"First opened in Paris, France in 1996, Buddha Bar is as a world class bar, lounge and restaurant chain located in major cities such as Paris, Washington, Dubai, Monte Carlo, Keiv and now in Manila. Located at Picar Place Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City, Buddha Bar Manila is a 3-storey establishment that can accommodate over 500 guests to its lounge, restaurant and roof deck. In the Buddha-bar wonderland, your taste buds travel to distant lands and inventiveness nests in your plate."
It was my first time at Buddha-Bar Manila and I was not quite sure what to expect when I got there. Sure I have read about Buddha-Bar time and again in celebrity news as it seems to be one of the favorite hangouts of Hollywood royalty like Madonna, J-Lo, and Cameron Diaz but still, I was awe-struck as I entered its massive ornate doors. A golden Buddha that I would otherwise find to be a completely serene vision had it not be intimidatingly gigantic in girth, sits above the first floor lounge. It looks after a meticulously designed interior that is both impressive and welcoming at the same time.
Buddha-Bar Manila has three floor levels. The first floor houses the lounge, one end of which is an imposing well-stocked bar. At the other end is an Asian-inspired staircase that reminds me of fight scenes in restaurants from period Chinese movies. It leads the guest to the restaurant proper which is located on the second floor of the building.
The second floor is home to more Asian and Buddhism inspired artifacts and other artwork. Against this backdrop are beautifully arranged table-settings and at one side, a sushi bar where diners can watch Buddha-Bar's skillful sushi chefs strut their stuff. There is also an outdoor area, for guests who prefer to lounge al fresco.
The third level is an open-air roof deck that offers a breath-taking view of the Makati skyline called the Terrace. You could get there by stairs, but everybody there will recommend you take the elevator (For good reason, I should say). It also has a bar, but unlike the one downstairs, this one has a more Caribbean vibe to it.
The restroom located at the basement is also a sight to behold. Decked in intriguing images and prints and adorned with elegant fixtures, it is a fashionably designed restroom, easily at the top of my list of best restrooms in the country. If I ever thought about making one up...
Buddha-Bar also has a boutique that sells exclusive products like Buddha Bar CDs, spa products, T-shirts and other novelty items. The stuffed Buddha Bar panda bear is really adorable.
By the numbers, Buddha-Bar Manila, touted to be the biggest in the world thus far, has a total of 528 seats, 2 bars, 1 restaurant, 1 lounge, 1 terrace, and 3 VIP rooms.
Buddha-Bar Manila is at Picar Place, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City. For inquiries and reservations, contact (02)856-6719 or (02)856-6859.
Monday - Thursday: 12noon - 2AM
Friday - until 3AM
Saturday - 5PM-3AM