If you were like me who want to taste the famed night life of Boracay minus the loud music, all night dancing and drinking, and a lot of cigar smoke, then I found the place for us - Red Pirates Pub. Away from the maddening crowd and noise of BS2, the pub is located at the south end of BS3 which is a relatively quiet part of the island.
The pub is made from bamboo and wood materials including the bar, stool bars, tables and benches, with subdued interior lighting. Across the pub towards the beach are sets of tables and benches curved from big logs secluded by hanging plants and fisherman's artifacts with minimal light coming from lamps. All in all, the place projects a cozy ambience.
The one thing I liked about the place was, there was music played from a component but not loud enough to drown our voices. We were able to sustain our conversation at normal level without the need to shout when talking to the person seated next to me.
Its friendly owner Joey and his bartender PD are always on hand to serve beer and soda with complimentary "bottomless" plates of peanuts. Another thing I noticed is the way these 2 guys treated their customers - like a long lost friend. No wonder, I noticed some tourists who just popped in to say "hello".
Dress Code: It seems that the dress code in Boracay is "come as you are".
Address: South end of Boat Station 3, White Beach
My 5th shot caused a little numbness already on my face (not to mention the just consumed 6 bottles of
San Miguel beer!) . But with the pretty lady beside you, you can't afford not to give your ever ready best smile. :-)
A souvenir shirt comes as your trophy to be still standing after 15 plus the bragging rights to your friends and another count to your country in the tally board. At time of my visit, Germany rules at number 1 spot followed by the Philippines then a number of EU countries.
There's always the latest disc spinning and a local+tourist crowd drinking from 10 or so 'til 5 when the party drifts across the street.
It's easy to settle into this congenial spot each night and have a chat with those around. Find a new friend or just drink in the crowd.
Dress Code: Are you kidding? Come as you are. Some kind of footgear is probably smart - other wise it's beach chic all the way...
Directions: Any trike can get you there for 100 php or less
- Budget Travel
Plazoleta is an open air activity center flanked by shops selling local crafts on its sides. I am not sure if it's a regular Sunday thing or just a special activity on that day being the Chinese New Year, but we came across this performance of a local band.
The band members, who look like natives of the island, are composed of several guys and a lone female. Their musical instrument is mostly drums of different sizes and the guys make use of their hands in playing them. The only female in the group dances to the tune.
Dress Code: This is an informal performance and come as you are. The audience, including us, are mostly passers by who got attracted to the local music being played by the band, decided to stop for a while to watch and listen.
Address: Plazoleta, Boat Station 2, White Beach
It is one among the top bars of Boracay.Near Dmall and very accessible to guest from Stations 2 and 3.
It is a typical tropical beach bar look with its bamboo designs. Driftwood chairs and tables scattered on the space in front. The band playing for them plays a range of music from country songs, reggae, carribean and african beat. The place is distinctive from nearby bars that offers loud, hiphop or rock music. If you know how to sing and play an instrument, you can showcase your talent here as well. Their staff were very accommodating as well.
With good drinks to sip at and the relaxing tunes, the bar is indeed a must visit party place when it comes to experiencing a real tropical nightlife.
Dress Code: Beach party attire
Address: station 2
Directions: just left side of Red Coconut hotel in station 2.
The night just bustles away from sundown to sun up. Whether you want to dance the night away, listen to a live band, doing crackin' songs, or be entertained by the acoustic music of the lone guitarist in the corner, Boracay just sizzles.
Dress Code: Cool as can be, you can just wear anything you want. Remember its a party place in the beach. And summer nights can really be hot, so try on the coolest outfit you can find.
- Family Travel
Great music, extremely friendly bar tenders, cheap drinks with nightly happy hour from 8.30-9.30pm, and most famous for Still Standing after 15 concoctions. Not to forget the down-to-earth and accommodating big boss John - the Canadian bar owner.
Cool to be one! (as pictured).
Address: Boracay Island, Station 1
Co-owned and managed by VT member, sirenna, Red Pirates looks like a pirates den. Unpretentious and built like a native nipa hut, the bar opens up to an alcove surrounded by gardens that leads to the white sand beach.
At night, the area is poorly lit, especially around the alcoved gardens and at the beach, the sandflies do occasionally bite, so bring some insect repellant. Perhaps sandflies are attracted to rum drinkers!
Away from the maddening crowds, it's the relaxed atmospehere with laid back patrons listening to impromptu live pub music, that makes this place a hit for those who prefer to chill out and chat with friends over a rum or beer.
Dress Code: Very very casual. Beach wear.
Address: Station 3
Directions: Located in the far end of Station 3 near the Tree House and Camila Resort.
- Budget Travel
Since joining VT, I have attempted to make my tips as balanced and objective as possible. I mention this here as I provide this tip with the caveat that the co-owner of the place is a VT member and also a friend. I trust that my review will be objective and hopefully of use to the reader.
If you are wondering about the title of this tip, it refers to getting competely drunk in the place, so badly that you cannot get home. Then you are deemed to be capsized.
The Red Pirate is simply my idea of a great tropical beach bar. It was chosen as one of the venues for the 2012 Philippino VT meet, and it was a great choice.
