The Den is a coffee shop + shop that sells some curiosities and provides a gorgeous space for you to enjoy your coffee. In terms of design, it is sooooooooooo nice. It’s industrial and it’s not what old Manila’s interiors would look like but it’s a lovely contrast to the 90something building it’s in. You can never go wrong with the combination of cold black metal, rough and unfinished cement, and warm wood accents. These three together will always be divine and to add it in a thriving community inside one of the IT streets of the 1900s? UGH. THIS IS THE COMBO OF MY LIFE
The Den: A Modern Hideaway in Old Escolta
There’s always something nice about going to Escolta despite being such a sketchy place. Sure, the air is not the cleanest and the streets are not the safest but you do get a chance to marvel at the beauty (and the sad decay) of Philippine Architecture from the 1900s.
Luckily, Escolta is getting a much needed facelift/CPR thanks to locals who are making it a local art/maker hub. Just recently, I find my self wandering back to the First United Building. A lot of things have changed since I was last here for one of the Saturday Markets. Surely, the building got older but it was still youthful thanks to its new inhabitants from HUB: Make Lab.
The First United Building still houses a bunch of thriving local artists selling cool, locally-made products. Fred’s, a chill pub that also has a branch in Cubao Expo, is now in the facade of the First United. This is definitely a big jump from what it was before where sellers and artists would just set-up shop by laying down a sheet of cloth with their products on there. Behind Fred’s and all the booths, the First United got a new cool tenant in the form of a well designed coffeeshop hidden far from the main entrance of the building.
Based on my observation form my previous visit before they took over the space, they barely changed the walls or floors. Most of the interiors were polished and the fancy furniture were just added in. BTW, the furniture is custom-made for The Den and I WANT TO BUY THEM ALL IF THEY WERE ON SALE AND IF I HAD MOOLAH =(
I super appreciate that Arts (the architect who owns/co-owns The Den) went on to make a flat white for me even if it wasn’t on their menu. Their brew comes from Kalsada, a group of individuals who re passionate about connecting local coffee farmers to Manila’s growing coffee drinkers.
To match the drink (and to serve as my breakfast that day) I got a chocolate chip cookie. It was packed, thick, and dense. It was a good cookie but maybe it had a pinch too much of baking soda. For two cookies and my flat white, the bill was around P300. If you compare this price to the other restaurants/“cafes” around the area, it is definitely more pricey but that’s because they’re one of a kind in this area.
From what I’ve heard, they’ll be hosting a bunch of pocket events here and I would like to sign-up and a attend a few.
The Den is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11AM-9AM and Sunday from 11AM-6PM.