM to @gp_reyes on Instagram.