Restaurants / Bars

Try This: 78-53-86 Is a Low-Key Cocktail Bar along White Plains for Audiophiles, Playing Vinyl Through Vintage Garrard 301s

September 27, 2017

Located behind an unmarked wooden door on the second floor of a new building called White Plains West is a speakeasy-esque cocktail bar owned by veritable vinyl nerd and cocktail-drinker Jay Amante. Housing his lifelong collection consisting of roughly 10,000 vinyls, 78-53-86 is a reflection of his family and their shared love of music. The seemingly random and difficult-to-remember bar name represents that family bond, as the numbers come from their old family landline number. “Things were different then,” says Amante. “All six siblings and our parents were still in one place. It’s an homage to togetherness.”

78-53-86 is a vinyl collector’s wet dream.

Amante tells us about his brother’s group back in the 80’s called Social Distortion, who provided music played on vinyl for parties and events, and how he would go to these parties as a young boy and enjoy the music. A turning point for Amante and his relationship with music was during EDSA Revolution in 1986. “Social Distortion rented a flatbed truck and parked it on the corner of EDSA and White Plains Avenue,” he narrates. “. . . and played music for the people while trying to overthrow a dictatorship.” That is when he learned of the value of music, he says, and this moment could perhaps be credited for bringing his interest in music to the realm of passion.

Their sound system is composed of “vintage Altec speakers, custom built by Harana Audio’s Joey Abad Santos, a pair of vintage Garrard 301s with vintage Fidelity Research arms and vintage Dynaco amplifiers, modified by Joseph Esmilla.” If you understood any of that, this is the bar for you.

Now, the bar, aptly located a stones throwaway from the family’s protest site during EDSA Revolution, has become a venue for likeminded audiophiles to come together and enjoy good music over a quality cocktail or two. In fact, the bar does not serve any cooked food whatsoever, only offering truffled popcorn as a snack, so that “the customers [can] experience listening to music while drinking without any distractions.”

The bar offers a number of classic cocktails, but it’s their signature cocktail that we’d suggest you order for a first-timers visit:

IN A SILENT WAY

In A Silent Way is actually called that because of the way it sneaks up on you and hits you.

In A Silent Way, named after the famous Miles Davis album, was developed by their head bartender Jonathan Po, who has 6 years of bartending under his belt. The cocktail makes use of Japanese whisky as a way of mirroring their Japanese-style bar that fits only about a dozen people comfortably. The whisky is enhanced by cinnamon schnapps and orange liquor, and garnished with a slice of apple, making it a spirit-forward drink that is strong but still fruity and accessible.


78-53-86

A cocktails bar across White Plains that houses an expansive vinyl collection and plays jazz, electronica, indie and rock through vintage Garrard 301s.

ADDRESS: White Plains West, 42 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City
VISIT: 3:30PM-12:30AM daily
CONTACT: (02) 819-9297
SPEND: PHP 200-500
FOLLOW: Facebook

Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.
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