Only in Malate: Hard Drinks and Home Brews on TapSeptember 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.
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.
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.
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!
Address: Corner of Adriatco St., Ermita, Manila