The Nightlife Industry in the Age of the Global Pandemic
loader image
The Current State Of The Nightlife Industry And How We Can Help

The Current State Of The Nightlife Industry And How We Can Help

Business & Career | September 22, 2020
  • 4

Being one of the industries that were first to shut down to moderate the spread of the virus, and most probably the last one to open up and go back to normal when restrictions ease up, the nightlife industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. With social interaction as one of the strongest pillars of its success, this current scenario of physical distancing poses an extra challenge on its struggle for a comeback.

While a lot of places sadly have had to permanently shut their doors due to operational costs, with time as the only thing that can tell if we will ever still get to see or visit those places again, there are still some establishments that chose to face this pandemic head-on. They say that businesses are like people–those who are quick to adapt to what’s happening will thrive, and while it is still a long way to get back to how the nightlife industry was performing, it is inspiring to see that more establishments are becoming more creative and pushing the boundaries of what was typically expected from the usual operations.

A consensus and forecast amongst industry insiders reveal that operations are not yet seen to go back to normal even by the first quarter of next year. Given this forecast, establishments-have had to quickly transform and shift their business models, some forced to do so in just a span of a week or two when normally these transitions properly happen in around a month or two.

How Bad did it Hit the Nightlife Industry?

It was unfortunate to see many people lose jobs due to the pandemic.

Historically, the summer season is a strong month for the nightlife industry, the other season being the holiday season. So, this hit a lot of businesses that were expecting the sales trend to be going up. Another unfortunate effect of the pandemic aside from not being able to operate is that almost all the establishments had to let their hardworking employees go. One of the biggest players in the game, The Palace Manila Group (@escapetothepalace) had to let go of around 400 employees according to its VP for Marketing, Alexandra Habaluyas. 

Hybrid Categories

Fortunately, there are players in the game with a hybrid category which is a bar and something else like Tipsy Pig (with several branches across Metro Manila), which is a famous watering hole and also dining venue, as well as Dirty Daddy, which is a bar and barbershop at the same time. These places could capitalize on the strengths of their hybrid side to compensate for the lack of movement from the bar operations.

Dirty Daddy, (@dirtydaddyph) a bar/barbershop in San Juan is diverting more efforts to their barbershop while giving away cocktails with their services to their patrons and charging them half price for the succeeding ones. They are also offering vouchers for sale on various e-commerce platforms that can be claimed when they open again. This is an initiative that aims to support their staff that lost their livelihood.

Profit lost from dinner service paved the way for Tipsy Pig to create breakfast options.

Tipsy Pig, (@tipsypig_ph) whose bulk of sales were mostly from dinner and after-dinner service was greatly hit with the curfew, is now planning on launching their breakfast operations in hopes of capturing that segment of the market. Tipsy Pig also pivoted to a delivery model using their employees and creating a small fleet to fulfill food orders from customers within the Metro.

The Shift to In-Home Consumption

Even with this adapting and despite the many on-ground efforts such as contact tracing and the implementation of safety measures, the challenge is that people seem to still not be comfortable with dining out or socializing outside of their homes. Given this, another drastic effort was needed for a lot of establishments now shifting the business model to the current consumer behavior from “going to a happening” to “the happening now being at home,” which is also timely since Metro Manila and a few other cities were just put back to MECQ, restricting establishments from accepting dining in customers.

Tipple Cafe’s takeaway service encourages patrons to enjoy their meals at the comfort of their homes.

Aside from the food that Tipple and Slaw (@tipplecafe) have, they are also launching their bottled cocktails to be available for home consumption that is available for takeaway. The Palace Manila Group recently launched its Liquor and Food Delivery website ( that compliments the series of shows they produce to stream online which showcases the Performances of their Resident DJs and MCs.

Thanks to Ms. Gee’s big batch bottled cocktails, parties at home feel closer to a night out at Poblacion.

Ms. Gee (@whoismsgee), a popular spot in Poblacion also started bottling their signature cocktails in big batches for takeaway and delivery. They also came up with essential merchandise like face-masks to sell during the pandemic.

Loft (@loftcafeph) and Almacen (@almacenph) two outlets of the Unit 27 Group have also launched their delivery services with not just food but food and liquor bundles for their customers.

Well-packaged cocktails like these from Oto continue the party mood that was almost lost during the pandemic.

OTO,( one of the most celebrated bars locally and named as one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars of 2019 is now letting their customers enjoy their award-winning cocktails and food via delivery through their website ( 

Even DJs who once kept us dancing all night long at clubs and bars now have now ventured into performing live sets done virtually. Some can be booked for 2-3 hour sets so you can enjoy their music for an intimate gathering at home. Bookable DJ Sets are available via

What’s in Store for the Future? 

While the current business models that the businesses are operating on is not even close to how revenue yields pre-COVID, it still is a step forward to the recovery of once vibrant and energetic energy, which seems to be taking a hiatus for now. We as consumers can all help by patronizing our local outlets or even by sharing information on social media or online to help get the word out because you might not be a customer now, but someone you share the information to might be.

Generally, the sentiments are optimistic. A lot believe that it is only a matter of time until the industry that doesn’t sleep wakes up again. And when it does, it will surely be one for the books. 

Editor’s Note: Since Franco’s assessment of what was once a bustling nightlife industry in the height of the pandemic, several changes have happened. But whether these changes are enough to sustain the industry is yet to be observed. We continue to support all efforts and celebrate the memories as we wait in bated breath for the return of the Manila night life we all love and know.

