What’s the vibe. Funky, contemporary, with touches of art deco. Expect fun, geometric patterns from carpet to walls, mirrored beehive wall design, chrome, velvets, pops of tangerines and yellows, and glass leaves hanging like mobiles from above the bar countertop. At the center of the bar is a small stage for nightly live performances. But the big reveal is the view — that of Manila Bay and its famous sunset on one side of the room and on the other, skyscrapers and city lights.
Drinks. The menu lists 27 signature cocktails —thus, the bar name— and raises the bar experience with its bespoke cocktail drink, “Trust the Bartender.” Bartenders, skilled in the art of drinks creation, will ask you your preferred base and taste, and proceed to concoct your drink. Cocktails are categorized into three sets — Chill for the mild, Upbeat for the medium, and Party, the spirit heavy.
My favorite is Read Between the Gin, a gin-based concoction with lemon, lime, mint, cucumber, orange and Sprite because it’s refreshing. For whiskey lovers, try Johny Be Good, a mix of Johnnie Walker whiskey, sugar cubes, bitters and soda water with orange peel, a sweetish drink with orangey aroma, with the bold whiskey flavor lingering in the end. Smoking Gun is a concoction of bourbon, whiskey, campari and sweet vermouth infused with burnt biscuit chips for that smoky flavor.
The bestsellers are Margarette’s Secret, Manila Bay Sunrise, and Read Between the Gin. The bar stocks draft, double chill and international beers, and wine, a mix of old and new world. Mocktails, or cocktails mimicking cocktails, minus the alcohol are available for non-drinkers.
Bar chows. Mainly tapas, a mix of Spanish and Italian, and although the menu is not that extensive, everything I tried was superb. The Jamon Experience consists of three ham slices with toast on the side. The Cheeseboard is a winner — an assortment of cheese, including good gorgonzola and homemade cream cheese, with toasted bread, dried fruits and nuts. The bruschetta has three spreads and toppings — tomato salsa; sardines and alfalfa sprouts; and cheese, cherry tomatoes and balsamic pearls.
Crowd. Corporate types, government officials, and hotel guests.
Service. Professional and friendly.
Price. Cocktails are at P420 (US$84), bar chows are from P260. Expect to pay from P1,000 to P1,500 per person.
Verdict. Worth a splurge.
Bar 27, 27th Floor, Diamond Hotel, Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J Quintos Street, Manila, tel +632 528 3000, visit Bar 27.
-By Monica de Leon
Originally published in InFlight Traveller Volume 4 Issue 15. Updated April 2017