Checkpoint Bar: Southern Hospitality

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For the better part of the last decade, the main road of BF Homes Paranaque has transformed into the drinking destination of choice for people who live in the southern portion of Metro Manila. Pioneered by the likes of the now ubiquitous Central BBQ Grill and Tides, Aguirre Ave. is now filled with blocks and blocks of bars and restaurants. One of the newer establishments rocking the south is Checkpoint Bar, an immigrant of sorts from the north side of town.

Checkpoint has chiseled its reputation for being a perfect gig venue – which they now bring to the south. Affordable drinks, good acoustics, attentive staff and a general vibe of youthful rebellion give Checkpoint a distinct yet somewhat familiar feel. The band on stage may be loud and aggressive, but the ambience of the bar is not intimidating at all.

Checkpoint-2Simply laid out with long tables and bar stools leading up the stage where a mural of both local and foreign legends of rock are paid homage to, Checkpoint has no pretenses about what they’re here for. Come for the music, stay for the beer. In here, you can let your rasta dreads hang loose and belt out your favorite line from Deftones’ “Digital Bath” and nobody will bat an overly made-up eyelash. In fact, you can probably come in here in shorts and slippers (true for many places in this area) and fit in nicely. As long as you’re either drinking or enjoying the performance, everything else is secondary.

Speaking of drinking, getting drunk in this part of town is easy on the pockets. A Pale Pilsen or a San Mig Light is P55 while the Checkpoint “Artisan” Cocktails like the “Danger Zone,” “Beating The Red Light,” and “ Hi-Way to Hell” range from P150 to P200. You can also get a carafe of Mindoro Sling or Kamikazee and it will cost P250 and P350 respectively.

The price range suits the typical type of crowd you find here on any given night. As with most bars in this area, college kids with their thick-rimmed glasses and faux mustaches dominate the scene. The older generation of drinkers have flocked over to Draft, Barcino and Bugsy’s in Alabang, convincing themselves that they deserve more luxurious libations. College kids and those adults who have no delusions of grandeur are common around BF as the standard of drinking here is pretty affordable. After all, this is the place where that terrible Bad Boy and Bad Trip mixes were born.

Checkpoint-3Unlike gig bars in Makati where you’ll find more seasoned rockers, Checkpoint is a hotbed for up-and-comers. Still, Checkpoint features some of the country’s premier acts like Urbandub, who performed there recently, and some of the best bar bands in town like Trinidad and Overtone.

The straightforward and unpretentious appeal of Checkpoint is probably the same sentiment that draws people into rock music. As long as you’re open for a good time, the music (and the booze) will take care of the rest.

TL;DR

The Good – Hey cool, gigs in the south!
The Bad – Who the fuck is Jurrasic Pards and why are they headlining?
What P500 will get you – A whole bunch of beer and some standard pulutan

TAP’s recommendation for:

Jayson Mercado (San Beda Alabang ’12, DLSU ’16) – Frontman for the aspiring rock band “The Jimmy Santones.” He’s trying to grow a beard but so far can only produce “pussy whiskers.”

Alena Natasha Wassmer (DLSZ ’15) – Rebellious middle child of a well-to-do Ayala Alabang family. Older sister is a model and younger brother is a football superstar. Frequently claims that Chris Martin and Florence Welch may not be her parents, but they definitely raised her.

Bebong Salvacion (Out of school youth) – Inserts “putangina tangina” into every sentence (e.g. “Hoy Jonel putangina tangina nandito na ako sa Checkpoint.”). Big fan of Kamikazee.


CHECKPOINT ON THE TAP MAP:

 

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