Apr 13, 2010

O-Bar Ortigas is O-Kay

One Saturday last month, my usual clubbing buddy texted me saying he wanted to go out and party. We usually go to Malate, but since he was somewhere in Katipunan and I was in Pasig at that time, I suggested that we try out the Ortigas branch of O Bar for a change. My interest in O Bar Ortigas was piqued when I read about the place from the Corporate Closet and Johhny Cursive. He was hesitant at first but I managed to convince him and off to O Bar we went.

Well, O Bar is definitely nothing like Bed. It doesn’t even feel like the original O Bar in Malate. It’s a relatively small place at the second floor of Ortigas Home Depot along Julia Vargas Ave. (See the map below.) You will definitely have no problem finding it since the conspicuous pink “O” logo is unmistakable and the bar is found above this Persian restaurant very near the main entrance to the Home Depot. The entrance fee is 200 pesos (Saturday rate) and it’s good for three beers—definitely a bargain for those who like drinking compared to Bed’s pocket damage.

When we went inside, we found the place filled with boys (and a few girls), though it wasn’t too packed and that you can actually move around quite freely. The place has a high ceiling and there are a couple of elevated balcony ledges where the gogo boys dance and strut their well-defined abs. Between those ledges is the DJ’s booth—also elevated. If you like ogling at gogo boys, then O Bar Ortigas’ setup is really not good since you’d be craning your neck.

View O Bar Ortigas Home Depot in a larger map

As for the entertainment, the music is actually quite good being a nice mix of dance remixes of popular tunes and your usual assortment of gay-friendly house anthems. The night is also punctuated by frequent song-and-dance drag shows held at the two stages at the opposite ends of the bar. These shows are from the resident tranny divas. In fairness, the shows were quite entertaining and me and my buddy actually thought that one of the divas was extremely talented (and not to mention quite goodlooking and muscular if she were butch).

One possible problem with the shows is that they frequently drag an audience member onstage. So if you have stage fright and really don’t like embarrassing situations, you’d probably find yourself scrambling far away from the stages. Another problem is that the shows occur too many times. Unlike Saturday nights in Bed where you usually only have 2 sets of 2 songs from the Dragon Divas, in O Bar Ortigas, you’ll frequently find yourself getting into the groove of dancing and then it will be interrupted by yet another drag show. Well, the way the bar is set-up seems to emphasize that dancing is really not the main point since there is really no sizable dance floor to speak of and tables with chairs are aplenty in the bar.

As for the crowd? Well, if you’re expecting a nice place to meet new people, then O Bar Ortigas doesn’t seem to be it since from what I’ve seen, guys stick to their circle of friends here. That said, the crowd is a nice mix of guys and tending to the younger side. I also spotted a few Bed regulars that night.

My verdict? It’s a pretty decent alternative place to Malate. If you wanna hang out with your friends and drink the night away far from Malate, then O Bar Ortigas would not be a bad choice.

If you want other perspectives, then check out this very in-depth Geeky Guide to O Bar Ortigas (with plenty of pictures) or this negative experience from John Stanley. Update (May 5): Here’s Guyrony’s take and he doesn’t like the drag shows.

So, have you been to O Bar Ortigas? How did you find it? :-)


legis wrote on April 18, 2010 at 12:33 PM:

thanks for this info vince. visited the place last friday night with some friends. at around 1230am, a cute semikal caught my attention but he's with someone. until our eyes locked and he went out in a remotely located restroom. then we went to the cubicle and consummated our carnal desires... hehe..i still miss the wild action:)

Vince (Discreet Manila) wrote on April 21, 2010 at 12:43 AM:

@legis, wow! jackpot! hehehe

Bee Ahr wrote on January 2, 2011 at 5:34 AM:

Thanks for the info. Vince. I actually went there December 26, 2010. That was actually a Sunday. The entrance was 150 with 3 stubs for local beers. There are a lot of cuties that time. I was acutually drunk that time since we already drank tequila and some bottles of beer before we went there. I thank my being drunk since I met this guy because of that. He escorted me to his place and fed our hungry bodies (haha). He even sent me home. He's so sweet. Until now, we see each other at O Bar Malate or O Bar Ortigas. Later we'll be meeting again and I think, this will be a wild action again. Anyway, I'm just sharing this.

Anonymous wrote on May 23, 2011 at 10:26 PM:

I went there on Sunday night. From what i read it was not the best place to meet people but I found the crowd, waiters and staff to be very friendly.

dj genĂ´ve wrote on January 3, 2012 at 1:25 AM:

I was there January 1 2012 night.
Good to start my Year's party life!
(we gotta party like it's the end of the worl)
The place was full packed!
I can hardly move! since I'm not that tall I was almost drowned.
The place is not good for smokers for they might burn someone elses clothes.
However I still manage to enjoy by standing on the stage on the other end of the room.
I went there alone.
but met couple of guys to party with.
I had fun.
I'm planning to bring my friends there soon.

Anonymous wrote on January 7, 2012 at 5:28 AM:

i just came home... from this O-Bar Ortigas.. it was my first time to get in...this kind of bar.. i expect too much.. crowded pla.. i try to enjoyed with my frnd who feel sleepy.

all you have to enjoy urself...so wont disappoint..crowded tlg.. no chair. just only --- tayuan.. (bhla kn s tayuan mo.. :)))

rush wrote on May 24, 2012 at 3:26 AM:

How much money should you usually bring to a bar? haha