Like many restaurants and cafes, Polilya and Yardstick understand the significance of the last two years for the foodservice industry. Though both had different conditions and experiences, both also unequivocally bore the brunt of the COVID-19 circumstances that spiraled beyond their control.
Thankfully, the two F&B mainstays look ready to become, once again, the torchbearers of that third place—a space where people gather, understand each other, and be their brazen authentic selves.
Polilya shows what a perfect comeback looks like
The last two years might have been the longest time for the then three-year-old Poblacion bar and party institution Polilya, what with the pandemic forcing it to shutter in July 2020. But its Dark Wing co-founders Ian and Nina Paradies and Alex Colombo together with head of operations and culinary development Luis de Terry and bar head Jeric “Esse” Magisno sure used the indefinite pause to great effect.
After just, again, over two years, Polilya (and its glowing neon signage) is back at a new spot on Ebro Street where—to reference Willow Smith and Tyler Cole—you can catch a vibe and come for a ride. “The new, evolved version is meant to capture a whole new generation that couldn’t ‘party out’ due to the pandemic confinement and yet had heard about the Polilya myth,” the team says.
So how has Polilya evolved? Judging by their renewed confidence and celebration of the vibe that defined their early days, you’d think that the two-year closure was a virtual rite of passage to fashion an even giddier trip through Filipino bar chow, cocktails, and craft beer.
Judging by their renewed confidence and celebration of the vibe that defined their early days, you’d think that the two-year closure was a virtual rite of passage to fashion an even giddier trip through Filipino bar chow, cocktails, and craft beer.
There’s a lot of street food classics done askew here—from the Sichuan-style Pansit Lamig and the nostalgic Inasal sa Gata to the all-jowls, no-cheek Señor Sisig bundled with spicy chorizo—as well as some fearless beverage finds. “We used Filipino fruits and flavors in our cocktails like sampaloc, ube, guava, and pineapple to match our food.”
The revival of Polilya comes at the perfect time when the desire of the disaffected populace to make amends for the demise of their lost years is at a fever pitch. That they were able to successfully appeal to both old patrons who love the bar’s short legacy and the youth barging into post-pandemic life makes this comeback all the more scintillating.—Eric Nicole Salta
Yardstick Coffee opens a new standalone shop in MOA Square
Yardstick’s second officially branded store is a long time coming after nearly a decade of operations in Legazpi Village and numerous pop-up coffee bars all over the metro. Their new mall-based coffee bar aims to introduce specialty coffee to an even wider market. Designed by Arts Serrano of One/Zero Design Co., the new shop features reclaimed wood accents, a nod to the sustainability ethos of its MOA Square neighbor IKEA.
“The favorites will always be there, but we created new drinks for MOA Square as a response to customer’s changing preferences,” says Yardstick co-owner Andre Chanco.
The menu features both their coffee bar favorites as well as location-exclusive iced coffee drinks, namely the Sea Salt Latte and Manila Latte (“A tribute to the bay,” Yardstick calls this mix of coffee over a “secret” fruit slushie). “The favorites will always be there, but we created new drinks for MOA Square as a response to customer’s changing preferences,” says Yardstick co-owner Andre Chanco.
Oat milk specials are also available such as the Dirty Oatchata Slushie (homemade horchata with oat milk and coffee), and the Layer Cake (layers of ube, oat milk, and sea salt cream).
The shop also carries coffee-making tools and equipment along with Yardstick’s selection of beans, coffee and tea pods, and non-dairy milk alternatives.—Pau Miranda