Looking for a quiet, productive space around Manila is pretty impossible these days. It all depends on your needs, but a nice place to study or work — for me at least — consists of a noiseless, well-lit and relaxing environment. Tenant is all that and then some.
Tenant, a two-floor cafe and boutique combination, is nestled quietly along Kamagong street in Makati. Downstairs is a coffee shop with moderately-priced coffee (P120 for a latte) and interesting reads. It even has a comfy couch for relaxing and sturdy, steel chairs for when you need to sit up and get some work done. The place offers a nice balance between being organic and industrial, with its cold, cement floors complemented by the lush greenery tastefully placed throughout the cafe and shop.
Upstairs is pretty much the same thing. It’s bathed in natural light, which makes it perfect if you just want to sit down, relax and rest your eyes from staring at a computer screen. Its floor-to-ceiling windows and horizontal layout allows Tenant’s shop to be possibly the most well-lit and spacious spot around town.
Yin and yang: The shop and cafe’s vibe features a nice balance between being organic and industrial.
If you’re looking to just relax and nix the work, it’s also a pretty great place to just hang out. It’s perfect especially if you want to avoid the throngs of people doing their Christmas shopping in the malls. The vibe of the entire space is actually inspired by surf culture, and aims to reflect a laid-back lifestyle, which you definitely feel both downstairs and upstairs.
The brands they carry reflect this same chill. One of these brands is Saturdays NYC, a luxe, minimalist clothing label with a laid-back vibe. Tenant also carries Surf Is Dead, a cheeky streetwear label with a mantra that reads: “Sex, drugs, and surf. Tune in, turn on, and catch the wave.” If you’re looking for something a bit more classically laid-back, there’s also Oakland Surf Club, which captures that Cali lifestyle perfectly. There’s a wide array of other labels at Tenant, including Aussie specs label Local Supply, Quality Peoples, Birdwell Beach Britches, Engineered Garments, and more. They’ve even got your classic Converse All-Star sneakers if you’re due for a new pair.
It’s in a shirt: Surf Is Dead, a new brand on Tenant’s roster, arrived just in time for the holidays.
If you don’t want to give that special someone clothes for Christmas, they’ve got a couple of books you can flip through and purchase. This includes both the ‘70s and ‘80s versions of surfing photo books from famed surf photographer Jeff Divine. Tenant has a small collection of other books and magazines on display that you can browse while sipping on a cup of coffee or tea. Their playlists are pretty good, too — you won’t find any elevator jazz or Jose Mari Chan here.
Finding a nice, peaceful place to work or simply hang out is getting close to having an existential crisis. People are flooding the malls and cars are barricading the streets. Staying in one neighborhood, or maybe even just one establishment for the day, can do wonders for the soul in the impossibly busy holiday season. Plus, you get to relax and do some Christmas shopping at the same time. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.
Tenant is located at 9639 Kamagong St., Makati. Both the shop and cafe are open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 12-9 p.m., and Sundays 12-7 p.m. Find them on Instagram at @tenantmanila.