Yes, I crashed out here a few nights because it was just too far to walk home along the beach, and it was great. There is something quite magical about waking up in a place where the floor is made of sand. The staff are great, Jen and Joey are wonderful hosts (see seperate tip for sailing with Joey), good food is available if required and there is such a good vibe about the place, it makes me remember why I spend so much money on overseas flights. I could have hung about here for a month but I had other places to go.
Certainly not a place to take your maiden aunt, unless she wears kaftans and went to Woodstock but still a great place to hang out.
Update April 2013.
It is with great sadness that I have to report that Magic, the beatiful little black cat you see in one of the images was killed by a dog a couple of months ago. I was really saddened by this but don't let it put you off visiting.
Dress Code: As they say on their own website (attached), bare feet, sarong and guitar!
Directions: Near Station 3 on the beach. Any pedicab driver will take you there.
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
After our Paraw sunset cruise, we strolled by the beach and the fire dancers of Bamboo Lounge caught my attention. Dancing and gyrating to loud music, the fire dancers swirled and threw and caught and swirled again the "fireballs on string". It was really an awesome performance! Sometimes, the fire dancers teasingly "throw" the fire on the crowd, making it more fun, even to non-diners of Bamboo Lounge.
If you are not eating at the tables set by Bamboo Lounge, it would be prudent to watch and take shots of the fire dancers from the sides, and not within their al fresco dining area.
Dress Code: Come as you are; no prescribed dress code.
Address: Bamboo Lounge, Boat Station 1, Boracay
Directions: Beachfront of Bambbo Lounge
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Red Pirates is a chilled out little beach bar, with a native theme. There's a funky little beach garden with chairs and tables made from driftwood, comfy beanbags is and lit by torches and candles after dark. Drinks are reasonably priced (try the famous mojitos made with fresh, home-grown mint - the best on the island!), and it a good place to meet other travelers and chat.
The music ranges from reggae to chill-out to tribal, ethnic & acoustic sounds. Occasionally you can also enjoy a live jamming session with djembe drums, rain sticks and various other native instruments (especially around full moon), or watch local artists at work.
The owner, Captain Joey, has a sailing boat and offers sunset cruises, adventure tours and snokeling trips around the island.
It's also a great place to relax during the day - the garden is festooned with with driftwood creations and and the beach outside is quiet and peaceful.
If you want to get away from the crowds and not be hassled by vendors, this is the perfect spot. Swing in a hammock or lounge on one of the beach beds and just chill out.
Red Pirates is also home to the popular all-you-can-eat beach BBQ & buffet, held every Friday night at 7.30, serving a great selection of both Filipino specialties and international favourites. Don't miss it!
If you are backpacking or travelling, it is worthwhile stopping by to chat with the friendly gang at Red Pirates - they can point you in the direction of the best budget accomodation in the area.
Dress Code: Bare feet, sarong and guitar!
Address: White Beach, Angol
Directions: 5 minutes south of boat station 3.
Phone: 036 288 5767
- Budget Travel
Arguably Boracay's best nightspot, Summer Place is a large native style bar. It's open plan, and facing the beach - perfect for dancing in the sand on those full-moon nights. The bar attracts a friendly crowd of tourists, expats and locals, and the music varies, with a variety of events taking place there in high season. There's a good Mongolian BBQ available earlier in the evening but the real fun begins after midnight. Dance on the beach. Dance on the table. Anything goes!
Dress Code: Beachwear.
Address: Boat station 2.
Directions: White Beach.
- Gay and Lesbian
Named after it's owner, Jude, this place serves bistro style food and great pizzas and after dark there's usually a live DJ.
Hey Jude attracts a mixed crowd of Manila party people, tourists and expats. They play chilled music, and usually stay open pretty late.
Sunset is a good time to arrive - sit outside on the beach with a cocktail and watch the guys playing volleyball or frisbee.
During high season, Hey Jude is famous for it's beach parties and events, sponsored by the likes of Slinky and Big Fish, and resident DJs Surf and Manster play some of the best lounge and dance music in Boracay.
Dress Code: Dressy beachwear.
Address: D'Mall, White beach.
Directions: Near boat station 2.
- Food and Dining
Bubbles Bar (part of White Beach Divers) is a laid back and friendly spot at the southern end of the island. The bar is not only popular with divers, but with tourists and expats too, mostly English, German and Aussies but everyone is given a warm welcome. Don't worry about missing out on the football - there is a TV behind the bar showing major sporting events. Bubbles is run by an English guy, Lee, and is well known locally for it's lively BBQ parties in high season.
Dress Code: No dress code, but Lee has been known to wear a grass skirt and a coconut bra!
Address: White Beach Divers
Directions: White Beach, Angol - 5 minutes walk south of boat station 3.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Water Sports
This is the bizzarely named beach bar attached to Nigi Nigi Nu Noos Resort, near boat station 2. The bar is very popular with expats and tourists alike, and has some of the friendliest bartenders around.
There is also a good restaurant there, serving a wide range of snacks and main courses. I highly recommend the fishfingers, Chicken Satay and the Chicken Mandarin.
Happy hour is from 5 - 7pm.
Dress Code: Beachwear.
Address: Near the tourist Center
Directions: Between boat stations 2 and 3, White Beach