If you live in Dumaguete – or even if you’re going to school there at Silliman University or maybe just visiting as a tourist – you may get a dry scratch in your throat every once and a while that needs quenching. In fact, this itchy thirst usually occurs around Thursday evening at Happy Hour time and especially Friday and Saturday night – a fire that can only be put out with an adult beverage or four.
The Tiki Club Review
Fortunately, there is no shortage of drinking in Dumaguete. But unfortunately, you might find a severe lack of modern, sophisticated, and cool bars. The usual nightlife scene in Dumaguete involves sitting outside in the heat and humidity at a little white plastic table ordering beers or drinks from one frazzled waitress and hoping to slug them down before they get warm. One of the only real nightlife bars (not just restaurants that serve beer where people may hang out) is Why Not, but it’s insufferably hot and smokey, pretty shady, and frequented by prostitutes and quite a few 18 year-olds.
So when friends first took me out to Tiki, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a real club like something you might find in Manila or even in the U.S., and I find they run a serious operation. Tiki is located along the seaside road not far from another popular resort/bar, Hayahay, just a block down. Tiki has a nice outside deck with a bar where you can sit out and have a few drinks while watching the street and enjoying the sea breeze.
That’s a great place to get started since Tiki doesn’t really get going until late – like 11 or even 12. I guess that’s normal for the “kids” that party until 6 in the morning every weekend night, but for us old fogies, a more popular happy hour and on crowd would be greatly appreciated. But I guess you can’t have everything!
Back to Tiki. The two-story bar/club is adorned with floor to ceiling glass windows and doors, so you can see everything inside, which also lends to its modern look. A security guard will greet you at the door and collect the modest cover charge (I think it’s 100 Pesos, or $2), which helps keep the riff-raff away. They also enforce a dress code where you need to be wearing a shirt with sleeves (t-shirts are ok but not basketball jerseys, as I found out), but no collar is ok. But you do need to wear actual shoes – not flip flops, and that’s a dress code that’s just curious in the tropics and small-town Dumaguete. But running sneakers are OK.
Once inside, you’ll find that Tiki is spacious, well laid out, and clean. There are plenty of high tables for people to sit at and drink and talk, and a few bigger tables for large parties. The center of the club is the dance floor, of course, which is big enough and doesn’t include hazardous steps or subfloors like you see in other clubs here. The dance floor is open all the way to the two-story ceiling with the DJ about 10 feet above in a nice booth. They play all kinds of music, but when it’s early, I find I can bribe him into focusing more on hip hop and RB that’s danceable with a 100 Pesos note sent by the waiter.
On the other side of the dance floor is the long, unobstructed bar, and then a staircase leads to the second floor, with more chill lounging and VIP areas. They actually have decent AC in Tiki so you won’t die of heat and sweat, and I’ve found the staff to all be super nice and helpful. Tiki is the best option for real nightlife in Dumaguete!