On paper, it sounds like something out of a pulpy paperback about spies and espionage: an inconspicuous, generic name that would make the John Smiths of the world proud, secret passageways, dim lighting, and…Vanilla Ice?

Everything about Hotel Bar is designed to be elusive. Its name brings to mind images of glassy lounges on the higher floors where guests sip overpriced drinks to looped bossa nova and jazz playlists—but this speakeasy is anything but that.

Tucked away just behind the kitchen at Pink’s Hot Dogs, it’s accessible through a hidden door in the joint’s row of restrooms. Inside, the neon-lit openness of Pink’s gives way to a cozy room — only seven tables and one booth — where the darkness is actually inviting, the bartenders are dependable and easy to talk to, and the speakers are blasting yesterday’s sing-along favorites such as Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and SWV’s “Weak.”

The Hotel Bar serves 13 drinks, each of them at ₱350, from classics like daquiris (rum, lime, and sugar) and martinis (gin and the French vermouth Noilly Prat) to more eccentric offerings like the Bee’s Knees (gin, lemon, and honey) and the Blood & Sand (scotch, orange, sweet vermouth, and cherry liquer). For those who’d rather not get smashed, try homemade sodas like the Berry Yuzu, which combines mixed berries and yuzu juice for a fun, fizzy kick.

If you’re up for snacks, there’s always the Pink’s menu. Choose from their sandwiches, burgers, and hotdogs, or go big with nachos or The Pink Platter, a truly spectacular array of onion rings, buffalo wings, and chili cheese fries. (The ranch dressing is something else.) Each table also gets a bowl of potato chips, and with shelves showing off coffee table books and board games, the Hotel Bar sends a clear message: for the night, you can just forget about being a “serious” grownup and have fun around friends and strangers. – Fiel Estrella

Photos by JL Javier

The Hotel Bar is located inside Pink’s Hot Dogs, at G/F Shangri-La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

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