Coffee Shop Review: Tenant Manila Cafe and Surf Shop

From 2012 until mid 2016, I lived in San Antonio Village, Makati. Though not as posh as Salcedo or Bel-Air, this neighborhood is home to some of the most affluent families including the political clan of Binays. The roads in this area have gates, which they closed off at 10 in the evening. When it rains it gets easily flooded. If your mobile network is Globe you are in for some hassle as the signal in this area is very poor.  

But this residential village has a few surprises up its sleeve. It is home to many a restaurants and hip hangout places. In my 3 years in the area I never knew about this cafe sitting in Kamagong. Last weekend my friend, Alchris and I made the discovery after a quick early dinner in a nearby resto. It’s a concept store that sells surfing items with a cafe on the ground floor. It’s called, Tenant Manila Cafe and Surf Shop.

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It’s not an in-your-face surf shop in a sense that it is not overly promoted. The promotion, if we can call it that is subtle. There are posters on the wall with Surf is Dead captions. There is a clothes rack in the corner of the room with some tees of pastel colors hanging. And there’s this long table with magazines, decorative plants, and ceramic bowls with crushed corals. The shop is on the second level, which I deliberately didn’t check to prevent my tendency to do “accidental shopping”.

The coffee bar takes the far middle part of the room, a cube of unpainted concrete. There are only a few tables and most of them are occupied with people bent on their studies. You can say that it’s a good place to study because it’s quiet. It was a bit awkward for me to talk or make jokes because I was afraid that I’d disturb the other patrons.

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We limit our orders to drinks. I had Flat White, my friend had hot Mocha, both flavors go for PHP 140 (USD 2.79). The mocha tastes like a strong cocoa drink with a bitter aftertaste. The Flat White has a deep nutty flavor, strong and creamy.

My friend and I used to roam San Antonio Village in search for some new place to eat. Funny how time flies and how a few years can change you. San Antonio Village was a mute witness to my surrender with depression. This neighborhood didn’t see the best of me. It holds bittersweet memories that to this day trigger some deep feelings from me.

As I finished my cup, I did a silent toast to the place where I spent the most tumultuous years of my life. It was nice to go back and look at it like I’m seeing this place for the first time. It definitely feels good to make a new find. Tenant Manila Cafe and Surf Shop reminds me why San Antonio Village is one of the best spots in Makati.


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  1. The Tenant Manila Cafe looks like a great place to chill and work on blogs! I might here this weekend, maybe it’ll somehow make me feel motivated to write hehe.

  2. The Tenant looks like a cool place, to just relax with a cup of strong and steaming coffee. The fact that it is quite peaceful would help one ruminate on the state of affairs of the world without being disturbed 🙂 But on a serious note really good to chill out and have some quiet conversations.

  3. Coffee is <3 ! I think this place isn't for me if I am with my closest friends because we are a loud squad throwing jokes at each other every time. But if I am alone, this could be great for me. Having a sip of Flat White would be the best as I love the nutty taste in a coffee, well, it depends. As long as it is not as strong as hazelnut.

  4. I just love coffee and I loved this place! Their concept is so unique and the place is so cool, that it makes me want to try! I was in Manila for more than a week last year. Wish I knew it back then so that I could go!

  5. I am always intrigued by these designs that they make on the coffee. How conveniently they are able to draw on the surface of the liquid. The concept of this cafe looks very unique and inviting.

  6. As a bodyboarder I love this kind of concept, a place where we can go drink something and at the same time see the last news about surf. I can’t stop laughing with your tendency to do “accidental shopping.” 😀

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