Related Articles
A well-known fixture in the nightlife industry, Franco and his successful business ventures have continued set high standards when it comes to serving Manila's night owls.
More from Franco Saycon
December 1, 2020 | 5 min READ is your all-in-one access pass to exclusive content from a wide variety of lifestyle experts, thought leaders, influencers and leading content creators here in the Philippines and around the world. is a prestige media brand of One Mega Group, Inc.


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Marga Medrano-Tupaz


FASHION Amina Arañaz-Alunan Jojie Lloren Robby Carmona Patty Ang Candy Dizon Francis Libiran | BEAUTY Dr. Vicky Belo Kim Reyes-Palanca Marie Lozano Firas Abboud Jude Hipolito and Rose Velasco (JuRo) Jigs Mayuga | LUXURY Bianca Salonga JP Tuason Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason Marlon Stöckinger | TRAVEL Vern Enciso Ferdi Salvador Marie Field-Faith | TECH & GADGETS Carlo Ople Enrique Miranda Gerry Sy | HOME & DESIGN Geewel Fuster Kitty Bunag Tessa Alindogan Vianca Favila | BUSINESS & CAREER Franco Saycon Venus Navalta Eric Dee Dr. Z Teo Pinky Tobiano Atty. Connie Aquino | ENTERTAINMENT Girlie Rodis MJ Marfori G3 San Diego Georcelle Dapat Sy / G-Force | FOOD & ENTERTAINING Aüa Chino Hernandez Happy Ongpauco-Tiu Nina Daza-Puyat Robby Goco JJ Yulo | PARENTING Cat Arambulo-Antonio Paulyne Fermin Michelle Aventajado Jerika Ejercito Aguilar Celine Gabriel Lim | FITNESS & WELLNESS Nadine Tengco Harvie de Baron Sara Black Arnold Aninion Teresa Herrera Anthon Tanya Aguila Simon Greatwich | WEDDINGS Marbee Shing-Go Amanda Tirol Charisse Tinio Jason Magbanua Gideon Hermosa Robert Blancaflor | YOUTH Chris Nick Milka Romero Miko Tiu Laurel Janeena Chan


SALES DIRECTOR Maureen Alexis Busto
Chloe Tapucar, Jasmine Co Leng, Ivan Panganiban,
Anna Chua, Lexi Malongga


Marketing Communication Manager Pam Rodriguez
Ad & Promo Manager Brent James Castro
Copywriter / Social Media Associate Rowan Palomares
Social Media AssociateKyla Nicole Taal
Multimedia Artist Agatha Romero
Producer Elishua Balinton
Video Editor Andrew Ciudad


Sr Video Editor Jasper Bermejo
Video Editors Kenneth Dimaano
Video Editor / Producer Regina Aceron
Audio Visual & Technical Assistant
Andrew Ciudad


Creative Services Supervisor Kristoff Sison
Multimedia Artists Gari Rivera, Elmer Pereira,
Niel Jhed Ibay
Copywriters Peaches Garcia, Althea Villanueva,
Roanna Alonzo,
Chad Losanta, Christina Zabat


Production & Logistics Manager ERICA LUNA
Booking Associate Mae Talaid, KZ Francisco
Pull Out Coordinator & Production & Logistics AssistantMJ Almero


Production and Studio Manager Ed Simon
Photographer Kieran Punay, Excel Panlaque
Final Artists Eric Gallego
Cameraman JR Ramirez


Sr Video Editor Jasper Bermejo
Video Editor / Producer Regina Aceron


AVP for MARKETING & PUBLISHING Marga Medrano-Tupaz
VP for CONTENT Peewee Isidro


PRESIDENT Suki Salvador
CHAIRMAN Archie Carrasco


AVP - Business Development Carmelli Daet


Head of Consumer Marketing and Circulations Arriane Sanchez
Consumer Marketing Associate Champ Bersales
Multimedia Artist Hilrey Batolan


HR Manager Mairen Buan
Organizational Development and HR Tech Supervisor Lorenzon Miguel Barbeyto
HR Supervisor Vanessa Orpilla
Sr Payroll Associate Angielica Baril
Recruitment Associate Michelle Grace Flores


Web Development Manager and MIS OIC  Carlo Tumaliuan
Web Developer Supervisor  King Villarta
Jr Web Designer  Jen-Lyn Dumlao
Senior IT Associate  Jomer Calleja


Admin & Purchasing Manager Avy Lagarto
Office Support Associate Jorean Ann Flores
Company Driver Bernard Dela Cruz


Legal Counsel Atty.   Homer Alinsug
OIC-Corporate Legal   Avy Lagarto


Finance Manager Rachel Cabagua
Finance Supervisor Janin Tabora
Credit & Collection Supervisor Nainine Buenaobra
Senior Treasury Associate Maileen Capilitan
Senior Accounting Associate John Dela Torre
General Accounting Associate Ruffa Dela Pena
Accounting Associate Zarah Mira


Head of Corporate Affairs and Business Expansion Rodolfo Palanca Jr.
Copy Chief Andrea Eliza Santos
Corporate Affairs Associate Margaux Pua
Creatives Associate Alecs Beltran


Chief Operating Officer Ma. Cecilia Ngo
Executive Assistant to the COO Thea Pamela So


Chairman & President Archie Carrasco