You’re in for a surprise.
Somewhere in Jupiter Street, Makati, behind a wooden door inside a restaurant called Lazy Bastard, is an antique elevator shaft that will take you back in time.
After saying the correct password, you’ll be transferred to a cocktail bar that’s reminiscent of the secret lounges during the 1920’s.
Welcome to Alcohol By Volume.
Alcohol By Volume or ABV is a speakeasy-style bar. With dim lights, cozy leather chairs, and delicious signature drinsk, ABV is the perfect date place—especially if you’re craving for privacy.
Aside from its luxurious ambiance, ABV also offers an impressive dinner menu that you and your ladylove will enjoy—big-ass burgers and sausages, perfectly grilled steaks, and more. They have cocktails, forgotten classics, and even a fine selection of absinthes. If the menu doesn’t impress you and your date, ask for the “Bible” for a more extensive list of what ABV’s skilled bartenders can do. Better yet, ask them to make a unique concoction that caters to your tastes.
Just so you know, ABV was awarded as one of the Best Bars in Asia.
FHM sat down with ABV’s proprieator Patrick Cuartero to tell us more about this special spot.
What is Alcohol By Volume? What inspired you to build a speakeasy bar such as this?
ABV is a 1920’s style cocktail and absinthe bar. I’m from New York, so I wanted to bring in my experiences from New York and the rest of the world. There are some great bars around here but I fell that there’s something missing. What I wanted is to bring this environment right here. I want people to betransported to a different timeline.
Can you tell us more about your cocktail selection?
We really want to focus on a program for drinks. When we talk about cocktails, we’re serious about it. We have the best bartenders in the world. And we also have the largest brand of spirits in the Philippines because we want our bartenders to have a certain kind of realness. We craft cocktails in many different ways. I want them to give people a very unique vibe. And I believe we’ve captured it. And at the same time we want to be true to our brand and keep it vintage.
What sort of person would love ABV?
First, you have people who are very curious. You walk through a burger joint, then to a basement, and then there’s a wooden door to this dark hallway, then there’s an antique elevator shaft, then all of a sudden you’re transported to the 1920’s. Second, people who like to go on dates—especially secret ones. Also, for people who like to be seen and not to be seen. We have clients that are CEOs, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, expats—we have a nice crowd. Also, this is great for people who like to experience something real and authentic. Because the way we do your cocktails is really unique—there are no Weng Wengs here or Margaritas. And lastly, people who want to experience things from all over the world. We love that because it’s a pleasure bringing these things in for everyone in Manila.
What makes ABV’s food stand out?
We want something simple, low-key, but ridiculously good. The menu is a mixture of classic, traditional French and American pub grub. It’s like a shout out to New York City, and a shout out to our French friends. We have steaks, burgers, and sausages. ABV is even the home of the “Number 1 Hotdog In Manila.”
How 'bout the drinks?
When it comes to drinks, we really pay close attention to what we are doing. We spend a lot of time doing research and development. And I think our bartenders are doing very well. The beer we rotate based on what’s available and some local craft brews. We also have imports. For wine we rotate based on what we like and what customer’s like. And the best part is the absinthe. Absinthe is like the spirit that has a bad reputation, but it’s the most beautiful alcohol. We want to bring the popularity of absinthe here to the market. We have over 30 different kinds of absinthes from all over the world, and we want everyone to experience it. You can also order customizable cocktails, too.
Can you tell us more about the “Bible”?
We’re constantly updating our “Bible.” Everything you see on the walls, those over 400 bottles, you can choose whatever drink you want. Again you can customize your drinks no matter how you want it. Customization here is something that’s important for us because it’s your drink.
Do you plan to expand?
There’s only gonna be one ABV because this is a very special place. I think the one thing that we don’t do is that we don’t want to be very commercial about it. It’s a speakeasy. ABV is such a special place that if we had another one, it will lose its charm.
Any message for those who are planning to vist ABV soon?
The most important thing for us is you and your experience. We want you to feel amazed. We want first-time guests to walk through that door, and the first thing that should happen is their jaws should drop.
Check out ABV's food, drinks, and what-have-you's here: