I went back and have a much better view of the Amazona ownership than before. The wife recognized me right away and insisted on buying me a drink and repeatedly apologized for her husband's offense the previous night. Her husband showed up later but, as before, did not engage any guests and kinda did his own thing. Maybe he's an extreme introvert or perhaps he has some other issue going on that prevents him from being sociable. Whatever the case, his wife more than makes up for it and was genuinely fun to be around. She likes to dance, watch the band, drink tequila, say "hi" to a fair share of those in her immediate area. She almost got my girl to go dance with her....
I will keep going back to Amazona. Oh, one last update, I noticed when the power went out on July 29th, 2012 that Amazona did not have a generator. Since they have cheaper priced hotel above the bar it might be worth considering if you are in Manila during the rainy season. I know I need AC to get a good night's sleep.
This place is so overrated!!! I've visited it many times and its downhill slide has been painful to experience. Owned by an Australian named Lekker and his Filipina wife, years ago Amazonia Bar was a safe place, but now clouds of annoying, whining teen GROs begging for ladies' drinks, freelancing scammers/blackmail artists, thieves, pickpockets, and periodic "raids" (you have to know the upstairs hotel is in league with the local police in this) designed to extort cash from unsuspecting "guests" make this a tiring--if not outright dangerous--place to be. Go to the LA Cafe and stay at the Cherry Blossom Hotel instead!
Ermita is still just a shadow of what it once was prior to Mayor Lim's cleanup in 1993. Still, one bar that should be on everyone's "to do" list is L.A. Café in Ermita.
For those who know the street names, it's located at the NW corner of M.H. Del Pilar and Romero Salas. It's a short walk from most hotels located in Ermita or Malate.
The bar opened in August 1999 and was a hit from the beginning. It never closes and you can get "lucky" even at 09:00 (that's 09:00 am). Drinks are cheap, especially from 08:00 to 20:00. You can buy draught beer by the pitcher or by the mini-keg.
L.A. Café's is a "freelancers' bar" and that is also its main attraction. For the uninitiated, a freelancer is a lady who is officially a customer, but who will also accompany you... outside the bar. (Compensation is expected and can be negotiated beforehand)
While it isn't the only venue to offer this type of entertainment, the sheer number of freelancers is phenomenal. For all tastes... If you can't get it at L.A. Café, you just can't get it!
It offers more. Go upstairs after 21:00 and listen to live bands. They ave recently added special evenings with different attractions. Have a look at www.ermita.com and see for yourself.
If you're drinking beer or local spirits, you will unlikely spend more than 1,000 P. (USD 20) They serve food as well, although I have found most dishes to be iffy after 20:00.
A must see if you're in Ermita. On several evenings, the ground floor bar is SRO, so get there early.
While The AmaZonia bar should be on everyone's shortlist while touring Ermita, they have decided to price themselves above the competition.
Not sure why and not just by a few pesos either. Expect to pay at least 25% more than other similar venues for regular drinks. Is it worth the extra? There's only one way to find out...
It is still affordable by Western standards, quite affordable in fact. Still anyone on a very tight budget should know.
The place is still clean, the bar staff very competent and the washroom roomy enough.
Not a bad place to be looking for love and you can still find a seat on most evenings. The hotel upstairs offers interesting possibilities. If you are the type who likes to keep things mum, it's ideal.
Give it a try, just be aware that their prices are higher.
Bar Amazonia, 1396-1402 M.H. Del Pilar cor. Sta. Monica St., Ermita Manila
I have recently returned from five months in the Philippines and wish to recommend Bar Amazonia as a safe, friendly, entertaining and comfortable 24hr bar/hotel in the heart of Manilas tourist area.
Room prices start at 850 Pesos a room. This converts to approximately 9 english pounds which is good value in Manila.
Amenities are a ceiling fan, double bed, wardbrobe, satellite tv, phone and small ensuite bathroom and shower which were clean and tidy.
The 24 hour bar has a happy hour until 7pm each night with bottled beer as low as 50p for Miller Draught and you sign for each drink as you order it, only paying when you leave.
Security guards screen the girls who are allowed in and mostly you will find western men or ex.pats who are well behaved and mellow.
Some men and women come to socialize, and some to meet the beautiful filipino women. They have live bands throughout the week and a DJ plays for the remainder of the time on 24 hour rotas. All the bar waitresses are polite, happy, friendly and pleasant ladies and my stay in Amazonia allowed me to relax and enjoy my time in Manila.