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?