“It’s where all the cool people hang out nowadays,” a colleague eagerly quips, eyes wide with excitement. She was raving about this Filipino pub tucked in the foodie slash nightlife haven that is Poblacion.
Legend has it, Alamat is the newest hippest place to be on a weeknight. Proof of this is rampant: the number of times that I’ve seen the “Craft Beer for the People” sign on my feed is countless. And when we finally made our way to the old refurbished lot with the starry light streamers, warm kindred spirits filling the small space on a cool Wednesday night, what we heard from the grapevine was further reinforced.
But it’s infinitely more than a late night hub for all the cool kids. Upon entry, you get the vibe that Alamat is like the cooler sister of a guided museum tour. It feels like stepping into a time capsule where Philippine folklore and culture rose from the ashes to introduce themselves to you once more. Managing owner Cassie Laus cannot stress this further, “This is the stories of long long time ago. We don’t just focus on the myths, it’s more legends and people that stood out in Philippine history”. As if on cue, the vibrant walls glint even brighter under the dim lights, profusely declaring their presence.
Look around and you’ll find larger-than-life murals here (I’m almost convinced that they come alive at the crack of dawn when no one’s looking). In it, you’ll find Lapu-Lapu, kalis in hand, in the middle of a battle cry. The spirits of the underworld come to life, with an aswang, manananngal, mangkukulam, kapre, and nuno leading the pack. To think, this is just one site of the diner. Really, just an eighth of the whole lot the space has to offer.
Jose Rizal’s alamat ng gamu-gamo makes an appearance.
For instance, their logo features the legend of the gamu-gamo carried over from Jose Rizal’s childhood years. Inside the pub, a fraction of a jeep attached to the bar was resuscitated into its second life. It was already in its spoiled state, a threat of never seeing the light of day hanging in the air. It turns out, a new face was all it needed for its imminent revival. Love seats are accentuated with throw pillow cases where dreams are immortalized via hand-woven T’nalak weaves from the Tausugs of Mindanao. Al fresco, an asymmetrical dagger hangs as a display, gleaming with an amusing anecdote of its own to tell. The kris came from an actual datu who took the sword off his back, the relic having been with his family for ages. It’s curated fixtures like these that bring our beautiful ethnology to the forefront. A bygone era pushed to the sidelines is finally getting the spotlight it deserves.
They have the most number of taps for local craft beers, 15 in total.
Brews for every personality are in order, whether you’re into dark, medium, or pale.
Caption: All-Filipino cocktails round out the diverse drink fares. Santol, gulaman sago, sampalok, calamansi, and salabat turn into their sinful alter egos when the night falls.
Their food and drink selections has also got tongues wagging. Their craft beer is one that would inspire awe. Here, you’ll find fifteen craft beers on tap, starring glorious local brews from all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and an exclusive one reserved for home brewers. There is something for everyone here; each brew with its own story and personality to match yours. This is undeniably evident with every foamy sip we take. Another major player is their original takes on the cocktail, with innovative twists here and there. Local spirits like lambanog and Don Papa Rum come into play as the drinks’ base and is further amplified by our native ingredients. Chef Nino Laus also makes sure to concoct interesting savories that complement Alamat’s authentic boozy delights. “We wanted to dig deep, what is Filipino cuisine and who are we? That is what we wanted to show with our food,” says Cassie, the other half of the Laus power couple. Which is why you’ll find reimaginings of our cuisine here, like new forms of dinuguan and kare-kare that gets better with a cold pint of beer. Tribal dishes finds itself on the menu too, heavily inspired from the tandem’s encounters in the mountains.
Their kare-kare skewers and their brews are a perfect pairing
This habit-forming artisan platter is packed with your favorite ulam flavors and makes for an otherworldly experience.
The Piyanggang is a Tausug tribal dish doused in burnt coconut dip
Believe it or not, Alamat started with good old ‘kwento’ and ‘amats’–brillant drunken conversations under the moonlight. They wanted to put up a bar in Makati, that was for sure, but they weren’t keen on settling for a typical one. Two things were definite, however: first, the choice of an unusual proudly Pinoy theme and second, a thriving backpackers paradise as its location. Last July, it finally opened its doors to the public. And so, the Filipino pub down the bustling Poblacion compound bursted with stories to tell in every nook and cranny, each spot an embodiment of a chapter in history and narratives from the different Noypis of our society.
A sense of community is culminated with their legendary wall and each one has an alamat of their own too
Rich tales in tow, it’s the regulars that flock to Alamat that give the place additional character. “We hear so many stories here. At the end of the night, everyone knows everyone,” Cassie notes. The sense of community here is robust and is further commemorated by a legendary wall where several of the patron’s photographs are posted. Jayzelle Paras, one of the people who made craft beer a thing in the Philippines, finds herself here. Another is a famous travel blogger based in America. His claim to fame being his beer and sausage hike, in which he habitually does October of every year. Who knows, you might just find yourself a spot on this legendary wall next.
Should you find yourself incredibly wasted in Alamat and ultimately survive the ordeal, give yourself a pat on the back and raise your glass. For that alone, you are a true legend.
For more exciting restaurants to visit, click here.