Quezon City folks would know that Cubao Expo is every local hipster’s haven. Formerly known as Marikina Shoe Expo, this compound has grown into a melting pot of dining options and quirky shops worth checking out. From hole-in-the-wall restos and hidden bars to artisanal cafes and vintage boutiques — Cubao Expo makes for the perfect hangout spot for foodies, art-lovers, and creative minds alike. If you’re looking for a place to chill right at the heart of Kyusi, then this is one you definitely can’t miss. Read on to find out some of the must-visit spots at Cubao Expo!
Cubao Expo restaurants, bars, and cafes
Int. Bar/ Ext. Cafe
An underrated speakeasy in the metro, Int. Bar/ Ext. Cafe treats you to a mellow evening with its signature cocktails and jazz tunes. Look for the photobooth at Cubao Expo and you’ll step into a late-night enclave decked out in vintage decor, reminiscent of a Wong Kar-wai film. Here, you might also chance upon live DJ sets or film screenings on other nights!
Much like its branch in Escolta, Old Manila, Fred’s Revolucion serves up classic bar chows like fish and chips, chilli con carne, and chicken wings, just to name a few. But, this hole-in-the-wall dive bar is best loved for its local craft beer, perfect for chill-numan sessions with friends. At Fred’s, you’ll spot vintage posters and eye-grabbing trinkets that make up its distinct aesthetic. More importantly, Fred’s has always made an effort to make its place a safe space in the metro for everyone and anyone.
Habanero Kitchen Bar
For your Filipino cuisine cravings, head to al fresco resto Habanero Kitchen Bar. It is one of the most frequented foodie spots in Cubao Expo for its crispy pork belly lechon. I kid you not when I say this dish is packed with oozing flavours that simply melt in your mouth. Other must-trys include their oyster sisig and three-cheese pizza. For those who want a little buzz, their habanero-infused mojitos are worth it, too.
The Brewman Coffee
If you’re looking for a place in Cubao Expo to catch up with a friend or simply get some work done, The Brewman Coffee awaits you. It offers a “safe space for communities that value authentic conversations over a great cup of coffee.” Try their handcrafted espresso-based drinks or bring home a bottle of their speciality cold brew. What’s more, visitors are allowed to bring their fur buddies, so they aren’t left alone while you’re having a good time!
Silingan Coffee (Visayan for neighbour or kapitbahay) chose its name to breathe new life into the Filipino tradition of “pakikipagkapwa-tao.” At Silingan, they don’t just serve up fresh local brews, but they also make an effort to strike up important conversations about pressing political issues and personal stories that need to be heard. Ultimately, this initiative of theirs reimagines the spaces wherein we drink our coffee and provides a safe zone for those who want to speak their truth.
For more information, visit Silingan Coffee’s official Facebook page.
For those looking to get a lot of bang for their buck, Tacio’s Bistro brings affordable yet quality meals to the table. While their menu comprises international dishes like gambas, gyoza, quesadillas, and longganisa, they’re famous for their soft and tender tapas. And of course, what’s a pub without ice-cold liquor? Choose among their extensive selection of local beers, cocktails, and shooters while singing your heart out to live performances!
For more information, visit Tacio’s official Facebook page.
Cubao Expo shops and boutiques for local finds
KatHa Lifestyle Store
KatHa Lifestyle Store is an artisanal cafe, workshop hub, and eco-friendly shop rolled into one two-storey space. Sit down with a book and try their carefully crafted espresso-based drinks on the first floor, or shop for their locally-made products on the second floor. With sustainable living making its way among Filipinos, they hope to make package-free and zero-waste goods even more accessible!
Good Vibrations Records
Nestled atop candle shop The Doctor Chandler, Good Vibrations Records welcomes audiophiles to a unique music listening experience. This cosy nook is almost like a friend’s room, where you can just sit back, relax and chat while good music play.
Its collection of vinyl and CDs comprises a broad spectrum of genres — from rock and disco to indie and modern music. Plus, they also have a limited number of turntables on hand. Ultimately, Good Vibrations is a great place to start for those curious about vinyl collecting!
For more information, visit Good Vibrations Records’s official Instagram page.
The Twelfth House
On the lookout for a new fit? Or perhaps you’d simply like to swap your daily go-to’s for something different? The Twelfth House is a local retail store that sells graphic tees, sweatshirts, and accessories designed with the influence of travel and music. While they may be housing various indie clothing brands, the silhouettes among their racks often feature minimalist yet timely designs.
Bumi and Ashe
Cubao Expo may be the perfect late-night hangout spot for you and your barkada, but it can also be a great place for a cute date! Try learning something new with your significant other, like ceramics making. Bumi and Ashe offers pottery classes and firing services so that you can create your own unique pieces. Alternatively, you can check out its collection of ceramics (made by local artists) which make great gifts or additions to your humble abode.
For more information, visit Bumi and Ashe’s official Instagram page.
I don’t know about you, but Cubao Expo might just be the official hipster capital of Quezon City! However you wish to spend your time here, one thing is for sure: You’ll keep coming back for more. Are any of your favourite spots on this list? Share your thoughts with us on our official Facebook page!
Featured image credit: Google Maps