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It's Always The Weekend at this Cebuano-Owned Bar & Chophouse

They serve cocktails on tap, too!

Nestled at the heart of Cebu’s bustling city district lies a gem of a bar that exudes casual elegance and relatable sophistication: The Weekend. With its rich decor, expertly crafted cocktails, remarkable dishes, and unparalleled service, The Weekend has quickly become a go-to destination for those who enjoy the finer things in life.

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Conceptualized and owned by Cebuano restaurateur and chef, Jan Rodriguez, this bar and chophouse is much different from his first restaurant, Ilaputi, which caters Asian soul food that initially targeted local college students. “I wanted a more upscale place where people can have a proper meal and then have proper drinks,” Jan shared. “The name came from a brainstorm meeting with my partners. It very much felt like a weekend when we were planning and trying out our menu, so we decided to call it that—The Weekend.”


As I walked through the unassuming entrance (there’s no signage here), it felt like I was transported back to lower Manhattan’s casual-yet-fancy dining scene during my recent US trip. The first thing that caught my eye is the stunning bar with backlit, arched shelves displaying their impressive selection of liqueurs and spirits. The leather couches that connect to one another curve and form a horizontal ‘S’ that still beautifully provide division and privacy for the separate tables. The gorgeous crystal lights hang from above, and they looked like glass molecules floating on air. The walls are covered in concrete that is so artistically poured, it made me wonder how they labored to make the hard material look so soft, like waves ebbing and flowing.


“That was actually an accident, my bar was supposed to be on that side of the establishment. It had to be redone a couple of times,” Jan informs me, as I stare at it inquisitively. He is quite the perfectionist. But perhaps we can file this under “happy accident” that turned out well for his favor. The overall effect is one of modern elegance, reminiscent of the bars in New York and the Mediterranean.

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Christian, The Weekend’s star bartender

But The Weekend is not content to rest on its stunning interiors alone. The bartenders here are true artisans, mixing up some of the most inventive and delicious cocktails you won’t find anywhere in the city. From classics like the Negroni and the Old Fashioned to more experimental, in-house concoctions like Isn’t She Lovely (my personal favorite because it’s a luxurious take on the Jungle Juice, made with elderflower, watermelon, lemon, lavender bitters), the menu is carefully curated but managed to have an extensive selection of drinks, designed to delight even the most discerning palate. This shows Jan’s incredible passion for spirited bevies, as he makes it a point to converse with bartenders and pick their brains whenever he’s out traveling the world.

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The Botanika, a refreshing concoction of elderflower, cucumber, lemon, mint, ginger, & basil; and Isn’t She Lovely

And if you're feeling hungry, fear not: The Weekend’s menu is equally impressive. From the starter Caviar Boursin (spread on toast) to one of their star dishes, the Fat Bastard (signature grilled pork chops), each dish is expertly prepared and attractively presented. “Everything we have here is made from scratch. The only thing that comes in a package are our chilis from Mexico,” Jan quipped, when I asked how he chooses his ingredients. A true gourmet, he never scrimps nor compromises, so much so that even the cherries for their cocktails are preserved in-house.

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Jan Rodriguez, Owner and Chef of The Weekend

You’d be surprised that Jan’s deep knowledge for food and drinks is from his personal taste, experiences, travels, and having graduated his master’s degree (with flying colors, I must say) from the “University of YouTube.” Jan’s food philosophy is also quite simple, if he won’t eat it, then it’s off the menu. It’s truly amazing what passionate interest and dedication can make one achieve, and The Weekend is a testament to that, having been up and running for over six years, with reviews to boast about, both online, and off. 


CHEF JAN’S RECOMMENDATIONS:

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The Faux Gras, Gambas Al Ajilio, and the Gooey Normandy with Bien Cabrón, Joven! cocktails

SOME STARTERS

The Faux Gras (P395) gives it away with its name. Instead of duck liver, they spread chicken liver mousse with bacon marmalade, pickled onions and aioli, topped with minced apples on grilled toasts. It’s easy to munch on and dangerously addictive. You must consciously stop yourself to leave room for what’s next. 


For the classic Spanish pica-pica, their Gambas Al Ajilio (P550) is one of the best versions I’ve had in my entire life (no kidding). The shrimps were cooked to a succulent perfection in extra virgin olive oil, paprika, and garlic. It’s got an authentic level of heat, too. 


If you’re a Camembert lover like me, the Gooey Normandy (P650) is your best bet. Baked and topped with dried cranberries, fermented garlic honey, olive and ancho oil, it lives up to its name. With a side of crisp toasts, it’s a fun, contrasting texture on the palate, especially with the tartness of cranberries and sweetness of honey. Trust me, it’ll leave you scooping and twisting that spoon for gooey seconds.

