When exploring the night scene of a tightly knit university town, you can expect a buzzling community thriving with diversity in music, art, and culture. Dumaguete has a wide music offering with its establishments for such a compact town. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone and you’ll be surprised at your discoveries. There will always be a story to tell.
We’ve gathered a list of local Dumaguete destinations based on the personality and defining vibe of the establishment for a happy night out. Ambience, service, music, and flavors for the crowd with varied taste.
HAYAHAY TREEHOUSE BAR
It doesn’t get more Dumaguete in Dumaguete than Hayahay. This is the iconic bar of Dumaguete and you’d he hard pressed to find anyone who’s been to the city and not been to Hayahay. It’s a treehouse bar and viewdeck with a strong touch to the island art and music while serving the freshest seafood in town. The general atmosphere of the place is reflects the local personality: tropical, laidback, and friendly.
If you’re a fan of reggae, rock, indie, and electronic/analog fushion, this is the place to be and you’ll be met with warm reception with just about anybody. Hayahay is essentially your gateway to living local in Dumaguete City. Out of all the places you can go to in Dumaguete, Hayahay probably has the most character.
Aside from the typical characteristics of a top bar destination in the city, Hayahay is also noted for having a huge variety of great trademark dishes that keeps everyone coming back for more: Baked Talaba, Tangingue Kinilaw, Tuna Panga, Hayahay Pizza, Dumaguete Express, Native Chicken, among others. On top of that, you’ll find special gourmet sushis, tacos, and steaks at the Tacosurf room.
Hayahay also hosts the biggest dance and music events in the city. Carefully curated music programs are done to meet the cutting edge standard of eccentricity that known about the Hayahay. International guest artists and big name bands are a norm in Hayahay big events. DEF (Duma Electrique Fest), GetSoaked Foam & Glow, Enchi Reggae Wednesday, and the Belltower Projects are among the titles founded at Hayahay that have now become sought-after events that draw visitors in for attendance. Your best memories in Dumaguete starts at Hayahay!
CAFÉ RACER DUMAGUETE
For those who are big fans of American highway diners bike bars, and ice cold beer, look no further. Café Racer is definitely your choice hangout. Everything for a craving wish list time are here: Pizza, Cheeseburgers, BACON, frankfurts, buffalo wings, calamares, fries, BBQ grill, pasta, and steaks are all present and done extremely well. You’ll definitely enjoy the interior design and decorations too. It’s probably the most fun looking place in the city.
If you’re not that much into junk food, you can always order from the Lantaw Native Restaurant menu since they share menus. Lantaw serves Filipino native favorites and is one of the best dining restaurants in the city. It’s a gastronomic experience and you’ll be surprised at the rates!
Café Racer serves a wide range of music flavors from live acoustic, jazz, house, trance, techno, hiphop/rnb, and 80s/90s/00s throwbacks. On occasion, Café Racer hosts guest DJs and Belltower’s themed band performance nights. Café Racer has the best resident DJs in Dumaguete and they are lauded across the region.
Sitting on the former area of El Camino, Café Racer really shines on weekends as it carries on that classic Dumaguete vibe that has been long sought for its elusive blend of free spirited energy and jolly inter-crowd intimacy. This is definitely a go-to place for a night out.
PRIME BAR & NIGHTCLUB
This hole-in-the-wall dance club has been one of the main destinations after having a blast at either Hayahay or Café Racer or both. It’s a small and intimate place that is perfect for an intense night of pure clubbing. This place is consistently packed!
Prime has weekly guestings from DJs around the region (Cebu, Bacolod, and Iloilo), monthly guest DJs from Manila, and on occasion, foreign DJs –all carefully selected to provide a music experience outside the standard mainstream big room sets and best of all, due to the openness of Dumaguete to electronic music diversity, the crowd embraces it. From trap/bass, dubstep, house, techno, trance, and electro –Prime has been host to guest DJs known to specialize in specific genres.
EL AMIGO RESTO-GRILL BAR
If you’re in for worldly conversations, intellectual discussions, art exhibits, literature, poetry reading, tattoo displays, original indie music performances, and CHIMICHANGA, El Amigo is definitely your place. The pregame to Dumaguete nightlife starts here and we say pregame, you can start at 10AM in the morning when it opens.
This is the top choice for meeting places and it’s easy to find new friends here. A lot of groundbreaking projects and movements have been founded on its tables. The Black Mountain Brew and the famous BBQ Plate are favorites among its regular patrons. The interior design and the lighting make one of the best café ambiences in the city. Be sure to check this place out. It’s just by the Rizal Boulevard.
ALLEGRE TAPAS BAR & RESTAURANT
A more sophisticated avenue for young professionals looking for a more refined night out. Allegre offers Spanish flavors with their wide selection of tapas and fine selection of wine. You’ll find many of Dumaguete’s locals sharing lively conversations over a glass of drink or playing at their billiard tables. Everybody knows everybody and in true Dumaguete fashion, you’re not far from being welcomed into the social circles as well. You’ll find different characters here and it all comes to having a great time.
It’s a gorgeous bar with a well lit, Spanish-themed interior by the baywalk. End your day and start your night with a glass of fine wine and a plate of tapas with your friends and watch the sunset skies color your view of the sea. Occasionally, Allegre have live music guest performers from elusive circles coming in. Be sure to watch out for those when they make their announcements –you don’t want to miss those rare opportunities to find those artists perform music for those with discriminating taste.
If you want to enjoy the view by Dumaguete’s famous Rizal Boulevard, this place is the best way to be in.
BLUE MONKEY GRILL
No nightlife article goes without featuring the restobar that specializes on a fantastic array of grilled dishes. Blue Monkey Grill is that bar. Looking for a place to get that straight up drinking and grilling satisfaction? Want to hear an old favorite with the familiar rock acoustic or alternative music to go by on your night? Look no further because Blue Monkey Grill is your fix. You’ll find all of those here. This is where you take your barkada for that big celebration with great food and constantly flowing drinks. This is where you end your day of work or school for a delicious bite and wind down with your friends. With a great minimalistic ambience with cool paintings, the Boulevard breeze, and a direct to the point experience of a bistro, Blue Monkey Grill is your everyday place.
Don’t’ forget about the Tempurahan by the Boulevard just right in front of it for the simple joys. You’ll find many local icons there and you’ll know them when you see them.
There’s more to explore and see but it’s not really the places you go to. It’s the people around that will draw you. That’s Dumaguete’s defining appeal!
As always, please do remember to party responsibly; it’s not all about getting drunk and fucked up just so you can say it was “wild and crazy”. it isn’t, really. Don’t be thrashy. Stay out of trouble.
Keep it cool and keep it real. Cheers!