Bar Reviews

Bank Bar – First-Class Cool, Bullshit Pricing Tricks

Last night, I had a very confusing bar experience. No, I didn’t smoke some funny stuff a stranger gave me and wake up wearing a clown suit in the trunk of a car in a different city. That only happened that one time and it wasn’t my fault, I swear.

The Bank Bar Review – Manila, Philipines

Bank Bar

No, this time, I found a bar that I really LOVED for its unique and cool setup: the Bank Bar here in Manila, the wound-tight capital city of the Philippines. But, then, when I got my bill, I went from being the Bank Bar’s biggest fan to its new biggest critic, as they pulled some serious bullshit. (And this may be the first and only time I’ve cursed on one of these reviews, but I’m just that disappointed.)

Let me tell you the good news, first.

Bank Bar has one of the coolest introductions I’ve ever seen, anywhere in the world.

That’s because you walk into a 7-11 convenience store to get there. Seriously! So you just walk off the street into this totally regular, nondescript 7-11 where people are buying hot dogs and Slurpees and all sorts of other stuff, but this one has a serious looking bouncer guy hanging out by a metal back door, which looks like an employee-only exit door or something. But slip in there as he opens it slightly for you, and you find yourself in a supply closet, which is pitch black when he closes the door. However, once you’re in the dark, you see that the shelves, stocked with water bottles, cup-of-noodles, potato chips, and more, are actually backlit by red and blue back lights – your first clue something cool is happening. Take a few steps, and you find yourself at another doorway with thick plastic curtains hanging down like you might find in an industrial warehouse.

Walk through there and you’re in the Bank Bar, which is a high-end cocktail lounge set up in an industrial space, with nice sofas and seating, a DJ spinning lounge music from his laptop, and projections of artwork covering one whole wall.

I can go on and on, but it’s basically a nice bar with a cool intro – you get the gist.

Now, let me tell you about the bullshit part.

I ordered a Dark & Stormy, which they said they had.


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The Refined – a gentleman’s social and grooming club in #Manila, the Philippines. I can’t wait to become a member soon!

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Ok, so it comes in one glass, I drink it, it’s apparent there’s Ginger Ale in it, not Ginger Beer, but that’s cool – I don’t complain.

However, when I get the bill, they charged me 320 Pesos (about $6 USD) for the shot of rum in there, and THEN itemized a separate 180 Pesos ($3) charge just for the soda.

When I asked about it, they said the bill was correct, because they charge separately for the soda that goes into the drink.

What the… I held my tongue and remained pleasant (you NEVER get heated or lose your cool here when dealing with locals) but sternly told them that was ridiculous.

They apologized but said that it was how they priced their drinks. However, my friend had ordered a Negroni, and there was only one charge (320 Pesos) for her drink.

So, I asked, if someone orders a rum and coke, you always make them pay 180 Pesos separately for the rum? Yes, he answered, which I don’t quite believe.

I have never ever ever seen bullshit like that at a bar ANYWHERE in the world over my 31 years (I’m 46, so you do the math) of drinking. EVER!

It’s not just the money, although $9 for a drink here is a ridiculously large sum, and you can get drunk on $10 at some other bars. But, if I’m truly paying for the soda, then bring out the whole damn can! Furthermore, I reminded him that he should TELL people that they were actually signing up for two separate charges when they were first ordering.

I didn’t go on and on but at that point, I was seriously pissed off, and it had tainted my whole Bank Bar experience, which had been so amazing up to that.

To the owners of Bank Bar – you can have a cool entrance and fancy sofas and nice music and charge sky-high prices for your drinks – that’s you’re prerogative. You may even make a lot of money, but you’ll never be a truly classy establishment if you resort to tricks and bullshit like that, duping your customers into shelling out a few more dollars unnecessarily and without their knowledge – just to line your pockets.

Completely low rent. I’ll just stay in the 7-11 and drink there next time.

Norm out.

For more Manila reviews, check out the below!

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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