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Oystah Anchopini (P1400)

If baked oysters are your thing, then this has to be on your starters. The Oystah Anchopini is not the usual, though. The mixture of ancho butter, fermented garlic honey, chimichurri and gruyere cheese, together with the creaminess and seafood flavor of the sought-after shellfish, bring a mouthful of a decadently satisfying experience with a sharp taste. 


FROM THE CHOPHOUSE

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Prime Ribeye (price depends on weight), The Fat Bastard (P700), Dry Aged Grouper P1650)

As The Weekend identifies itself as a chophouse, they do fulfill their customer’s expectations. With a variation of animal-based meats, they masterfully curated their chophouse menu from beef, pork, fish, and lamb. 


If you’re looking for a steak that’s ready to wow a bunch of hungry carnivores, the 100 Prime steak is certainly for you. The USDA Prime-grade, grilled, inch-thick boneless ribeye with sauteed French beans and roasted garlic and aioli is a dish enough to make you salivate with just a whiff. As the menu states, their “steaks and chops are seasoned and served based on their chef’s preference, and they only serve it rare to medium.” We chose medium for this one, and it did not disappoint. It had a crisp and caramelized crust on the outside while remaining tender and juicy on the inside. The marbling melts into the meat, infusing it with a rich, beefy flavor that is complemented by a slightly nutty, umami taste. Well-seasoned, tender, and oozing with juice and flavor, each cut is a gateway to steak heaven.


Among the chophouse superstars is the Fat Bastard—a thick-cut, smoked, grilled pork chop, served with French beans, ancho butter, aioli, with a side of garlic rice; and the Dry Aged Grouper, a flakey, beef-tallow-pan-seared-dry-aged Red Grouper with roasted cauliflower puree, beef garum and dry-aged demi-glace that sits majestically on top of mouth-watering mushroom risotto. 


LET’S DRINK! Cocktails on tap, anyone?

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The classics on tap: Sangria and Mojito

I was surprised when I found out that they had cocktails on tap, which was born out of practicality. Word spread that their Sangria and Mojito are sinfully delicious, so they had to keep up with the demand. True enough, these drinks are so easy to finish, no wonder they had to be smart with their supply. 

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The Hacienda

Given The Weekend’s opulence, of course some of their cocktails had to come with the theatrics. The Hacienda is a fantastic mixture of Luisita Reserva Single Estate rum, Don Papa Rye Cask, house orgeat, sugarcane syrup, lemon, Grand Marnier, Angostura bitters that is tobacco smoked—served and revealed from a glass bell jar that made me feel like I was about to drink pure magic. 

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I’m an Amaretto type of gal, and their take on this bar staple is nothing short of perfection. The Amaretto Sour No. 3 is made with Disaronno, Grand Marnier, house roasted orgeat, house cherries, and egg whites. I’ve never had it this good to be honest, simply because each ingredient is top quality, there is mindfulness in concocting it, and the overall balance of the drink really packs a fruity and nutty punch (Amaretto is almond liqueur, after all), with a soft smoothness coming from the egg whites. All the other Amaretto Sours I’ve had pale in comparison with The Weekend’s take on this refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for any occasion. Its sweet, tangy, and slightly sour taste is sure to please anyone who enjoys a well-crafted drink.


Obviously, great food and drinks are a must when looking for the next big hang out and dining spot, but what sets The Weekend apart is the impeccable service and the mindfulness of what goes in everything they serve. From the moment you step through the door, you are made to feel like a VIP. The staff here are knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive, always ready to offer a recommendation or mix up a custom drink to your exact specifications and liking, while each order is carefully made with a lot of intentionality. 


That is Jan’s food mantra, after all—“Food must be honest and intentional,” which is what I’ve experienced all night—mindful food and drinks that are ready to whisk you away to a memorable day that’s bound to feel like a weekend.


In short, The Weekend is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and indulge in a little luxury. Whether you're looking for a romantic date spot (I saw a young couple come in with the girl carrying a bouquet of flowers), or a place to impress a client, this bar has everything you need to make your evening unforgettable. So next time you're in Cebu City, make sure to stop by and raise a glass to the good life.


The Weekend is located at G/F, 88th Ave. Mall, Gov. M. Cuenco Ave., Kasambagan, Cebu City, Philippines (the establishment beside Bell + Amadeus). Follow them on Instagram @theweekendph


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