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The Blind Pig, Makati’s Best Poorly Kept Secret-Makati

The Blind Pig

227 Salcedo St. Corner Gamboa

0917 549 2264

Makati

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So the cat is out of the bag. The Blind Pig was featured on CNNGo Best of Manila last week and I must confess I was a little bit sad. The secret has been told and now the flood gates are open. There’s no use trying to keep it secret anymore so here it is.

I first went to the Blind Pig around December of last year and immediately loved the place. It made me feel like I was back in San Francisco for just a fleeting moment. The influence of the American cocktail culture was evident and surely enough I later learned that the owners had brought in a bartender consultant from Milk & Honey in New York.

So what’s so special about the Blind Pig?

The Blind Pig is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar where there is no sign and the door is locked. After you get buzzed in, you enter a very dimly-lit room with booths around the walls, a couple tables in the center and a four seat bar. The staff will hand you a card with the drink and bar food menu, but are eager to leap off of the menu to suggest classic or prohibition-era cocktails. Maybe that’s why they turn the lights down and hand you a menu with a 4-point font.

The cocktails at the Blind Pig are good. Really good. No sour mix, no freakishly blue schnapps, nor will you find 40 different flavored vodkas. They squeeze citrus to order and use high quality spirits. Also ice is taken very seriously. Depending on the drink you order the ice will either be hand crushed or shaved to the shape of the glass.

When I go, I usually start out with clear spirits before inevitably working my way towards whiskey cocktails as my vision begins to blur. The Gordon’s Cup is a great one to start with. It is a gin based cocktail with muddled cucumber and mint. It is lightly sweetened with simple syrup and then finished with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. It has a slightly savory aspect from the salt and pepper but is still very refreshing.

Gordon’s Cup

The Gold Rush is a favorite at the Blind Pig. This is made from bourbon, honey and lemon, served in a highball with hand-shaved ice. As I mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the classic whiskey sour and here they top it off with a dash of Angostura bitters.

In the Whiskey Sour frothed egg white gives the drink a creamy texture

What most distinguishes the Blind Pig though is the staff. When they take your order they ask for your name and refer to you by name for the rest if your stay. They have a great depth of product knowledge but pull it off without being stuffy.

In other words they’re doing it right. There’s no shortage of places to go in Manila to slam buckets of San Miguel Light while your ears bleed out from nerve-grindingly high volume pop music. But if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere and a really good stiff drink your choices are far fewer. Now let’s hope they are able to keep their chilled vibe despite all of the unwanted attention.

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Comments

  1. joey says:

    Just read about this place in the CNNgo feature you mentioned! Now I really must try it! I love gin and tonic so that Gordon’s Cup sounds extremely good to me!! You are right…the secret is out and I will soon be invading :)

  2. Joey Cerdinia says:

    Thank you for a very nice write up sir jeremy. Nice shot on that whiskey sour, it really looks good without the flash. :)

  3. Shelom "ToG" Exconde says:

    The secret has been told and now the flood gates are open. – love this line Sir Jeremy. awesome review! Thanks!

  4. Jeremy says:

    I woke up the next morning with the taste of rye whiskey in my mouth. I blame you Tog!

    Thanks for visiting my site :)

  5. Mayumi Hayakawa says:

    Hi Jeremy,
    Am the Head Concierge at the InterContinental. Have read the review on CNNGo as well a week back and would want to bring my Team there sometime this week. Should I have to reserve or can we just show up? My Resident Manager mentioned that he tried entering there a few weeks back, but was not allowed, thus am worried. =) Thanks!

    • Jeremy says:

      Hi Mayumi,

      I would recommend making a reservation. The space is very small and fills up quickly. Also if the seats are full they will not take in any more patrons. This is part of what makes the Blind Pig great though, even when it’s full it’s not crowded. They will take great care of you but to secure your seats you’d be best advised to reserve.

      Thank you for visiting!

      Jeremy

      • Mayumi Hayakawa says:

        Thanks for the heads up Jeremy! Will definitely do then. My next problem is I cannot find any number for Blind Pig. Would you know who, how to contact them, or there is no other way but to go there in advance. You may email me if the number needs to be kept private. =)

  6. BJ Biazon-Cerdinia says:

    I went here last May. 14, 2012.
    I enjoyed their drinks especially the “Dark and Stormy” cocktail, match that up with their unique Caviar Pie.
    I couldn’t agree more with Jeremy that Gordon’s Cup is a actually good start-up drink(I had it as my second, on my first visit).
    I will definitely be back here with my troop.

    Drinks: 9/10
    Food: 8/10
    Ambiance: 9/10
    Service: 9/10
    Washroom: 9/10

    Great job guys, Keep it up!

    • Jeremy says:

      If you haven’t already I definitely recommend trying the Gold Rush also. These guys do great whiskey cocktails.

      Thanks for visiting BJ!

  7. Medz Medina says:

    Hello, may I just ask… how much are the cocktails? Is it at par with Skye Lounge and Draft Gastropub? Looking forward to your response. Thank You :)

  8. Martin says:

    hi! thanks for the heads-up that i should make a reservation. but how do i reserve? does anyone have the number? thanks!

    • Jeremy says:

      I just updated this page with the a phone number a friend provided me recently. Here it is: 0917 549 2264

  9. Is it still a good place to unwind? Sometimes I just want to go to a bar and get a drink by myself.

    • Jeremy says:

      These days I recommend going on a weeknight if you want to unwind. It’s become quite popular.

