Grub hubs have sprouted up all over the metro in the previous years, but probably none can rival the eclectic mix that is present in Poblacion, Makati — a mix that presents different possibilities especially when it comes to appreciating homegrown goodies.
Marco Viray has been witness to the area’s growth since he and his partners located Joe’s Brew there three years ago.
“There is a certain feel to Poblacion. The market has good foot traffic, with the expats coming from Rockwell, the young urban hipsters who like to hang out in the non-pretentious neighborhood, and the backpackers that stay in the hostels near the area. Poblacion then becomes kind of a melting pot, where people from different walks of life can meet. It reminds me of how Brooklyn was in New York. Even when we were starting out, I could feel how big it was going to get,” he recalls.
He then became the perfect tour guide for Piolo Pascual and Robi Domingo when they decided to explore the food and drink scene of the area for "The Crawl Poblacion" airing on Lifestyle TV on Wednesday (August 16).
The establishments they visited included Holy Smokes for its 12-hour Texas style barbecue, OTO for that acoustic pleasure of listening to vinyl with cocktails and craft beers in hand, Handlebar for that American bar feel with the Mad Dogs hanging out, and of course, Joe’s Brew’s tasting room House of Brew for that craft beer experience.
To illustrate the eclecticism or elasticity of the area, there’s Tambai, a converted sari-sari store that now serves Japanese yakitori side by side with Filipino pulutan faves such as isaw.
Alamat is another establishment that bears mention, with its curated alcohol mix of craft beers and cocktails made from local spirits. Bucky’s, which is below Alamat, is the pit stop where the trio indulged their sweet tooth.
The rooftop of Z Hostel offered the crew a cool view of the Makati skyline, and the other guests were treated to a mini concert as Piolo decided to warm up his pipes with a few songs.
Last on their list is Pura Vida, a Costa Rican reggae bar that Marco describes as a good addition to the neighborhood.
Marco does indeed look at Poblacion as a neighborhood, one that is decidedly grittier than the other glitzier commercial areas, but one that is so easy to love.
“The entrepreneurs behind the restaurants and bars are mostly those who went to other countries and then came back. It is a perfect example of how homegrown talent has been making waves, making noise, an even bigger noise than more established restaurants and bars. It is the heart of the Filipinos who traveled abroad and brought back their skills, finding a home in Poblacion. It has character. It has good traditions and passion as a driving force.”
Another good thing, he adds, is that everything is so close to each other that it is possible to have a bar and food crawl in one fun night.
"The Crawl Poblacion" airs on August 16, 7:30 p.m. on Lifestyle TV (channel 52 on SkyCable). Visit lifestyletvph on Facebook for more details.