Palawan nightlife and bars
Live music is especially popular in Palawan bars
Palawan attracts a healthy mix of package tourists and backpackers and is generally known as a haunt for younger travellers. That said, the Palawan bar scene is far removed from that of raucous Manila, Angeles or even Cebu City. Outside of the island capital, all the night time action is generally concentrated on the main beach strips with small beachfront music bars or in larger tourist hotels.
Puerto Princesa has the most variety for night owls and is the only place where you will find any typical ‘bikini bars’ or a late night dance club. Karaoke is all the rage here too and most places are convivial, safe and tourist-friendly. It is possible to hop from one bar to the next in quick succession as most of the major hotspots in the city are located close together in just two or three streets.
Drink prices vary according to the ambience with numerous pubs and bars offering early evening happy hours. There are plenty of places with live music in El Nido and Puerto Princesa, showcasing a bit of jazz, folk or pop covers and sports lovers can also find somewhere to watch the big game with a beer or two. For a more authentic local experience you will find tiny hole in the wall beer bars in the city offering extremely cheap beer and local spirits.
Weekends are the big nights out for locals in Palawan and the most popular joints get crowded quite early. Cover charges are usually waived for visiting tourists as they are generally perceived to drink much more than locals. For a flavour of what to expect on a night out in Palawan, see our guide to the best pubs and bars the island has to offer.
Recommended Palawan bars and nightlife venues
Shy bar staff at the legendary Tom Tom Club
Tom Tom Club
This legendary bar lounge is the most popular hangout in town despite a slightly out of the way location. Known for its raucous 1970’s party nights and the best steaks in Palawan, you can always expect a busy mix of divers, backpackers and stylish locals. Great unpretentious fun guaranteed. Open: 17:00 onwards, closed Thursday; Manalo street, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, tel: +63 48 433 3111, mobile: +63 917 553 2997, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a laid back beach bar on the sand complete with a typical reggae-style vibe and the place to be in town for early evening sundowners. Expect simple home cooked Filipino fare and a few European favourites, ice cold beers and juicy tropical cocktails. Blue Karrot has weekly beach barbecues and occasional late night dancing on the sand and a great spot to mingle with like minded travellers. Open: 11:00 to midnight (daily); Beach Front, Buena Suerte, El Nido, tel: +63 919 370 1289.
A jumping beach bar known for its animated nights of live music and dancing, usually with a different band each night of the week. The interior is a stylish affair with brightly adorned walls filled with artwork and a breezy terrace for al fresco lounging.
Great seafood and steaks guarantee a full house each evening and beer is plentiful and cheap. Balay Tubay attracts a slightly more mature crowd and has become a great favorite with Palawan expats. Open: 17:00-02:00 (daily); Calle Real St., Buena Suerte, El Nido, tel: +63 927 510 3227.
Lonesome Carabao Lounge
A cozy lounge and pub that serves up hot hearty dishes and ice cold beer in a convivial atmosphere. There is round-the-clock sports action on a big screen TV, live acoustic music and karaoke after dark and is a favoured haunt for El Nido’s large expat crowd of diving instructors. It boasts a fine location just metres from the beach and cheap ice cold beer on tap. Open: 07:00-23:00 (daily); Zone 3, Hama St. Barangay Masagana, tel: +63 939 792 0493, email: email@example.com, website: www.lonesomecarabao.com.
Updated and correct: January 2013