• Location: 4991 P. Guanzon St. Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City
  • Contact Number: +639088970668
  • Operating Hours: 6 pm to 1 am Monday to Wednesday, 6 pm to 3 am Thursday to Saturday
  • Price per head: P800++ for two cocktails
  • Signature drinks: Jessica Rabbit, Chillin’ Like a Villain, Kaya Toast, Mr. Truffle, infused cocktail shots

Follow us down the rabbit hole as we take you to Run Rabbit Run, one of the newest addition to nightlife hotspot Poblacion. The bar is a collaboration project with Singapore’s famous bar, Bitters & Love, a 60 seater bar that features seasonal bespoke cocktails with a menu that changes every three months.

Since they opened last May 18, 2018, Run Rabbit Run (RRR) has built up a steady reputation, earning regular patrons who like to unwind and drink good cocktails or hang out with friends at a place where everybody knows your name.

RRR plays with your expectations. From the outside, it looks like a newly renovated house with vibrant red doors, which is not out of place in the predominantly residential Poblacion. The magic lies within. They kept and restored the facade of the house and gutted the inside, and built the bar from the ground up. It’s like stepping into another place entirely. Like when the lead character in a fairy tale finds themselves in another world. Everything turns from black and white to wild technicolor (Yes, it’s a different girl-in-a-magical-world story reference. But you get it.).

Run Rabbit Run’s entrance looks like someone’s private home

One of the aspects of RRR that differs from other establishments in the area is their different pockets of space. There’s a cozy sitting area by the door, the bar is concealed behind curtains at the back, walk up the stairs to an area with plush seats and an alfresco space decked out in lawn furniture, string lights, and a vertical garden.

Outdoor area on the 2nd floor
The outdoor area gets crowded on weeknights and weekends
View from the 2nd floor

“It was supposed to be a design studio,” shares graphic designer Airell Lam, one of the two Filipino partners of RRR. When his friend, construction consultant Michael Hearn heard the location was in Poblacion, he convinced Airell to turn it into a bar instead. The two friends were discussing this idea over drinks late one night, and decided to drunk dial Michael’s high school friend from The British School Manila, Beverly Yeoh in Singapore, who, incidentally, was also inebriated at that time and is one of the owners of Bitters & Love, a cocktail bar in the Lion City. They were all game to open this new cocktail concept in Manila, and things snowballed from there. Bev flew into town the week after that phone call, then brought in one of her partners from Bitters & Love, Ernest Goh, into the core team, and 10 months later, Run Rabbit Run was up and running.

RRR owners Airell Lam and Beverly Yeoh

Run Rabbit Run features an exciting signature craft cocktail selection influenced by themes from Alice in Wonderland. Airell stresses their need to take a break from their regular life. “We really wanted to create a place where people can escape the world,” he recounts. “We (Michael and him) both work on our corporate jobs, and we both wanted a place to get away.  We decided to create a homey place, and the idea of Alice in Wonderland came up. The story, the deeper meaning, is that she is bored with her reality and follows the white rabbit to the rabbit hole which takes her to Wonderland where she has great adventures.”

The first floor area leading to the bar behind the black curtain
The bar behind the black curtain

One distinct difference in their approach is that the staff is on a first name basis with their customers, which is not common practice (yet) in Manila. “No sir or ma’am here,” says Airell. “We want to provide the full customer experience, where people know they will be looked after, and we want to cut the barrier between bartender and client.” In line with this, the owners want to cultivate a more personal approach to serving their clientele. “At least one owner is in the bar to engage with customers,” says Airell. “We try to interact more with the customers,” he adds.

Seating areas by the entrance of RRR

Having owners with a strong design aesthetic has its perks. Airell designed the branding for the cool and clean logo, a minimalist RRR with the middle R inverted to look like a rabbit. Bev designed the coasters with an ambigram illustration of a grumpy man (before you drink) and smiling fellow (after you drink) that is a conversation starter. They used reclaimed wood from the old structure, scoured in Dapitan and Evangelista for antiques, installed exposed bulbs (hand carried from Hong Kong) at the bar, and had a comfortable seating made (the bar stools are some of the most comfortable we’ve sat on), creating a warm, cozy atmosphere. Little touches like fresh flowers, decorative little knick knacks here and there, and a diffuser (this bar smells really good), add a little extra something to feel of the bar.

Coasters with an ambigram illustration of a grumpy man (before you drink) and smiling fellow (after you drink)

Being the sibling of an established Singaporean bar, RRR is serious about its drinks. They try to be creative in their drink presentations, using various glasses and garnishes to elevate their cocktails. The Singapore team flies to Manila to support operations, and they send the Philippine team to Singapore for cross-training. “We are quite big on educating our bartenders, to learn new things, to develop new cocktails, experiment with flavors,” Bev shares.

Here’s some of the cocktails you can try. You’ll have to go and visit to find out the rest.

Chillin’ Like a Villain (gin, peach liqueur, lemon, simple syrup, egg white, sampaguita mist and garnished with fresh flower) is a light creamy cocktail with a floral nose and a hint of tartness. It’s served in a collins glass, but you don’t need a straw. Sip and pull the drink through the foam and then lick your lips. Since the drink has our national flower Sampaguita, they’re gunning to make Chillin’ Like A Villain a national drink in the Philippines, the way the Singapore Sling is in Singapore.

