Inspiration
Club Owner Erik Cua On Big Ideas and Starting Young
The man behind Palace Pool Club, Revel, Valkyrie, 71 Gramercy, among others talks about building a business and his most memorable trips.
IMAGE Ian Castañares
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You’ve been at the forefront of Manila's club scene for the past decade. How did the idea first form in your mind?
I noticed a void in the clubbing industry in 2003 when I had Temple Bar in Greenbelt. It was all bars and no clubs then, so I decided to put up Embassy in 2004. I don’t think my vision will ever be fully realized because there are always new ideas and concepts in my industry, and I will always want to be at the forefront.

You started in business quite young. What are the most important things you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
I’ve learned quite a lot since I started back when I was 20. Find the right partners. Location is always key. Don’t be too attached to anything. Diversify. And inspiration is important.

How do you get ideas, inspiration for your venues?
Traveling. I look at new concepts around the world.

Favorite watering hole in the world?
Lily & Bloom in Hong Kong.


Erik Cua at 71 Gramercy

Favorite clubs?
XS, Hakkasan, and the Light, which are all in Las Vegas, and Pacha in Ibiza.

Drink of choice?
Single-malt Scotch.

Music on your personal playlist?
Indie and new disco.

What time do you usually go to bed?
Around 3 to 4 a.m.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
At least eight.

How do you relax?
I watch movies, go to a spa, drive out of town, and travel.

What would people be most surprised to find out about you?
I have stage fright.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Thinking of a great new concept and brainstorming about it with trusted friends, or driving out of town to relax.

In Saint-Tropez with friends

Pet peeves?
The wrong type of music playing at an establishment.

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Biggest guilty pleasure?
Cheesy pop music.

What’s one thing you wish most people would do more often?
Try new things.

What’s the funniest thing you've seen today?
My dog.

How would you describe your personal style?
Classic casual.


Piece of clothing that’s a style staple?
Brown leather shoes.

Favorite brands: clothes?
Diesel, G-Star.

Shoes?
Paul Smith.

Watch?
Audemars Piguet, Rolex, IWC.

Books you’re currently reading?
I don’t read books. I only look at design and architecture books, and read car magazines.

Most memorable trips?
My first Electric Daisy Carnival music festival in Vegas years ago, and my first time in Ibiza.

Comfort food?
Japanese.

What gets you excited the most?
A new project.

What’s on your bucket list?
Have kids. Does that count?

Complete this sentence: I like my job, but I’d rather be?
A family man.

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About The Author
Jacs T. Sampayan
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