Drop by Rocket Room on a weekend, chances are, the place is filled to the brim. Yuppies, hipsters, students, artists, celebrities and personalities who don’t fit the cookie cutter mold flock to this corner of Bonifacio High Street Central to unwind with dance tunes and a mean cocktail.
Unlike most bar lounges, Rocket Room hosts DJ nights during Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. My favorite is their Thursday night, which showcases DJing duo, The Diegos (facebook.com/thediegosmusic)—composed of musicians Diego Mapa and Diego Castillo--who play remixes of anything from classic rock, to new wave, to electronica.
The Diegos at Rocket Room (photo by Brendan Goco)
Around 10pm, the people start congregating, and by 12 midnight, a full blown party can be seen spilling out of the place.
Blame it on the various live acts, the fantastic cocktails—or a wicked combination of both. Rocket Room’s house-made infusions are stuff that word-of-mouth marketing has made popular.
Rocket Room’s house-made infusions
Start with the old-timer favorite, Rocket Fuel (P220), if you want something out of the ordinary. A mix of silver tequila, Liquid Fire (house-made jalapeno pepper vodka), Cointreau and lime syrup, Rocket Fuel tastes of real jalapeno but without the intense hotness. Set yourself on fire and order a pitcher (P995), if you dare.
A Girl With Violet Eyes (P225) is another original house concoction that is a mixture of mojito, house-infused apple rum, honey, lychee, lots of mint and mixed berries. Usually a favorite of the ladies, this cocktail is sweet and refreshing like a summer beverage.
A Girl With Violet Eyes
Another bestseller, An American In Ipanema (P195), is Rocket Room’s version of the classic Caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. Today, it is a concoction of cachaca (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar, and lime. According to legend, however, this drink started out as a remedy for patients of the Spanish flu—with lemon, garlic and honey as part of its original recipe. Rum was added to expedite the healing effect. Until, someone removed the garlic and honey, and added ice as a heat buster.
An American in Ipanema (The Caipirinha)
Rocket Room’s version is a mix of vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice, limes and oranges. It’s tastes nothing like a flu remedy, but is still quite therapeutic, especially after a long day.
My idea of a well-spent visit at Rocket Room starts at 4pm, which is when their daily Happy Hour opens.
It is the best time to load up on pica-pica, and get a good head start on their house-infused “rocket-tinis” (Pineapple Vodka, Mango Tequila, Cherry Whiskey, Apple Rum), which are slashed down to P150.
The Crispy Pork Belly Chips (P195) has gained a cult following because these are essentially crispy bacon dipped in Himalayan salt and spicy vinegar. Simple, fuss-free and delicious—pretty much how you want the rest of your night to be.
Crispy Pork Belly Chips
Another treat for carnivores: The Jamon “Battle Royale” Platter (P450) is a platter of Spanish Jamon Serrano and Filipino Excellente special ham with a sweet glaze, served with wood fired olives and crostini.
Jamon “Battle Royale” Platter
If I were to indulge this “ham battle,” though, I’d vote for the Filipino contender, the Excellente ham, simple because I have a sweet tooth. That doesn’t mean I didn’t stuff my mouth with the Jamon Serrano slices, though. They are divine with the oven-roasted olives.
Not red meat, but still worthy of mention is Rocket Room’s Crab and Shrimp Croquetas (P195). These golden croquettes (from French word croquer, which means “to crunch”) are stuffed with generous amounts of crab, shrimp fillets and mozzarella cheese, then served with salsa brava. Crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, these go well with light-hued cocktails or White Wine (P150 during happy hour).
Crab and Shrimp Croquetas
Embark on this itinerary and you’re surely geared up by 8pm, right about the time Happy Hour ends and your adventure begins.
Check out Rocket Room’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/RocketRoom) to find out releases of new house made infusions and the schedules of your favorite DJs.