This place touts itself to be a “bar cum café”. And it may be that. Though this place is actually way, way more than that.
As a physical space, yes, it’s a hangout place – i.e. that’s the “bar” part of the place’s claim. And it’s also a show venue – i.e. it is home to various shows, from bikini opens to drag performances.
But as a (predominantly) gay space, it’s also a hark back to the olden times – i.e. if you can recall G Club along Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong City, back when gay partying was at its peak in Metro Manila, this place somewhat mimics that (now defunct) venue. As such, it also works when – as a gay person going out partying – you are appreciative of getting lost in the darkness.
Introducing The Birdcage, this nondescript gay venue along E. Rodriquez Sr. Ave. in Cubao, Quezon City.
Space-wise, the venue is actually large – it has three floors, after all. The first floor is where the bar is, the stage for the performances, and the seating areas for those grabbing drinks from the bar or watching the shows. The décor is… confused, combining – basically – everything. Expect to see giant Thai-derived statues hanging on the wall near the entrance, beside the upholstered sofa set; African-looking statues standing by the bar; wooden stools surrounding the bar; and tacky decorations at the performance area (think pink frilly things)…
The second floor – accessible via the stairs at the far end of the first floor – is a viewing room; there’s the literal viewing of videos/flicks, though you can check out who’s there, too.
The third floor is, simply put, an “activity area”. [This is actually spacious – e.g. you get to have a glimpse of outside via a verandah at the back part; this is also a good place to get fresh air when avoiding smokers (or you could catch them there, too, of course)].
WHY GO THERE?
Because we seem to be running out of venues to check out to party in Metro Manila, The Birdcage becomes one of the to-check venues.
Having said this, this is not a complete waste – at least particularly if you are part of the target crowd of the very concept of this place.
There are the shows, of course. They are not necessarily on a par with – say – O Bar, Pink Manila, or Fab; but they suffice.
There are the “newer” faces – newer, I say, because the people coming here are not necessarily the regulars in the more prominent gay venues in Metro Manila. And so, if you want to see different faces, this may be worth checking.
And then there’s the chance to be involved in the act (and truth be told, this is the main appeal for many).
WHY AVOID IT?
But The Birdcage isn’t for everyone.
That the tacky décor… is disturbing (though I’d admit that I liked the Thai figurines).
The shows, as noted, aren’t great.
Those who head there aren’t always… hot (unless you’re after the performers, LOL); meaning, who you could end up with may not be hot.
The drinks are costly – i.e. beer for P120.
And there’s not much to do there – i.e. forego dancing (or even karaoke), with the “offering” just the shows (and only at certain times), before those who go there proceed to picking each other up.
IN THE END…
No, Grindr and PlanetRomeo didn’t kill cruising spaces – The Birdcage is proof of that. But having said that, this place isn’t necessarily going to make everyone happy. Instead, it has a captured audience (e.g. those in a hurry; in the closet; et cetera). Now, if you don’t see yourself as part of the target audience, steer clear. Otherwise, if you’re curious, head there and go into the darkness…
The Birdcage is located right beside John Matthew (massage parlor) along E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City. For more information, contact (+63) 9981803180; or visit the venue’s Facebook page.