Speakeasy-style bar at Shangri-La hotel in Manila focuses on craft gins and local flavours

the back room shangri-la Manila

January 14th, 2019


At first a secret – but rapidly becoming the talk of the town –  The Back Room opened in late 2018  within a hidden space of the upscale Shangri-la at the Fort, Manila. Located adjacent to one of the hotel’s burger-themed eateries – entrance is via an unmarked passageway leading to a shoe shine chair and a vintage megaphone. Capturing a mid-1920’s speakeasy vibe with a dark wood and green leather-walled interior – furnished with plush leather seats, black marble flooring and bar counter – The Back Room  transports guests back to the Prohibition era of hidden drinking dens. Patrons encounter an aura of intrigue as staff, dressed in period outfits play their roles in recreating an authentic speakeasy experience.

Behind the bar – or often found in his gin laboratory, Executive Mixologist Ulysse Jouanneaud heads up the creative drink program at The Back Room. Featuring a collection of over 120 gin labels – Jouanneaud has also created his own in-house distilled gin – accented with quintessential local ingredients and bottled and branded as The Bees Knees. With their aspiration to be ranked among Asia’s top bars – the bar only serves a list of 18 signature cocktail creations – eschewing the usual “classics” found on most drinks lists.

Libations can be paired with a compact menu of Southeast Asian and Filipino fares, among them the locally beloved sisig (Pop Rocks), a savoury treat made from thrice-cooked pork, crispy pork skins, onion cream and a tangy splash of calamansi. Burnt Ends is a serving of either beef brisket or pork shoulder – fortified with a spicy sauce infused with a shot of Jack Daniel’s; while another must-try is the Trufflemaker – a zesty sandwich laden with jamón ibérico.

The Back Room is located within Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort –  opening hours are 6 pm to 2 am – Monday to Saturday.

The Back Room cocktails

  • Big Fella
  • Ransom Note
  • For The Thrill of It
  • Right in the Kisser
  • Halle Luya

(images credit Shangri-La)

Featured contributor – Caris Cruz