Apr 4, 2010

[Pink Scene] O Bar Ortigas

UPDATE JANUARY 2013 - O Bar Ortigas has MOVED. You can check out my review of the new bar at the link. Party OUT! Party LOUD!
O Bar Ortigas Front

Today is Easter Sunday and we'll end our theme of Holy Week entries with one that's happy enough to match the religious significance of today (at least for Christians). Plus there's the added irony of me posting my LGBT posts on Sunday, the so-called day of the Lord for those of the faith - you know, the one that condemns our right to marriage and feels we are doomed to the fires of Hell forever. So yeah, I'm still trying to have fun here.

When it comes to gay worship, there are still some that choose to practice with the established religions that they were born into (the same ones that condemn their lifestyles) while others find alternative venues of "worship", in a very liberal use of the word. Some would argue that the two main places of worship for the gay man would either be the gym, where they can tone their bodies to superficial physical perfection while ogling fellow worshipers or at the dance clubs whey they get to strut their stuff, show off their tones bodies even more of hopefully just have fun and see where the winds of fate will take them.

Believe it or not, this geek likes hitting the clubs every now and then even though (1) the rhythmic movements I end up doing might not be deemed to be actual "dancing" by most people or (2) I totally lack the social graces to introduce myself to total strangers. Ah, to each his own, right?

O Bar Ortigas is the second branch of the same O Bar in Malate. The two bars have a lot in common with a few unique differences that make it still distinct from its parent.

O Bar Ortigas Interior

One of the biggest things about O Bar Ortigas is, well, just how big it is. O Bar Malate is crammed into two floors of fun while O Bar Ortigas is a larger open space with high ceilings that remind one of a warehouse-style of establishment. It makes for a lot more room to dance, less overly intimate encounters with strangers, less drink spillage and generally a lot more comfort. While you might argue the added space is just because it's still new, I'm pretty sure the layout and the basic physical dimensions of the place speak for itself. The added space has been put to rather creative use such as having the DJ booth elevated above the entire bar at an alcove in the mezzanine and the addition of these small dance ledges for various performers.

Let's focus on those ledges for a moment.

O Bar DancerLike O Bar Malate, O Bar Ortigas employs some very...physically impressive male dancers (and the occasional girl, too!). They pretty much spend most of the night dancing the night away in nothing more than well-fitting jeans, thus giving all the bar patrons something to drool look at when thee are no drag performers on stage at the moment. The quality of the guys as, well, visual entertainment remains as great as ever although I'm sure more than one O Bar customer has felt rather frustrated that the arrangement forces everyone to just look without touching.

But trust me, a lot of the guys are still worth it, even though they're largely hands-off.

O DivaThen there are the drag shows, a main stay of both O Bar Ortigas and Malate. While Malate avoids having shows during the peak clubbing days of Friday and Saturday, Ortigas always has performances doing on for every day of the week that they're open, which is from Thursday Wednesday to Sunday (but hopefully they'll be open all week again in the future). These are pretty much the same performers that also grace the stage at Malate on rotation and so you're bound to catch a great campy performance whenever you're there. Plus with the addition of those same ledges used by the male dancers, the O Divas (as the drag queens are called) have learned to make full use of the spaces by incorporating them into their routines and finding interesting ways of getting back to ground level.

The music remains as consistently good as it is at O Bar Malate, which means a lot of vocals and anthems that most of the crowd can sing along to if they so wish. Don't expect a lot of that European trance stuff at O Bar - the place is all about having fun in a lighter environment and what's more fun than the campy gay anthems and popular dance tracks that we all know and sometimes can evens sing along to, right? I've always appreciated the music at O Bar for that reason - it's always danceable or at the very least something you can sing.

Food and drinks options are the same across the bars, which means you have a lot of affordable options for alcohol and bar chow. Seriously. nothing hits the spot better than a plate of O Bar's mixed sausages with mustard to go with all the beers you're bound to have. Plus if you really want to bring the party up a notch with your friends, then go for a pitcher of Kamikaze to get everyone more than loosened up.

Service remains fairly consistent across the two branches but given the differences in space and how much easier it is to move around at Ortigas, you shouldn't have as much trouble having someone take your order as compared to how sardine-packed Malate tends to be.

O Bar Ortigas Show

Thus far the crowds are still really being defined in terms of who goes to the Ortigas branch. I've found that O Bar Ortigas has become very friendly to the after-work crowd in the area on Friday nights with a lot of working ladies dragging their straight boyfriends to enjoy the campiness of the place. It's nice that it's becoming to be a bar for everyone who wants to have fun, and thus truly a dance / entertainment venue as opposed to it being perceived as strictly for gay and / or bisexual men. I don't mind that notion at all since the kind of girls who do end up at O Bar are pretty wild and more than likely fag hags to one queer boy or another.

The interior still feel a tad unfinished for now and I could really go for a lot more mirrors inside to increase the feeling of space and give the lights more to bounce off of. The DJ booth is especially hard to see all the way up there and having mirrors on the opposing wall might help more people realize who's manning the turntables for the night.

O Bar Ortigas

O Bar Ortigas is located near Home Depot at the Ortigas Center complex along Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City. Just look for the distinct O Bar signage above Persian Square Restaurant and you'll eventually find the stairs leading up to the place. You can also add O Bar Ortigas as a Facebook friend if you're into that kind of thing.

As of today, O Bar Ortigas gets a full 4 go-go boys rather hot men who happen to dance out of a possible 5. I tend to hang out here when I have free time so in case you recognize me, feel free to say hello and share a drink with me!

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