I used to think that cafes are eating places that must sell coffee. MUST SELL. Silly me, for I wasn't as well-traveled ten years ago as I am now. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a cafe as, "... a small restaurant where you can get simple meals and drinks (such as coffee)." As this post is dedicated to giving you unique cafes in Manila, let's get this notion out of our heads first - a cafe does not equate to just a coffee shop (or if it's just me who has this notion, well, then, we can proceed). Sometimes, you'd even find cafes that do not serve coffee at all, and that's actually okay.
There are so many quirks that can be found in Manila's finest cafes and let's get to know these!
1. Antiteasis: Books and Brews
It's cozy and it has an extensive tea menu. Like a whole lot of tea to choose from. They have books that you can read while sitting on a foam mattress on the floor with your legs crossed or even while lying down. As long as you're not in the way of anyone. If you came with friends, now is the time to challenge them for a game of Scrabble! Or any board game of choice - as they also have a whole lot of these under their bookshelves, from Cards Against Humanity to Monopoly, name it, they probably have it!
It gives you time to just sit down, chat, drink tea or coffee, enjoy a book or enjoy the company of friends.
They have a glass door and windows where customers are encouraged to write on them, leave a message, leave your number, anything that is pleasant to the eyes. They also sell CDs of local artists and bake their own pastries.
- AntiTeasis: Books & Brews
- Unit C, 154 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, 1100 Quezon City, Quezon City, Philippines
- +63 906 342 4599
2. Cool Beans Cafe
When you first enter Cool Beans, you'd think it was a study hall or a library. But when the aroma of coffee hits you and your eyes strayed away from the bookshelf, you'd see the glass display of pastries.
As far as book selections and magazines are concerned, Cool Beans has the most number, compared to all the cafes here on the list. They also have a couch section for those who just want to sit and relax while having their drinks or pastries, or even read. But they also have a section with chairs and tables meant for studying.
Aside from the drinks and snacks that they offer, they also sell trinkets such as planners, calendars, bookmarks, etc.
- Cool Beans Cafe
- 67 A Maginhawa St., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
3. Cafe Noriter
Noriter is actually the Korean word for playground, and hence, once you enter this place, your eyes will definitely wander around! This cafe is inspired by everything Korean, so if you are into the cute little things, you would enjoy going here.
The details in decoration is something that even I cannot describe here. But my favorite area is the cupboard that displays papers cups with unique drawings. These drawings are done by guests - how amazing is that?
You might think that this place might seem loud as the area itself is bright and popping, but they have a loft area where you can sit and read a book that is far from the maddening crowd.
- Cafe Noriter
- 2746 Reyes Bldg., Estrada St. (at Taft Ave.), Manila, City of Manila, Philippines
Most likely the crowd favorite (because of the tons of selfies that you can take), Chemis-tea embodies what it's named after. Imagine having tea served to you in Erlenmeyer flasks, while playing chess? Imagine having to blend your own concoction? Nothing can be more nerdy cool than this!
They also serve a couple of snacks, have some board games for you to play with friends, and though the place might be out of your typical hangout areas in Manila, do try to visit and experience drinking tea in flasks.
- Chemistea Milk Tea + Café
- #44 Shorthorn St., Brgy. Bahay Toro (Project 8), 1106 Quezon City, Quezon City, Philippines
5. Craft Coffee Revolution
The artwork, the ambiance, and the smell.
These are the three things that you can only find in Craft Coffee Revolution. You will notice that their ceilings have bare lightbulbs and exposed wiring. It gives you the urban yet relaxing feel. This alone is a work of art. Add the wall that has various drawings and paintings. Alone, the artwork doesn't really blend, but together, they all look like they belong.
The ambiance is something that you can only find in cafes near universities and schools. You will find your usual study group in one corner, then you have friends just chilling from a long day in school, and then your dormitory-staying kids who are just bored and would like to do some people watching.
The smell. The baristas are award-winners, the coffee brewed are one of a kind in Manila and the way they make the coffee? You cannot find it anywhere else.
So if these three things entice you, drop by Katipunan Avenue or New Manila, both in Quezon City.
- CRAFT Coffee Revolution
- 88 Loyola Serviced Residences, Quezon City, Quezon City, Philippines
Cafes aren't just for eating and drinking in Manila. Cafes are the new hangouts where you can read, study, play board games with friends, or unleash your creativity with the monstrosity of existing creativity around you. So make sure you stop by one of these when you're in Manila.