Finders Keepers: The Non Smoking Bar and The Alcohol Einstein
When In Manila and enjoying the nightlife, be prepped for the likelihood to develop some form of respiratory assault, infection or battery from the backward mentality that smoking in public places should be tolerated – unless you happen to stumble into this incognito, eclectic and brilliant bar with a bar-chemist who is the Einstein of fermented mixes; and, yes, an implemented NO SMOKING code. This place is called Finders Keepers MNL; it’s a bit hard to find, though. Try Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Plaza, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue 1231 Makati.
So, you drive in, park (and you CAN find parking), and you look out for a black/rusted steel crate entrance towards the end of the strip. You’ll notice the threshold populated by the smokers who have to satisfy their craving before stepping into the smoke-free zone.
You walk in and you take in the cozy area, with huge Addam’s Family-type candles burning in the nooks set out for the guests and you’ll notice my favorite spot is typically the swing they have inside. Think Prohibition Era, with a “nah, this is more of a modern place” impression that follows right after.
Almost instantly, you will be amazed to realize how clean the air feels to your lungs in here compared to other Makati and BGC clubs, restaurants, or so-called nonsmoking bars. That is made possible by Ta-Tanka, the bouncer who will be on you if you dare to light up. I love him, I love him I love him … Did I mention “I love him?” He can smell, see and call you out on smoking before you even light up. He is the reason this bar completes it circle, and my main reason for partying here two nights in a row.
This place reminds me of another bar I have been to, The Violet Hour in Chicago, with indie music resonating through that crate container that just gives you a very chill vibe. In fact if you’ve been to other, for the lack of a better term, “Prohibition”-inspired bars around the world, Finders Keepers MNL is unlike the rest of them as it is right outside the boundaries of a pretentious bar. Their bartenders start singing and dancing their hearts out while making your drink and they’ll let you plug in your iPod if we all feel we want to dance to your music.
The magic of this place is in the elixir, which so happens to be a 50- step process to void counterfeiting eyes. Don, the mixologist he calls himself, has “geniused” many of the secret delicious drink recipes in this little lab of his. The answer to that secret is in the diligence of rationing the ingredients and measuring them absolutely the way it should be. And lathering, splashing, pouring it absolutely the way it should be.
Sound simple enough? It’s not! It takes precision, talent, and Don. And you’ll hear him mutter to himself, “Too much ice! Too much ice!” as he obsessively re-jerks his formula till every drop of it is taste perfect for you. Quirky, good-looking guy, and what really hits my sublimation point of the whole experience is that you can actually walk up to the Einstein and have a decent conversation.
So, if this all sounds appealing to you, smoker or non-smoker, social drinker or conversationalist… or just want a downright out-of-the-ordinary-for-Manila experience, look for Finders Keepers MNL, watch Don imbue his formulas, and end the night smelling and breathing fine for a change when In Manila.
Finders Keepers MNL
Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Plaza, 2241 Don Chino Roces Aveune 1231 Makati (Chino Roces cor. Sabio)
Open 7PM – 5AM
0908813-5622 / 403-3955