Over the past year or so, this blog has gotten a LOT of traffic related to the fabulous Manila dance club O Bar Ortigas and an update post has been long overdue. This is especially true given the bar completed its relocation at the tailend of 2012 to new, even more fabulous location. Heck, there's even been a press release about it! And don't worry, it's not too far from the old location either.
I would have posted this sooner had I gone more frequently in order to get the photos for this post, but also because I wanted to make sure things were nicely stable in O Bar's new home.
Now similar to what I had written in my original review, O Bar is still located at the Home Depot complex along Doña Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City. The former location was located above Persian Square while the new location is just "down the street" as it were from the former location. And instead of being on the second floor, the new O Bar Ortigas is a ground floor location - which makes for quick exits a little easier even for the heavily intoxicated, if you get my drift.
Here's a rough map to give you an idea where to go:
Clearly, mapping is not my primary skill, but at least it gets the job done, right?
While before the easiest way to locate O Bar was the signage up top, now the bar has rather iconic pink double doors to lead the way to where the party is happening. And given most of the nearby establishments are closed in the evening, I promise you that you won't miss the pink doors. Seriously.
RATES and SCHEDULES:
As of February 2013 (post-Sin Tax), here are O Bar's current hours of operation and associated entrance rates:
Wednesdays - P300
Thursdays - P300
Fridays - P400
Saturdays - P400
Sundays - P300
Mondays & Tuesdays - CLOSED
There are drag shows and ledge dancers every night and poi performances primarily during weekends. In addition, the bar now serves breakfast at other meals at the veranda, but more on that later.
And now that we have the preliminary stuff out of the way, let's talk about what's new at O Bar.
The first question a lot of people ask me is inevitable "Is it bigger?" - and I'll admit it's a little tricky to answer this question precisely. In terms of total floor area, I think there's no doubt that the bar is bigger. But in terms of final configuration, some folks walk away feeling they're not as much space. Quite frankly I just feel that more people go these days than before, so it's hard to notice if there's been a true "expansion" of space. But the bar is a lot better organized, for lack of a better term. I'll explain what I mean.
One of the biggest improvements about the bar is the performance stage. Before there were two modest stages located at the front and the back of the bar where you could watch the various performances with varying degrees of comfort. Naturally if you were in the back, catching the main stage performances in front was a bit of a challenge and vice-versa.
Now the bar has a massive raised performance area where everyone can see the performances all at the same time. No more straining your necks ladies! It doesn't really matter where you are in the bar - you stand a decent chance of catching the action in all its colorful glory. Plus a bigger stage means much bigger production numbers from the likes of the Oh Divas, who have really put efforts into upping the ante in terms of their performances.
And don't get started on somehow complaining about the performances - I will always feel that this is always one of the big reasons why O Bar is so unique in the Metro Manila queer scene. No one does it like O Bar does - you have to see it to understand what I mean. The bigger stage reflects how much of a focus these drag shows are. And if it's not your thing, no worries. A bar can't please everyone.
The main bar area is a lot bigger now and the DJ booth sits directly above it, which is pretty cool. Of course you still have the waiters going around from whom you can order drinks, but I'm sure there are still those who feel like that they can't wait and thus the bar remains your best option.
And don't forget that those tickets that you get at entrance once you've paid your fee entitle you to local beers at the very least. If you want a more complex cocktail, you can either "burn" all your tickets in one go or just be prepared to shell out a little extra.
There's also a VIP area off to one side for those high value clients. You can make inquiries as to how much you need to shell out to reserve the area for parties - but it all depends on how busy the night is really. I don't have all the details yet, but it's safe to assume that you're going to have to try and book well ahead of time if you're going to aim for high traffic nights like Fridays and Saturdays. Regardless, it's a nice little addition to the bar that ads a little extra for those people who want to get away from the crowds a bit. But of course it's a lot more fun to be "down in the trenches" with everyone else - that's where the REAL action is, if you ask me.
At the old O Bar, they'd set up extra tables and chairs near the independent bathrooms where folks could sort of decongest from the madness of the bar. The new O Bar has a dedicated veranda area outside where you can not just unwind but also load up with the aforementioned meals. And you know how it is - getting something into your stomach really helps when the alcohol hits you faster than you expected. But if you don't want to step out, you can still order bar chow to go with your drinks.
Another minor yet significant improvement - dedicated bathrooms. No more stumbling down that dark corridor to the bathrooms shared with other tenants This location has its own facilities for your use, thus cutting down on your time away from the performances.
But at the end of the, O Bar is O Bar is O Bar. Don't get intimated by the new decor or the phenomenal stage area. At the end of the day it's still the same O Bar that we've come to know and love over the years. And this means good music and the potential for some very wild and crazy nights with friends old and new.
And for those who have never been to O Bar before, you're certainly in for a treat. I do hope you enjoy the bar as much as I have!