August 04, 2023 & August 18, 2023 |

 8:00 pm

 - 12:00 am

Genre(s): Alternative Rock

The Blue Rats are a Manila-based blues band that serves up a menu of straight-up electric blues, old-time R&B and blues-based music. Founded on the tradition of blues improvisation, the Rats mix up their sets, try not to play a song the same way twice and churn out unique versions of the songs they cover.The fact that some of the band’s members rotate on any given night assures a fresh sound, provides a hint of danger, and moves the musical goalposts up and down the field from one performance to another.

The Rats were founded in mid-1995 by three friends — Butch Roxas, a classical guitar professor at the UST Conservatory of Music, Apa Ongpin, a business executive, and Andy Locsin, an architectural design consultant. The current core lineup in rotation consists of Melinda Torre (also of Baihana, vocals), Mai Mislang (vocals), Jamie Wilson (vocals), Joey Puyat (Mother Earth and Kiss the Bride, guitar), Kedy Sanchez (Working Stiffs, vocals and guitar), Johnny Besa (The Breed, bass), Julius Lopez (Baihana, bass), Jong Cablitas (drums), Gilbert Asuque (The Bratpack, drums), Karmi Santiago (Baihana, drums), Tom Epperson (harmonica) and Andy Locsin (guitar).

Over the years, many talented musicians have been regular members of the band — about 41 players as of last count — something made possible because of the improvisational nature of the music. Even more remarkable is is the range of musicians that have jammed, performed onstage, or done time in the studio with the band — a virtual who’s who of Pinoy blues, rock and jazz: Mike Hanopol and Joey ‘Pepe’ Smith (Juan de la Cruz), Sampaguita, Jun Lopito (Cociojam, Bodhisattvas), Chikoy Pura and Nitoy Adriano (the Jerks), Dondi Ledesma (Wally Gonzales band), Miyakee de Castro (Sampaguita), Binky Lampano, Edwin Vergara, Tom Colvin, Edmund ‘Bosyo’ Fortuno, Norman Belardo (Advent Call) and many more.

Twenty two years later, close to a 200-song menu, an ever-evolving roster, and an unwavering commitment to fly the blues flag, the Rats continue to plug in at venues in and around Manila.

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    Booking Terms and Conditions

    Reservations are not confirmed until 1) acknowledged by Handlebar management as a pending booking, and 2) payment for the reservation is made.

    Reservations booked via the Handlebar seat/table reservation system are automatically confirmed unless otherwise advised by Handlebar management. 


    Reservation payments are consumable, except during designated major events. During these events, a portion will be consumable depending on the event.

    1. Event Reservation:
    • For a private event, the pool table area, rear area, or main bar can be closed to the public (except for access to comfort rooms, etc.)
    • Events are on a per head basis, catered, & with drink verification via wristbands or other means.
    • Events must be pre-planned with our manager, chef, and event coordinator.
    • Reservations will not be available for dates clashing with major events.


    1. Table Booking:
    • A table can be booked for a period of time.
    • Table reservation charges will be based on the no. of seats, not the no. of expected guests.
    • Customers making a reservation will need to supply the no. of guests and a second contact number.
    • Customers expecting a small number of guests will not be able to book larger tables.
    • Other customers may use the table up to 1 hour before the reservation time and will be asked to relocate 15 minutes before the reservation time.
    • If the group has not arrived by the reserved time, they will be reminded via phone call of the 15-minute grace period. Beyond this period, Handlebar reserves the right to give the table to other customers.
    • If a reservation has timed out and been given to others, the group making the booking will be accommodated within the availability of seating. The consumable portion of the reservation will still be consumable.
    • During major events, a premium reservation price of over 1 beer per seat will apply.


    1. Seat Booking:
    • During popular events where there are tables booked, a 3-4 seat table will be reserved for Seat Bookings.
    • A seat may be booked for a consumable reservation charge worth 2 beers.
    • Seat bookings must be made at least 4 hours before the event. Otherwise, the table is made generally available.
    • Seat bookings will not be allowed during major events. However, reservations to enter can be made on a standing room basis.


    1. Major Events:
    • Major events will be announced at least one week prior.
    • Major international events (ie., AFL, NRL, Super Rugby Finals, Rugby Test matches) starting between 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM will be assessed individually as to whether they will be classed as major events.
    • Pacquiao matches (if he ever fights again) and any future UFC boxing crossovers are likely to be major events.