This hid­den bar wants to bring the Pobla­cion drink­ing scene to To­mas Mo­rato


A speakeasy hid­ing in To­mas Mo­rato

You’ll find the ad­dress “114 Scout Lozano Street” af­ter a quick on­line search of “Prima Fa­cie.” Your (Grab) ride will most likely drop you off in front of a gated res­i­den­tial build­ing with the num­ber “114,” upon which you may end up tak­ing your phone out in con­fu­sion, won­der­ing whether you have the right ad­dress. You re­al­ize that this hid­den bar is more covert than you had ini­tially ex­pected. To your right, you see a restau­rant called Vitto’s. You peek in­side through the glass win­dows and find bot­tles of wine stacked be­hind a tall counter. Is this the right place, per­haps? Sort of.

This bar within a bar is named af­ter the Latin ex­pres­sion for ‘first im­pres­sion.’ Your

prima fa­cie of the place—once you find it— may be rem­i­nis­cent of a speakeasy from the Amer­i­can Pro­hi­bi­tion; a cozy space with dim, warm light­ing and Art Deco el­e­ments. The mixol­o­gist be­hind this bar’s se­lec­tion of cock­tails is Royce Pua, 2017’s World Class Bar­tender of the Year, whom you may also rec­og­nize from 12/10, the iza­kaya- style restau­rant in Makati.

When asked what in­spired his sig­na­ture cock­tails, Pua ex­plains with can­dor that there was no painstak­ing, cre­ative method in­volved—he sim­ply be­gan with a clas­sic cock­tail and de­vi­ated from its recipe, mod­i­fy­ing the el­e­ments here and there.

Stacy’s Mom is a chamomile-in­fused gin with laven­der bit­ters, blanc ver­mouth, and a sweet egg white foam, topped with a light sprin­kling of sugar which is then torched for a caramelized, meringue-like crust.

And what bar would be com­plete with­out some­what sloppy fin­ger food op­tions like the seafood tostada, a com­bi­na­tion of prawns, scal­lops, pick­led veg­eta­bles, and Parmi­gianoReg­giano on a crunchy fried tor­tilla?

Left: A caramelized egg white foam on the cock­tail Stacy’s Mom Right: Seafood tostada

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