Chillin’ Like a Villain

Jessica Rabbit (bourbon, lime and lemon oleo saccharum, Rosso infused with cloves and star anise) is the drink that represents what Run Rabbit Run is as a bar–mysterious, strong, and sexy. This clear spirit-forward cocktail has deep flavors rolling in your mouth and sweet, spicy finish of cloves and star anise. Served in a tall glass reclining in a metal gravy boat with dry ice activated by sweet vermouth to add an extra sensory oomph. The bold presentation is definitely an Instagrammable moment.

Jessica Rabbit
Jessica Rabbit

Kaya Toast (spiced rum, kaya jam, peach liqueur, citrus, egg white, honey) is a cocktail carried over from the Bitters & Love menu. It’s a comforting dessert cocktail with a little bit of dessert of kaya jam on toast. Spread the jam with the straw and make your sandwich, take a bit and a sip of the cocktail and indulge.

Kaya Toast. We’re happy to note that they use bamboo straws instead of plastic.

Mr. Truffle (cachaça, truffle essence, homemade pandan syrup, pineapple, citrus), garnished with charred pineapple and pandan, is for truffle-lovers and for those who want to try something different. With its distinct musky aroma and earthy taste that coats the tongue, truffle takes center stage. It reminds us of peaty drinks, where the strong smoky peat takes over your senses, so we suggest to either end cap your night with this drink or just stick to it for the night.

Mr. Truffle

Off With Their Heads (blended whiskey, Dom Benedictine, red wine, blueberry juice, citrus) was created by bartender Jesus Martin from Barcelona for his bar shift at RRR. It’s served in a glass bulb with a round stopper, which you yank off (like taking off a head), and pour the contents into a tall glass with ice. The nutty and fruity cocktail was the bestseller that night, and the bar decided to make it part of their menu.

Off With Their Heads

Apart from classic and signature cocktails, RRR also offers infused cocktail shots that you can drink neat, straight up, or on the rocks. At the standard shot pour (30 ml), these gulp-sized served in cute little glass jars pack quite the flavor. Whether you sip and savor or knock them back is up to you.

Infused cocktail shots AT PHP250 each/30 ml: Banana Rumble Rum–gold rum, vanilla liqueur, banana liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup; RRR–gin, yuzu, simple syrup; Don Conejo – tequila, elderflower liqueur, cucumber; Green Hornet–gin, basil, lemon, simple syrup

Their cocktails are lush yet balanced, and distinct from one another. This would be one of those bars we would keep coming back to so we could try everything on the menu, even if we have our favorites. 

Papa Buko– rum infused pandan, cachaca, coconut, Malibu, jackfruit jus, citrus

Gin lovers will be pleased to know that they offer a variety of Gin and Tonic mixes that you can choose from. They are the only bar in the Philippines where you can sample Geranium Gin and Geranium Gin 55°, a London Dry Gin made by accredited International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) Gin judge Henrik Hammer and his chemist father. The gin made its debut in Denmark in 2009 and has a mix of juniper and floral notes on both nose and palate.

Geranium Gin and Geranium Gin 55°

Geranium Gin 55° is the special edition 55% ABV bottling of the original and has punchy notes of juniper and geranium with a floral geranium finish. Head over to RRR to add this to the ever-growing list of gins to try.

“The Singapore market is very competitive. It’s a cocktail capital, and the market is very seasoned. In Manila, the market is relatively new, but there’s a lot of new bars coming out, trying to get recognized for their craft, and a lot of good craft spirits are being imported here,” Bev shares. RRR wants to create a more craft bottle selection behind their bar and to bring in different types of spirits that are not available in the Philippines yet.

Their price point is on the steeper side of Poblacion hangouts. At Php400 per cocktail, it weeds out younger crowd (unless they come with daddy’s credit card) and discourages the chugging method of downing drinks, thus providing a more intimate space where people can gather and drink leisurely.

They don’t have a food menu at the moment, but they do allow guests to bring food from outside and they serve chips and popcorn (or you can always get the Kaya Toast which comes with a tasty snack). There is talk of having a coffee bar in the future that is open during the day. “There will be two identities running the same space–day and night,” shares Bev. “There is still room for artisanal third wave coffee in Poblacion.”

The not-so-secret read door leading to RRR’s office on the third floor

Parking is an issue, as with most places in Poblacion, but you can park at nearby A Venue or Century Mall. Or better yet, plan your night around a bar crawl and put RRR on the list. And since it is in the nightlife hotspot Poblacion, it gets packed to the rafters on weekends. Reservations are encouraged, especially for groups. They don’t have a service charge, so be sure to add a generous tip to your bill.

Like its different pockets of space, RRR is a lot of different things: chill hangout, craft cocktail bar, intimate date place, neighborhood watering hole. It’s good to go alone on a weeknight or early on the weekend to have a drink or two, watch bartenders work, and maybe even chat them up a bit to learn more about the drinks and how they’re made. Or go on a date with someone you want to impress (the people behind the bar will have your back, and the lighting is date-friendly as well).

Run Rabbit Run seeks to actively elevate the cocktails in the area, using local flavors with a touch of Singaporean flair while offering a reprieve from the humdrum of dreary everyday life in a cozy spot. It’s a welcome addition to the booming nightlife of Poblacion. We’re excited to see what else this Singapore-Philippine collaboration has in store for the Manila drinking scene.

For more information about Run Rabbit Run by following them on Facebook and Instagram: @runrabbitrun.ph. 

Chrysmas is your go-to gal for all things involving alcohol. She maneuvers her way through the Metro's traffic in her black boots and fishnet stockings, scouring places where one can indulge one's self in libations of all kinds. From Poblacion to Pasay, Malate to Makati, Tagaytay to Taguig. Ask her where to go to get your choice of poison and chances are she's already there holding a good stiff drink in one hand and a pen in the other.

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