Hooch: An Ode To Prohibition

Given the abundance of booze all over the world, it can be hard to believe that liquor used to be a very illegal substance. In the United States this period was called the Prohibition era and though it made grabbing a drink a pain in the ass, it also gave birth to a lot of fun ways to get drunk incognito. One such was way was to go to a secret bar or speakeasy. Nowadays, there’s no true need for a clandestine drinking spot, but the speakeasy has survived as a source of inspiration for a lot of bars right here in Manila. Hooch in Salcedo Village is a perfect example of this.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about Hooch is how dimly lit the place is. Its got a dark, almost somber vibe perfect for some serious conversations about the meaning of life. This compliments the size of Hooch, which can be described as intimate with its dozen or so tables spilling out into the sidewalk. Decorations are simple but elegant with signage declaring witty sayings like, “Alcohol! Helping women lower their standards for years!” You’ll notice the speakeasy influence by observing the servers’ uniforms and by spotting the 1930s shows streaming atop the long bar’s TV sets.

Hooch-3Hooch, at least on a Friday night, is predominantly filled with expats. The spot could be considered the United Nations of drinkers. Look around and you’ll find that each table is hosting a different country– including but not limited to America, France, Spain, and Brazil. This could be because the head bartender of Hooch is a foreigner himself. Locals shouldn’t fret though, since Pinoys are healthily represented by the yuppies living or working in Salcedo Village.

HoochWe’re glad to report that Hooch takes its hooch very seriously. Its menu is stocked with the finest liquors and local brews that money can buy. For the local brews, the light body and easy to drink Pirate’s Ipa (P180) is a good choice. Those who want a more robust and flavorful beer can opt for the interestingly named Black Bitch (P180). Hooch has myriad of cocktails to choose from. Popular picks amongst regulars include the rum-based Dark & Stormy (P275) and the tangy Pisco Sour (P650). Make sure to ask about their weekly specials as well. We got to try the Waldarf Cocktail (P350) made from absinthe.

Hooch-2If you’re the type of person who likes to wine and dine on a budget – do not go to Hooch. Like most establishments in the center of Makati, the prices on food and beverage are jacked up. Parking is also an inconvenience. These are minor cons though and Hooch, unlike its namesake, is a classy space that successfully turns drinking into something more than just another Friday night ritual. The days of Prohibition may be long over, but thanks to places like Hootch the public’s love for the sauce will keep going strong.


The Good – An impressive beer and cocktail menu. Has got that classy, speakeasy vibe.

The Bad – It’s located in the Makati CBD so parking and prices are at a premium.

What P500 will get you – A couple of craft beers or a premium cocktail.


Frank Montgomery – An American consulting for a local bank. Trying to put up a business in Makati but can’t get anything done because the Mayor is either suspended or holed up in city hall.

Karen Bolivia – Former Brazilian Model. She claims to be a “pinoy at heart” and wants to audition to be the next host of Eat Bulaga.

Jeline Tan – TVC director from Malaysiya. Trying her luck in the local industry. Has talent and a good eye, but can’t catch a break since clients have no “vision”.



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