Dive Bars

Margaritas Station

Margaritas Station is one of Angeles City’s oldest bars and restaurants, and therefore a piece of both U.S. and Philippines history. For those of you who don’t know, Angeles is the site of the now-defunct Clark Airforce base, used by U.S. military personnel all the way back in World War II (in fact, it’s roughly along the course of Buutan Death March) and then, throughout the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict.

Angeles City served as a playground for GIs and servicemen well into the 1980s and early 1990s, where they would go to enjoy bars, booze, and all of the Filipina sirens waiting to steal their hearts for the right price.

In 1992, the nearby volcano Mount Pinatubo erupted, and the air base was abandoned by U.S. military, but the sin city town of Angeles survived and even thrived. Now, it’s a choice destination for foreign tourists and expats, sort of like a (very) poor mans’ Pattaya.

The Famous Margaritas Station

So Margaritas Station has sat in the middle of it all for almost two decades, and the American owner has been living there for more than 30 years. Located just a quarter mile or so from the infamous Walking Street, the ‘Station doesn’t look like much at all from the outside. In fact, it has a screened-in front porch look across the whole front counter, where guys sit and sip their beers and look out at the street.

There is a practical reason for this ugly décor, however, as the screen is supposed to prevent vendors, hawkers, solicitors, beggars, and street girls from harassing the patrons. It’s true that every ten feet you walk in Angeles, you’ll have someone trying to sell you Viagra, Cialis, a belt, a wallet, a fake iPhone, etc., or trying to hustle you for a massage, a good time, or just begging money, so the screened in front of Margaritas Sation deters that. Inside, you’ll see that it’s much more welcoming and cozy, with several good pool tables. In fact, it’s a place for serious pool players, too, and they even have some Asian champs come through.

The bar is huge, probably seating thirty people or so, and they have TVs showing sports or music videos. There is also plenty of cocktail counter-style seating, and then going far back into the recesses of the bar/restaurant (I was shocked how big it is), plenty of big tables for family-style seating.

The ‘Station is known for its generous portions of American home cooking, and I’ve had the chicken wings and the gigantic ribs platter. But I’d say that it’s a little over-priced, with something as simple as six chicken wings costing $6 or $7 USD (a LOT over here) and a simple hamburger with a beer or two will cost you $10 or up.

The margaritas, unfortunately, are a joke – not because they’re not well made, but because the serving sizes are minuscule. For $2 USD (which should buy you a large mixed drink here), they serve a marg in a glass so tiny I had to laugh and thought it was a practical joke at first. You have to pay around $4 to get a normal sized margaritas glass, and the American owner should know better.

But still, it’s a cool place to hang out undisturbed and try some food and beers as you soak in Angeles City history. But for the “margaritas” in Margaritas Station, visit a few blocks away to Tequila Reef where they’re much bigger, better, and cheaper!

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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, Business.com, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo, Hotels.com, 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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