Bugsy’s: I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t

You walk into Bugsy’s on any given night, and the first thing you’ll notice is that this place has style. From the tables and chairs to the couches to the bar to the black and white photos of Chicago gangsters hanging on the walls and to the people who eat and drink here on any given night, you know this place has a certain aura, a certain look, a certain identity.

Personality is something we don’t associate often with bars. It’s usually either well-designed or poorly-designed; it’s either a superclub or an ultralounge or a hole-in-the-wall piece of shit. Bugsy’s is different. Sure, it’s a lounge-y type place with nice furniture and expensive light fixtures. But more than that, the Bugsy’s exudes a certain personality, a certain feeling that you get while you chomp down on buffalo tenders or drink beer.

I’m assuming the persona is largely derived from the fictional 1920s Prohibition-era gangster Bugsy Malone, inspired by the likes of infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone. These were the times when being a gangster meant wearing three-piece suits and bowler hats, puffing on cigars and carrying a Tommy-gun. Unlike today where gangster means a bleach-blonde kanto boy wearing his barangay liga jersey with a tattoo of a parrot on his chest who’s looking around trying to score 1 peso rugby or 100 peso shabu. The Prohibition-era gangster meant you drank all you wanted when it was explicitly illegal to do so. It meant no cop, IRS agent or judge could stand between you and a good drink. It meant you got drunk because you fucking could.

That’s what it feels like in this place. People are often dressed up more fashionably than the day and the time would prescribe. People are drinking scotch and whisky and all sorts of fancy cocktails because it’s what seems appropriate. People are dining on steaks and seafood because that’s what good food is supposed to be.

Good food aside, Bugsy’s wouldn’t have gotten TAP’s attention if they didn’t have good booze. What came highly recommended was a flaming shot of Burn, Bugsy, Burn. It’s a fiery mix of sambuca and cinnamon powder that requires you to inhale on some nasty fumes after downing a shot of burning booze. It will literally leave your chest burning.

Bugsy's4A surprise for a place that is well-decorated and attracts a lot of the moneyed few is that drinks here aren’t that expensive. About 50 bucks for a beer and about 150 for a glass of scotch is reasonable considering the crowd and atmosphere. They certainly aren’t Prohibition-level price tags.

The whole Prohibition-era style of the place is what will make it stand out, but it’s the good food, good atmosphere and the creative drinking experience that’ll make the place a regular favorite.


The Good – Great interior, good food and unique drinks
The Bad – Gets crowded often, is a place you have to dress up for
What P500 will get you – 4 beers and a plate of buffalo chicken tenders

TAP’s recommendation for:

Carlos Nograles – Made his first million as a stockbroker at 29 years old, drives a BMW, is worse looking than a coral reef after an oil spill but still manages to get dates because “malakas ang dating.”

Anna Victoria Pelaez (UA&P ’04) – Wears a cocktail dress and makeup everywhere, even just to buy sanitary napkins in the supermarket, profession unknown though she pops up at every social event, was last seen without make-up July 27, 1999.

Katrina Sta. Mesa – Washed up boldstar, now is scraping for bit parts in afternoon soap operas, is an endorser for “Jaikinkosan” herbal slimming tea and whitening cream all-in-one, still manages to live the high-life because of several sugar daddies.

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