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Nightlife in Cebu is lively and really starts rocking after 8pm. The seedier go-go dance places are concentrated on Mango Avenue (now General Maxilom) with establishments like Viking, Papillon and Blackhole. Arena. The latter is a larger place filled with more scantily-clad dancers who will come up and ask the S.O.P., "helloooo sirrrrrr, wear rrrrrrrrr yoooooooo froooooom, sirrrrr?" Not too far from Mango Avenue is Jaguar KTV and go-go dance place. This is located in a plush theatre.
If your looking to avoid the sleazy people & prostitues of Mango/Bikniki Bars then you should check out The Taproom located at 1 Maria Luisa Rd. in Banilad, Cebu. It's off the radar of the downtown Mango crowd & you'll find many ex-pats & foriegners partying in a classy environment. The prices are resonable (cheaper then most a-class nightclubs in cebu) & the party generally starts around 10-11PM. Thursday nights you'll find the place packed early for their Trivia Nights. Music can vary, but is generally house/electro. There are also monthly events where they bring in a big name dj. Dress code is casual & not enforced as it's assumed by the crowd, but since most dress to impress. There is a large parking lot, so no worry about parking your car. Enterance is free before 11PM, but after that you may encounter a cover charge of 100P to 300P depending on the event/night. They also have great food as it is an Italian Restuarant as well, but is only served until 11PM with Pizza's being served until 1AM.
Right in the heart of Uptown district Cebu City is El Gecko Restobar. A popular haunt of expats and locals with great international food, the cheapest beer in town, 30 peso and fantastic people. Multi screen TVs playing music DVDs and very welcoming staff!!
Cebuanos are very proud of their local cuisine and so they should be. Whether it is tender calamari frittos that simply melt in your mouth, a tasty lechon manok (charcoal grilled chicken), or a grilled tuna belly garnished with calamansi juice, you will be spoiled for choice with the array and assortment of culinary delights on offer.
One should definitely experience some of the sugba or sinugba (barbecue) restaurants or stalls.
Grills, Grills and More Grills
One that comes to mind is Tsibogs (prounouced - Chee boogs). Its famous, mouth-watering BBQ (to be washed down with lots of ice cold San Miguels...) will certainly keep you coming back. Another of the more famous is Larsians on Fuente Osmena – probably not the most hygienic place on earth but the food is good. Neo Neo on Mactan Island (just past the old bridge) is a clean, spacious and fun place to hang-out and enjoy high-quality grilled food. For those who love lechon baboy, (roast pig) most good grills serve it and the above establishments all
If you prefer fancier, more upscale dining, there are a number of modern international restaurants.
For the finest local seafood offerings and a location to die for, head straight for the Shangri-La on Mactan. Ponder: A chilled buttery chardonnay, coupled with fresh lobster - devine. Throw in a couple of million stars delightfully twinkling above you, the soft beats of some ultra chic lounge music, the gentle sound of the sea lapping at the rocks below and your partner's glowing smile; divine intervention...
An interesting establishment that has opened in Mactan Island is Vine City Wine Bar and Restaurant (032 342 8927). Situated on the main highway, 50 metres past Marina Mall heading towards the new bridge. Delightful staff serve simple but high quality (pastas, steaks, salads etc.) fare and a reasonable selection of wines. Tastefully decorated, this is just what the doctor prescribes; if you wish to chill out after a hectic day.
Now if you want some real upscale food, in a trendy outlet, head off to Olio. They have some super dishes. Try the scallop with caviar, or the aubergine with mozzerella and anchovies... mmm! Olio Bar and Restaurant, conveniently located at Crossroads, Banilad.
Ginza is another place where you will dine in style with food to match. This establishment is 26 years old and still counting. Stood the test of time with much aplomb and with the recently decorated interiors slides effortlessly into yet another gear. The food is contemporary Japanese. Signature dish is the Pork teppanyaki. Slithers of tender pork, served with a hybrid mayo wasabe sauce. Ginza: Old Banilad Road, Banilad, Cebu City (231 4612)
Just down the road from Olio, near the entrance to Maria Luisa Estate; just off Banilad Road is Guiseppe. This fantastic restaurant serves; imo humble opinion the very best pizzas in Cebu. In addition to the pizzas, you will find sumptuous pasta offerings with the freshest of fresh ingredients; home style Italian at its best. A laid back atmosphere radiates from this establishment. Run by ex: Shangri-La regional chef, Guiseppe's restaurant is a must do whilst in Cebu. Guiseppe's, Maria Luisa Park Road Cebu City. (343 9901)
If you have no time to dine in, and want something quick: there is always Davinci's Pizza in Mactan, famous for the white sauce pizza - err at least that's what they claim. (420 8888)
Hamburgers To Die For...