  10. Man, after all this time, nothing still beats Blind Pig, even if it is pretty much swamped on weeknights. Their cocktails are still one of the best! Beats the 5 star hotels in terms of price and value any single day.

    Wonder if they will consider adding something in their menu of the grilled meat kind? After a few whiskeys, you really get the munchies.

    - Ray

    • Jeremy says:

      I haven’t seen their kitchen but I imagine it’s pretty small. I do agree that they would benefit from so new munchies. Ahem..

  11. Jane says:

    After reading this blog entry, I made reservations for tonight at The Blind Pig. I sent text messages, then called the number, but I didn’t get a response until half a day later. This guy named Andrew asked me about the details of my reservation: for how many folks, what time, et al. When I said, “2 people, 9:30 pm, thanks,” he replied with “You’re welcome!”

    Come 9:30, we weren’t buzzed in. We happened to tail gate this other girl and when we went inside, a waiter said that we don’t have a reservation. Since my text exchange with the Andrew guy does not have a confirmation, they said that they couldn’t give us seats.

    So, they are asking for a “confirmation,” which, for some reason, they omitted to mention during my text correspondence with their rep.

    I went inside and I saw that it’s a small, highly overrated place, with a staff that is eager to treat you shabbily in the guise of exclusivity.

    • Jeremy says:

      Hi Jane, sorry you had a bad experience there. Sounds like they screwed up. I’ve been there over a dozen times and have never been treated poorly by the staff. Based on my experience there I would recommend you give it another shot. There really is no other like it in Manila.

    • The Blind Pig says:

      Hi Jane! I’m very sorry for my late reply and this terrible misunderstanding. You asked me “when do people usually arrive,” and after I told you it gets really busy around 10pm, you just answered that “My friend said 9:30. thanks, Andrew!” My fault for not understanding that this was your reservation request. I also apologize if we didn’t treat you as well as we should have. Though your assessment of us is generally accurate in that we are a small (we sit less than 50 people), highly overrated (the praise we get is far kinder than we deserve), boring (same music day in-day out), hole in the wall (it’s hard to tell we’re even there), I hope that we can change your mind about being pretentious and our eagerness to treat people shabbily. In fact if you’re willing to give us another chance, I’d be more than happy to invite you and your friend to a round of cocktails (or beers if you prefer) on us to make amends for the unacceptable experience you received last night with full apologies. I live in Makati too and and agree with you that we do have some wonderful bars and restaurants here. Hopefully if you accept my invitation, we can both agree that Blind Pig is one of them. Sincerely, Andrew from the Blind Pig

      • steve austin says:

        That just about sums it up, this place is “pretentious.” Sorry, I’m not buying this concept. And yes, it is just a concept. But next time, study well your concept and make sure you execute it well. Read about “blind pig” and “speakeasy” terms again. In case you missed it.

    • Carolyn Atwood says:

      Went to Blind Pig last night, stay away! Pretentious, extremely expensive and I agree not buying the concept. This is not NYC or San Francisco. Staff was rude and unaccommodating, drinks were good but pricey. To say it is a speakeasy, far from it, go to NYC for a true speakeasy. Little Branch in the West Village gets my vote any day!

  12. steve austin says:

    Geez. Another pretentious place in makati. You’re right, what good is it being “speakeasy” when people get to blog about it. I guess the owners just really wanted the attention. And what better marketing ploy than to even get CNN. (slow clap) Now isn’t that ironic? Sigh, when wil pinoys learn to just come up with their own take on things. another way of little brown brothers trying to follow in Uncle Sam’s footsteps. This country will never learn.

    Long live the jejemons! Now that is pinoy…

    • Jeremy says:

      Of course it’s not a true speakeasy because alcohol is legal in the Philippines. However there was a culture and tradition that was created as a consequence of prohibition as well as many of the most interesting cocktails. Modern “speakeasies” showcase the feel and culture of the prohibition era in an updated setting.

      Do you really think the owners were able to persuade CNN to feature them for marketing? That’s some impressive pull if so. I think it’s more likely that they were discovered because they are doing something different than everyone else and doing it extraordinarily well. As a lifetime food and beverage professional I will attest that it is better executed and conceptualized than about any other bar in Manila.

      I guess I’m a little confused by your venom for the place. Obviously it’s not your cup of tea, but there are plenty of other places you might find less pretentious. I suggest you go somewhere that doesn’t make you so angry.

  13. John F says:

    not a big fan. the “exclusivity” BS is just not working for me. they don’t allow you to sit in another table if you happen to know someone else in the room? WTF?? plus P300 truffle fries which is so so at best is a ripoff.

  14. Benj says:

    I’ve been there thrice and I really like the vibe. The cocktails that I’ve had at The Blind Pig have stopped me from going to other places for cocktails (I only drink whiskey at other watering holes now). It’s steep but since no one is playing in the same ballpark when it comes to quality of cocktails, I think it’s still a fair enough price.

    I can see why other people will hate the place, but come on, no one’s forcing you to come back. The Blind Pig’s whole shtick is the exact opposite of most drinking places nowadays – it’s for people who don’t want to be “seen” in an “exclusive club”. People who feel ripped off will never return. Those who like the experience will talk about it (and perhaps blog about it).

    • Jeremy says:

      I actually don’t think it’s expensive. The price per drink is higher than average but you have to consider what the average is. If you go to Bugsy’s or any other typical watering hole in Manila they pour weak cocktails. Drink three cocktails at Blind Pig and try to recite the alphabet backwards. I bet you don’t make it past x.

Trackbacks

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