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In the Scene

Blue Butterfly Restobar: A place to know

This place along Tomas Morato is a good stopover to discover the kind of gay scene offered by Quezon City. Try to drop by (oh, and be sure to at least prepare yourself by doing some vocalizations before heading there, too).

I have heard a lot – I mean, “A LOT” – about this place even way, way back (even when there was still a scene to speak of in Makati City). Supposedly, this was: (1) a relatively small place with a (2) good, albeit small, loyal crowd who (3) gather to hang out sans the elitist attitude that has come to be associated with, say, Metro Manila’s gay “capital” Malate in the City of Manila. To qualify this statement, though, this place is not “as pretentious” as Malate, as stressed to me by a regular, but it is “NOT akin to Cubao’s scene, either”. It’s that place “somewhere in between”.

That in-between place is Blue Butterfly Restobar (it’s right beside international food chain Chili’s) along Tomas Morato Street in Quezon City.

Having visited the place repeatedly already, I’d say the observations have merit – in some ways, at least. The question then is whether this place should be recommended to be visited by others, too.

There is actually nothing fancy about the place – it is, built-wise, but a two-storey townhouse converted into a bar that offers videoke and some (occasional) shows, among others. Outside, three to four tables could seat one to three people each table. It’s less noisy there, interestingly (since a show may be running, or some people may be singing inside), particularly at night, when the streets are almost empty. Inside, there are five cocktail tables (with two to three stools per table) facing the long bar – on one end (by the door) is the mini-stage for shows or for singing, and on the other (near the toilet that at times emit an unwanted mapanghi stench throughout the ground level of the venue; and the stairs) is the TV showing the song selections. A diversified version of the entire ground floor is on the second floor.

No, the sound system isn’t exactly state-of-the art – don’t expect to “feel” the music, as you may when in Bed Bar or Republique. But there’s not even a cover charge to be inside Blue Butterfly Restobar (at least in most days), so who’s complaining?

Considering it’s by and large a bar, there is – truth be told – nothing special about the drinks concocted by the bartenders in the place. With the usual prices starting from P100+ per order, the drink list has the (predictable) usual mixes: Weng-Weng, SOB (err, Sex on the Beach), et cetera. Yes, they are not as diluted tasting as, say, those offered at Central BBQ (at least the branches along Emilia Street, as well as in Malugay Street in Makati City); but no, the drinks are NOT the lure of this place.

This may explain why most of those who visit the place chug beer, instead. At P60 per bottle, they are priced similar to most bars in Malate (though in Malate, they charge you approximately P100, then just say it’s buy-one-take-one) and Makati City. Alas, no, they don’t sell the beers by the bucket here; instead, they have towers, priced over P400 per tower (this one’s quite costly).

The same can be said about the food, i.e. no, do not expect culinary wonders. Even if there ARE meals available, what are popularly had among those that are offered are the pulutan and pica-pica (accompaniments for the alcohol drinking). I suggest grabbing the usual sisig or calamari rings, just to have something to chew, if needed, while drinking. But if a real meal is desired, maybe visiting one of the numerous restaurants along Tomas Morato BEFORE heading to Blue Butterfly Restobar is the ideal.

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The real draw of the place may be its crowd.

Firstly, some cuties frequent the place, including: gay men (“straight-acting/looking”, as well as the effem), lesbians, heterosexual men and women (many with LGBT friends who “dragged” them to the place), and men who have sex with men (MSM) who do not necessarily self-identify as homosexuals. Exactly because the place is quite small, the cuties are NOT full of drama – well, at least not in my experience. People are actually willing to chat others up, with some even willingly sharing their songs with those in other tables – something that, for those who know how to make the most of situations, could be a good starting point to pick up.

This friendliness is, secondly, a definite come-on for most. The waiters and bartenders actually know the repeat customers; the owner chats everyone up; and, as mentioned, the guests even share their songs with others. Considering that this may well be the ONLY LGBT place along Tomas Morato, which has the most number of street-based restaurants and bars in Quezon City, this friendliness allows for the place to be some sort of haven for the rainbow crowd.

Thirdly, since this is a singalong bar, the song selections aren’t all that bad. So expect to hear birit singing of Celin Dion, to the lamenting of Karen Carpenter, to the breathing-challenging Mariah Carey, to the “too butch” (as a friend said) hymns of Matchbox 20, Linkin’ Park, Maroon 5, et cetera. And did I mention that singing can be done for free? Just pick your songs early to get ahead of the singing queue.

There are times when the criticized elitism touch the place, e.g. when yuppies opt to visit, bringing with them entourage of PLUs (that’s for “people like us”, since they can’t even bring themselves to say they’re gay, as they continue to be shamed by the identity); or when there are Western men, with some of the Asian clients actually attempting to outdo each other for these Western men’s attention by trying to act better than each other. But these instances aren’t the norm. At least in my observation…

So, again, is it worth visiting the place?

If you are looking for a (somewhat) quieter night-out by yourself or with friends, then yes, it is.

If you want to check the scene in Quezon City, BUT not very keen to head to Cubao’s Palawan 1 and 2, or Starlite, then yes, it is.

If you don’t want to be swallowed by a big crowd, considering it’s but a small place that can host just a small crowd, then yes, it is.

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If you want to check some of the cuties of Quezon City, then yes, it is.

If you want to sing your heart out in a somewhat more personal venue (this place can hold less than 100 per floor, if you ask me; as opposed to the hundreds and hundreds of other Quezon City-based singalong bars in Cubao), then yes, it is.

Or maybe, just maybe, you just want to check a different place for a change, then yes, it is.

Try to drop by once, at least, at this place open until 4.00AM (or earlier if there are no longer any people around).

Blue Butterfly Restobar is located at Scout Fernandez corner Tomas Morato Street, Quezon City.

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