If a simple burger’s what’s your hungering for, fret not. Cebuanos more than proud of their tantalizing grills have come up with burgers that make the more common brands pale in comparison. Noteworthy are Flame it and Burger Joint. Don't go there thinking your in for a light snack. The Flame It 1/2 pounder - is just that. Half 1/2 a pound of magic primetime beef. Yep, primetime! The real deal; no Holyfield...Juicy and marinated for who knows how long and with who knows what, it is nothing but sensational for any burger lover. Burger Joint is a similar concept. Eat in both and you will shun going back to those "other" more famous international brands.
Another favorite of Mactan residents is the French cafe at Marina Mall, Cafe de France. Freshly baked pastries, some excellent clones of croque monsieur's, pig in a blanket, and an assortment of freshly baked pastry delights. As it is a cafe, one can wash down these delights with copious amounts of strong coffee. Definitely, a winning combination!
Cultural Dance with Audience Participation
A one year old facility (as at May 2010), The Jungle Entertainment and Resto Bar on Mactan Island not far from resorts such as the two Tambulis and Maribago Bluewater provides a cultural dance show with a difference.
At this venue, the performers are not just skilled but seem to believe in what they are doing.
They love to ask diners and showgoers to join in, but it is the professionalism of the whole production supervised by the American-Filipina owners that makes it stand out. TA reviews give more details but the evening shows commence at 1830 (6.30pm) with later options if that is too early. The Jungle will even pick you up from your accommodation.
The Live Wire
If you prefer a more sophisticated ambience with world-class music, look no further than Jazz n Bluz. This slick restaurant bar - which could double as a Blue Note anywhere in the world - usually has two bands performing and doesn't close until the last customer leaves. Despite the name, you will find Jazz, a little Blues and a lot of easy-listening music.
Sinners and Saints Resto Bar on Banilad Road is also a fun place to hang-out. With their barmen and bargirls dressed up as devils and angels respectively and a host of good local live music is on display. Ratskys in Ayala, Papa Roast and Seafood Resto Bar and Kaona Grill also have their fair share of good live music to complement the food.
If you prefer to hear DJ's, the Crossroads complex on Banilad Road which houses small intimate clubs such as Vudu (house & techno music) and Cafe Teatro which also has a DJ on most nights playing faves from the 70's, 80's and some Latin beats. Teatro is run by an attractive Cebuana appropriately named Queenie, who is a wonderful host. Further down the (Banilad) road you will find Cielo, which after dinner, transforms into a cool club with a DJ who plays mainly house and some lighter techno music. While Cielo is a fun place to hang-out, be seen and dance, it should not be overlooked as a dining experience. Some dishes on offer include: penne rustica and chicken parmigiana. Be warned, the portions are not small.
Both Nasa and Sunflower Discos are large clubs/ discos, with big thumping sounds systems and lots of lights. The latter attracts its fair share of the tourist trade.
Noteworthy on the sports bar side is Badgers. An appealing sports bar with lots of plasma TV's, live coverage of most worldwide sporting events, deco that could be from any North American bar and the has some decent pub food on offer. It is also one of the few, if not the only bar that sells Guiness stout and one of the few that sells real Aussie meat pies.
The Taproom is an English themed pub located at 1 Maria Luisa Rd. in Banilad, Cebu. Equipped with 5 TV's & a common place where Europeans meet up to watch their favorite soccer teams. They usually have soccer, basketball, & mma on the screen. Beer on tap with a variety of local & imported choices.
Magellan's Landing at Marina Mall (three of their ever smiling staff pictured above) is also a great place to hang-out, enjoy a coldie and kick back. They serve some excellent pub-grub there and the clientele is an eclectic mix of foreigners and locals. Be sure to try the steak and mushroom pie, or cajun chicken dishes.
With burgeoning Korean tourist influx, Cebu is now witnessing the growth of KTV places (Karaoke TV) popping up all over the place. Small wonder then that karaoke parlors everywhere have prominent signs posted for (GROs) or guest relations officers. These very nimble ladies can have quite an impact on your wallet if you’re not eagle-eyed. Two of the larger and more upmarket KTV's are located in Mactan. The White Castle on Airport Road and another in the Waterfront Airport Hotel.
If you’re passionate about music and looking for a comprehensive list of bands in Cebu go to the band directory.
Lami-ah! and Party on!