Al fresco’s the right way to do it.
Opening a bar along Esteban Abada in the Katipunan area with your friends is not a new concept, but that didn’t stop Yami Garcia, Neil Dy, Jonah Chantong, Pia Trinidad, Gaby Concio and JP Gomez from doing it anyway. Being friends since high school, this young group has been schooled by experiencing on the ups and downs of going out, and recently found themselves hanging out more at each others’ homes instead. That is, until they opened The Rooftop, a laid- back bar that serves killer drinks but keeps a chill vibe.
It’s a scene they know well, which is probably one of the reasons why everything just happened organically. Pia had the space. Yami, Neil and Jonah were talking about setting up a business after graduation. Gaby and JP were ready to go into business. They could have turned the area into just about anything, but opening a bar seemed like the most natural thing to do.
But The Rooftop is not just another bar. What sets it apart from its neighbors is the space. Think: speakeasy. There are no neon signs, but the word of mouth from the right people will have you climbing flights of stairs to reach the newest watering hole. The open area is breezy and brimming with youth and energy. It also doesn’t hurt that the owners are very hands on to the point that they become friends with regulars, mostly students from surrounding schools. Late at night, though, the place is mostly packed with adulting mid-20s who are done with walwalan but still in the mood for a nightcap or three. And that’s something The Rooftop caters to so well.
The drink menu is straight to the point, just as it should be. Signature cocktails include the refreshing Pineapple Spritz and the scotch-based Dark and Stormy. The Rooftop also serves classics like rum coke, gin and tonic, lychee mojito, sangria, and soju yakult. The cocktails are familiar and easy to make, but adding ingredients like herbs freshly picked from the CCA garden and real fruits give it that Rooftop touch. The recipes are created by partner JP Gomez, save for a drink aptly called P*tangina. Inspired by La Union bar Flotsam and Jetsam’s five-minute drink, they wanted to offer that one drink that will still get the job done for customers who are on a budget (aka all of us). The six owners came up with their own recipe and the one that’s “the most messed-up but pwede na” happened to be partner Neil Dy’s concoction. With around six different alcohol shots in a single serving, it’s not a surprise to be hearing P.I. by the bar on the regular.
But while The Rooftop is all about having a great time, it’s still a business that the owners take seriously. Knowing the joy and pain of building a startup, the team also makes sure to look out for fellow young business owners. They opened their space for food concessionaires and fried chicken concept Tetsuo is set to make the next pop-up. The goal is to collaborate with different concessionaires every month, or at least change it up as much as they can. The Rooftop will also start serving drinks after operating hours of the newest CCA cafe on the second floor in the same building. That, together with the third floor extension, will be the home for regulars and those who have yet to experience what the bar is all about.
The Rooftop just opened and if the past two months are any indication of what they have up their sleeves, the next step’s going to be a pleasant surprise. But for their team, to be able to say that they were able to share something they love while being productive for their first venture together is enough of a success. Safe to say that these kids are all right.