Restaurants / Bars

Only in Malate: Hard Drinks and Home Brews on Tap

September 2, 2015

For Alabang and Makati dwellers, Malate can seem like quite the trip to take just to grab a drink. But for beer buffs, there’s one hole-in-the-wall bar worth the journey. Right by the corner of Adriatico Street in Ermita sits Tap Station, one of the few bars in Manila with a wide selection of home brews on tap.

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This cozy al-fresco bar gives out a relaxed and familiar atmosphere with its friendly staff and easy-going customers. The bar is said to be reminiscent of pubs in England, but its walls are clad with framed photos of vintage Manila, which give it a touch of home. The place also had a rustic feel to it with its bright, hanging lights made of old beer kegs, and wooden tables with textured metal bases. But what I found most interesting was the line of spirits on tap with their prices conveniently written in chalk on top for customers to order shots without having to look at the menu.

Beer Flight

From light cider ales to darker stouts, Tap Station offers a wide selection of beer that it may be difficult to choose which to order first. Don’t worry—they offer free shot glass samplers of each beer on tap for you to try before making a decision. For beer novices like me, the bartender recommended their best seller, the “Hippy,” cider ale that’s light and less bitter than the other beers available, or the “Red Head” an IRA (Indian Red Ale) that is a touch sweeter with fruity accents. I personally liked their gin-based drink on tap that tasted like spiked lemonade, appropriately named “Gin Juice.” For people with a more sophisticated taste for beer, the bartender said her favorite one is the “Black Bitch,” a stout that she described to be a sweet version of Guinness. If you’re worried you’d break the bank trying all these beers, the average price of beer was PHP 99 but none of them went over PHP 220, which was the highest price of the foreign brews.

Tap Station also has an interesting food menu with intercontinental bar dishes like fish and chips, nachos, and even kinilaw. We tried two of their Swedish-inspired dishes: their Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy sauce with a side of jam, and their Skagenröra, a boiled shrimp dish with a hefty dill-mayo sauce on a bed of fried potatoes. Their meatballs did not disappoint; they were packed with flavor and worked strangely well with the jam. The meatballs themselves were just a tad on the dry side, but the umami flavour of the gravy together with the tanginess of the jam compensated for that.

L: Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, PHP 325 | R: Skagenröra, PHP 395

On the other hand, while the Skagenröra was tasty, it could be a little too heavy for bar food, especially if you order Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes to go along with it. Nevertheless, the rich dill-mayo sauce with the shrimp and fried potatoes was a tasty combination. They also had a Skagenröra with bread on the menu, but the salty potatoes were the perfect pairing to counter the richness of the mayo sauce. A tip: their servings are good for 2-3 people, so come in a group if you want to try more of their dishes or be prepared to bring some food home.

Their extensive list of drinks and food makes Tap Station a good place for all types of bar-goers: the beer drinkers, the shot takers, the ones who only come for the food—everyone in a group of friends will find something here. The bar is also perfect for drinking alone, if you’re ever in the area and need to wait out the rush hour traffic, Tap Station is the perfect place to pop by for food and even a pint or two if you’re not driving.

Have you been to Tap Station? Where’s your favorite watering hole in Metro Manila? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Tap Station

Address: Corner of Adriatco St., Ermita, Manila

Sabina Yulo SEE AUTHOR Sabina Yulo

Sabina is a university student in Tokyo and a beach bum in Manila. She has a particular fondness for dusk, cute videos of puppies, and raving about things she enjoys. While she can tolerate most things, bell peppers and loud sounds make her irrationally angry. Her hobbies include getting excited when restaurants have avocados and/or seasoned raw meats (ie. ceviche, poke, kinilaw, yukhoe), Skype-ing, and complaining about the weather.

6 comments in this post SHOW

6 responses to “Only in Malate: Hard Drinks and Home Brews on Tap”

  1. Volts Sanchez says:

    Ahh, this sounds good. Hope the crowd is chill, though.

    • Pamela Cortez says:

      Super chill, and very interesting. You can just go alone and talk to Lily, she’s lovely and wonderful to talk to….if you’re good with your tagalog haha

      • Volts Sanchez says:

        My Tagalog is exemplary, thank you very much,,,

        Ok, it’s good.

        Fine, it works.

        (it’s mostly kanto slang and epithets)

        But ok, I will hunt this place down and try it out! 😀

  2. lisacassandra says:

    I’m confused when people confuse ermita and malate. The place is clearly in ermita but you still call it “only in malate?” They’re two different districts! And yes I live in Ermita. So what gives?

    • KH says:

      I live in Malate and assume this is a common misconception because the two are right next to each other. I think that perhaps it is more because Malate is an area that is more easily identified as compared to Ermita. I’ve had people ask me where the latter is and when I tell them it is next to Malate, only then does the light-bulb go off in their head.

      Fun Fact: If you’re not familiar with this, for a few years now, there is an Ermita-Malate Association of Business Owners (EMBOA) which is working to make both areas equally well-known. 🙂

  3. KH says:

    Great article. So glad that there are new, interesting spots opening up around my area. I can’t wait to check this place out!

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