The Cebu nightlife scene is quite diverse and distinguished, much like the city. Wherever you end up in the city at night, you would surely find a place to hang out. But what draws patrons, tourists, or basically just nocturnal people out of the woodwork is how entertaining Cebu can be at night. From movie discos, movie houses, or just plain food trips, you won’t run out of things to do.
Cebu Music Scene at Night
But by far one of the most quintessential things to do would be to witness some Cebu bands perform. Most of the famous Cebuano bands all got their start performing for the local crowd. What makes performing in the local music scene more daunting is the fact that Cebuanos are notoriously hard to please. In fact, some of the major acts in Manila find performing in front of a Cebuano crowd intimidating. But this just means that Cebuanos are more discerning than your usual crowd. This also means that they expect more out of Cebu performers. As a result, the starting Cebu indie bands step up the quality of their performance. There are even foreigners that can attest how some cover bands perform better than the original.
Cebu Hot Spots for Live Acts
If you want to experience the party scene in Cebu to a whole other level, here are the top places to witness Cebu’s finest performers:
Marshall’s Irish Pub
Located along General Maxilom Avenue (right next to National Bookstore), this pub/restaurant has become known as a haven for expats. But from 9:00 p.m. onwards, expect to hear some acoustic tunes flow out from this establishment. But more than the live acts, the pub is known as the establishment in Cebu with a mostly Irish theme. That’s largely thanks to its executive chef, Larry Marshall, who himself hails from Ireland. The reason the pub was opened so Cebuanos can experience an authentic Irish pub experience.
Any Cebuano musician worth his salt knows that, in order to make a mark, they’d have to perform at Cubana. Every night, a different band performs on stage from 9:00 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning. Some of the premier acts include Smokin Pistols, Big Fat Divas, Roots, Leviathan, and Pandora. And while you’re enjoying the performance, you can sample the house specialty of pizza and beer. They also serve some local fare, such as lechon kawali and pancit canton. However, you can also enjoy a plate of fried chicken wings or fresh shrimp. Here you can witness some of the city’s finest talents while enjoying a slice of pizza at the same time.
KOA Tree House
If you are a big fan of seafood, then this establishment is perfect for you. Offering the best of Filipino and Chinese cuisine, KOA Tree House is widely recognized for its savory meals and soups. But come at night and you’ll be treated to performances from some of the newest bands on the scene. The crowd in this establishment is younger compared to the other bars on this list, but the quality of music is just as entertaining. KOA Tree House hosted Summer Jam Fest where the freshest and hottest bands performed for the first time. You won’t be disappointed by the acts here regardless of their age.
Kazmik Club (formerly Liv Super Club)
The techno scene in Cebu is slowly gaining prominence. It’s no wonder clubs like Complex Bar & Lounge, ICON, and Rumour Gastropub are popping up. But out of all of them, the city’s best DJs often perform at Kazmik, such as Poly Yu and NIshhh. Because of the heavy party atmosphere (the slogan of the club is, “Where the party never ends”), club-goers can quench their thirst through the bevy of cocktails and drinks at the bar.
Part of Handuraw’s legendary status is attributed to some of the biggest acts that performed on its hallowed stage, these include Urbandub, The Ambassadors, and Faspitch. For a time, it was also the stomping ground of the local reggae community. Today, Handuraw is still widely regarded as one of the coveted venues for bands and even music festivals.
The best part is this restaurant chain has three branches, one in General Maxilom Avenue, the second in JY Square IT Building, and the oldest located in North Mandaue. Through the years, Handuraw has also housed the works of several esteemed artists and even organized exhibitions for the newcomers. But even with all its storied history in the local arts scene, critical to the success of Handuraw would be its legendary pizzas. So come to Handuraw for the pizza, and stay for the music and artwork.
There are plenty of other establishments that feature local talents. You can find them along General Maxilom Avenue, Lahug, and even as far as Banilad.
Because Cebuanos are known music junkies, more and more foreign acts are stopping over to interact with Cebuano fans. A lot of the time, they perform at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of the Waterfront Hotels & Casinos. A few examples include Boyce Avenue, Lauv, and even Bruno Mars. So not only is this hotel one of the best Cebu accommodation establishments but also a premier concert ground.
Without a doubt, the Cebu nightlife scene is thriving (and it will continue considering the talent it produced). So if you want to know how good Cebuano music sounds, hop on board in any Cebu transportation vehicles and head to any of these bars or clubs.