To a non-drinker like myself, my happy hour is breakfast time or dinner time. But for one who likes his alcohol, Happy Hour are magic words -magic words like Open Sesame! It is that time of day when wine, beer and liquor are offered on discount. You can also get bar chow and snacks with your favorite drink. Happy Hour, according to vinepair.com, finds its roots in the US Navy, circa early 20th century. Their “Happy Hour Socials” did not involve alcohol, way back when. It was not until the 1940’s to 1950’s when Happy Hour became a respite for the beat up office worker to find solace in the company of his mug of beer or glass of wine.
Back here in modern day Manila, on a payday weekend, we were on the lookout for the best happy hour deal in town. We scoured the web for recommendations. This led us to the doors of Raffles Makati. Long Bar, here we come!
Long Bar is tucked inside the Raffles Makati. It is a spin-off from the original Long Bar at the storied Raffles Hotel in Singapore. I have yet to visit the original Long Bar, but this import in Makati is dressed up to the nines.
Cozy, plush chairs, had good acoustics, pleasant staff.. The evening was starting really well.
We came in early, finding out beforehand that they entertain guests first come, first served on weekends. This place filled up really quickly. Word got around that they got the best happy hour deal in town.
Free flowing local and imported beer, wine, liquors, crafted cocktails, everyday from 5pm-8pm, Mondays-Sundays. P695++, served with a complimentary bar chow platter.
Let’s get the party started!
After a heaping pile of peanuts, I got started with the cocktails. My first pick was the Lemongrass Mango Cooler. I asked our server to go easy on the alcohol. Unlucky for me, I have an allergic reaction to alcohol. But they graciously gave in to my request.
It was a mix of homemade lemongrass vodka, freshly squeezed lemon juice, local mango juice and a light ginger soda. It was refreshingly citrusy and tangy. A brilliant opening act to the happy hours that followed.
If there was a tiny bit that dampened our spirits about Long Bar’s happy hour, it was the chef’s sampler platter. It came out with two pieces of open faced steak sandwich, trickles of sauteed mushrooms, and a couple of beer battered fish fries. Yes it is complimentary, but admit it, it did look like a plate of leftovers. This can definitely be improved.
But what is a visit to Raffles without a taste of the classic Singapore Sling? It is as if you never went! So I might as well do as the Singaporeans do…
As the tale goes, this famous drink was concocted by a Raffles Long Bar bartender Ngian Tong Boon in 1915. It has then became known as the national drink of Singapore. There are various contentions to this history, which Raffles Singapore holds dear. You can hear it straight from their resident historian Leslie Danker. The nitty gritty details are found in the hotel website. I will not pretend to know about alcohol, I very rarely drink it. You might as well drag your feet to Makati and find out for yourselves. Ha ha, you must be thinking now, silly, lazy blogger.
If cocktails are not your thing, there is always beer. And here you can choose local or imported, from San Miguel to Corona. No worries, they got you covered.
The Long Bar encourages littering… Yes, littering. You are free to throw peanut shells on the floor. And that was exactly what our server did when she cleaned up our table after our peanut eating spree. She wiped the shells off the table and onto the floor.
I was like… what? I found that very odd. The server tells us it’s tradition, carried over from its Singapore counterpart. Long Bar Singapore is the only place in the city-state where littering is permitted. So throw those peanut shells to your heart’s content. No Singapore police will run after you. 🙂
And so they say, never trust anyone who doesn’t drink. That includes Benjamin Franklin! I’m going on a limb here saying that, coz I rarely drink. There goes my credibility!
But if you had to take someone some place to drink I’d say take him here. It’s the best place for the hard truths to come out!
We tried several Happy Hour offerings around, and I have to say Long Bar is way up there. The quality of drinks on offer. You can have it every day of the week. It is a pleasant atmosphere for small talk, or big. This is the real deal!
P.S. This article also appears in Mytrendingstories.com.
Long Bar Raffles Makati 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati City http://www.raffles.com/makati/dining/long-bar/