There was a time back in the 90s, 1995 to be exact, when the phrase “12 Monkeys” evoked the image of a grim neo-noir science fiction thriller starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, about a time traveller from 2035 trying (in vain) to prevent a global virus outbreak that nearly wiped out humanity in 1996. It was taken from the name of the supposed terrorist group responsible for the worldwide plague, the Army of the 12 Monkeys, who turn out to be an extreme animal rights group and a red herring to the true culprits who have already succeeded in dooming a majority of mankind (but hints that the survivors in the future won’t be wiped out by the virus thanks to his efforts to acquire a sample to study). Now, the film has been adapted recently into a TV series on SyFy, but by that time the title has come to mean something more upbeat, colorful, delicious and totally musical over in Makati, thanks to the incredible popularity of the 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub.
Prominently located at the fifth floor of the Century City Mall at the Makati city center, the 12 Monkeys is firmly established as one of the hottest nightlife destinations in Metro Manila. Inside is some of the best work I’ve seen in the field of interior decorating, with subdued lighting in shades of mostly blue through violet. Supreme appointment was given to a small proscenium stage (with curtains) on the far end for performers, with a bandstand just off to its side on a raised platform in one corner. Seating for performances is quite comfy with a series of tables flanked by either wooden chairs or soft couches, the latter ones located closer to the band. This is no super rowdy concert pit but a truly classy venue for watching live musical performances from the finest performers of Original Philippine Music (OPM) around.
And I’m not kidding, a whole number of very popular and recognizable solo artists, groups and bands get to book gigs at the 12 Monkeys quite regularly, to the point that they update with month-long listings of who’s who that is going to be rocking the house, almost every day. Why, just looking at their latest gig announcement is sure to get any died-in-the-wool fan of OPM really excited. Luminaries such as MYMP, Side A, Freestyle, Moonstar88, Imago, and Joey G have been around to perform, as well as Brownman Revival, Mayonnaise, Aegis and Hale to rattle off other artist who were there in past months. This also serves to illustrate perhaps one of the best features of the 12 Monkeys in terms of musical performances: they are open to a wide variety of musical genres to please fans of every conceivable stripe. As an extra cherry on top, they’re plenty generous enough to have more often than not no door charge on patrons to watch more performers at their venue. They certainly have the fans at heart with this.
We’ve covered the 12 Monkeys as a Music Hall, which they are very good at. Now let’s talk about their other facet: the pub. Even while entertaining their customers with the best gigs around, the 12 Monkeys also pride themselves with being both an eating place and a bar. Being a place to listen to musical performances, their primary fare is of the pica-pica sort, so you can munch away while the featured band rocks your evening. Some online reviews have high praise for the “Nacho Ordinary Nacho” (cool name), which is accompanied on their menu by a selection of fries, fish and chips and 12 Monkey Salpicao and cheeseburgers. They also have more filling items on the list ranging from Orange Chicken, Adobo and their special 12 Monkeys Tapsilog. Just because it’s a music hall doesn’t mean they don’t serve great munchies.
But for the more grown up fare, leave it to the 12 Monkeys to provide you with a wonderfully stocked drinks bar. Their menu on this side is darned impressive, with choices of cocktail (Bacardi or signature), shooters, beer (draft, local or imported), wines (red, white or sparkling), champagne, vodka, rum, gin, brandy, cognac, scotch, bourbon, malt and tequila. Whew! Almost every single type has more than one sort on the list for a mind-blowing selection. And as a bonus, they also have the requisite non-alcohol choices of soda, juices and even energy drinks to enjoy the entertainment all night! No doubt about it, the 12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub has got everything covered so that you can tuck in or drink up while enjoying the very best in live OPM. And now I can barely remember much about its cinematic namesake. It’s neat, huh?
For more information, in particular with their monthly updated “Gig Guide” and announcements of special events and occasions, you can check out the 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub official page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/12MonkeysPH. You may also call them for further inquiries on mobile at 0917 570 3222. If you are in Ortigas, they also have a new branch. Opens from Mondays to Saturdays 1pm to 1am.