It’s a Saturday night and you’re looking to unwind from the recent stresses you’ve been going through. You’ve been working hard lately, and decide to treat yourself to a little bit more than your usual recreation. Live a little, you say, as you think of a Saturday night adventure you haven’t done yet. Maybe a nice quiet bar, with a captivating atmosphere? Some distinctly refined cocktails and service? And of course live music of quality and culture that doesn’t take away, rather add to the bar’s eloquence? You’ve tried a lot of speakeasies in town, but have you heard of The Spirits Library?
I had similar reasons for finding my way there one evening, but for the most part, it was a spur of the moment, wherein I remembered a friend had mentioned it in passing. By the time I got to the front door, I was already intrigued.
When you hear the name The Spirits Library, the first thing the mind latches onto is the word library. Spirits could mean many things, but the first thing you expect is the library. And it just so happens that the first thing to greet you is a bookshelf.
Typical of speakeasies, there is no signage, and the facade is misleading. Made to look like a bookstore from the houstide, the entrance lies behind an empty bookshelf. Upon entry, however, the library assumptions give way to the spirits. Of the dead? Of the damned? Rather, of the alcoholic kind. And there’s a lot of it.
A Towering Sight
Stacked up high, from floor to ceiling of the lofty two story bar, are all their spirits on display. This impressive arrangement runs the length of the actual serving bar, which runs the length of the building. It is monolithic, and leaves guests no less than awestruck.
Of course, everything else must be made to match it. The borders of the bar either clad in wood, or grey concrete, with mellow, tawny, lighting to set a refined tone in the atmosphere. The spiral staircase is designed not just to take you to the second floor, but to serve as your panoramic tour, as you ascend the vertical breadth of the massive liquor-filled bookshelf. It is perhaps the namesake of The Spirits Library itself. But yes, there are books scattered here and there. Mostly about gin.
The second floor provides a fresh dimension, placing you at what feels like eye-level to the spirits. They aren’t arranged neatly, or in any particular order. Each row haphazardly lined with bottles of varying brands, sizes, and color. The array is mosaic to say the least; cyclopean even. With both lighting and seating arranged to showcase its centerpiece all the more, the bar ensures nobody leaves without an impression made onto them.
The Spirits Library is one of the few bars, or rather speakeasies, that I completely appreciated on the decor and atmosphere alone. And as shallow as it seems, I would honestly return for that same reason. There is a strong art deco impression to the interior design. You feel like it’s in the bones of the structure itself, as if it’s never left the roaring twenties.
The cocktails are of quality, just as the liquors that go into them. I feel the prices simply go to how much attention to detail was given to ambience. I would be perfectly content to order a drink, and simply take in my surroundings for the length of an evening.
Despite the modest size of the interior, I was surprised to find a live band rehearsing their set for the evening. It was a jazz band no less. A three-piece of keys, double bass, and drums. Their levels were perfect for the ambience of the bar, without distracting from whatever business you had there in the first place. However, they were skilled enough that the entire performance was captivating. There must have been a special event that evening as they even featured a guest bartender with his own menu.
This was my Saturday night at The Spirits Library. AndI should mention that, because I do hope it’s a regular thing for them: the drinks, the jazz, the immersion in the beautiful environment. It’s a staple I could find myself becoming a regular patron of. I left bedazzled and satisfied, and hopefully, others walk out the same way. But you’ve got to walk in first; through the bookshelf, on Guerrero Street, Poblacion, Makati.