The Diabolical is a two-story nightclub in Malate run by the Trese family for three generations. Acting as a neutral ground for all tribes and clans, it serves as the base of operations of its current proprietress, Alexandra Trese, and is bartended by Hank Sparrow.
Creation and conception
When Marvel Knights launched in 1998, Budjette Tan pitched a story to Joe Quesada that had Shroud fight paranormal enemies beside the Brothers Grimm. In this pitch, Budjette had Shroud operate from The Night Shift, a bar he set in Los Angeles. This pitch was eventually rejected and shelved for some time.
Though the bar made its first appearance in the third published ashcan, plans for the Trese family's club in Malate had already started to be written as early as the development of At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street, incorporating the ideas he had from his previous pitch for Marvel Knights. Early notes from Budjette Tan show that other names considered for the bar's name were The Night Shift, carried over from the said pitch, and 13 o'clock. The bar was also almost named Trese, as an in-universe local slang for the latter name. Eventually, Budjette settled on naming the place The Diabolical.
Budjette intended for the bar to be Alexandra Trese's base of operations, akin to Batman's Batcave, that also served as "the crossroads of where our world and the underworld intersected." Influences for the bar included Amahl Farouk's bar from Uncanny X-Men as well as an amalgamation of bars Budjette and friends used to hang out in. This included Club Dredd, Euphoria, Gotham and especially The Verve Room. The latter's previous bartender, Hank Palenzuela, was also the basis for The Diabolical's own bartender, Hank Sparrow.
The Diabolical is a two story establishment, with a private room on the second floor. Built with a one-way mirror, the room is usually used by Alexandra Trese to keep watch over the bar. Directly below Alexandra's viewing window is the stage on which musical guests perform for the customers. Ten foot double doors serve as the club's entrance, letting the guests directly access the ground floor. Hank Sparrow tends to the bar on the right side of the floor, while six private alcoves line the left. These alcoves have velvet couches and pillows as well as a red curtain that could be drawn for privacy, but security cameras are installed for Alexandra to discretely watch for any suspicious activity.
The bar also has a cellar where the bar's wine is kept, including Alexandra's favorite red wine that she drinks before she goes to sleep. A ghost maintains the temperature of the cellar to optimally chill all the beverages at 13 degrees centigrade.
The Diabolical was first established by Alexander Trese as The Diabolical Cafe. The barako coffee they served had the reputation of being the best in town. The next caretaker, Anton Trese, ran the establishment as a restaurant.
At some point, the Agreements were discussed and codified inside the confines of The Diabolical, establishing it as neutral grounds. Over time, factions rejected its neutrality and raid the establishment as their expression of their rejection of authority.
Eventually, Alexandra inherited the property in a decrepit state. After some renovation, she turned The Diabolical into a bar as a means of profit and as a way to create a neutral place for all beings.
Currently, The Diabolical operates as a club, accommodating local party culture especially on Saturdays.
The Diabolical is known to be subject to constant repair from damages done by supernatural beings. Known instances of The Diabolical being damaged include:
- Ding Vargas punching a hole through the bathroom walls to escape killing Roberto Rodriguez.
- Bagyon Lektro busting through the roof to confront Alexandra on her altercation with Bagyon Kulimlim.
- A suicide bomber under the influence of Talagbusao detonating explosives while singing the National Anthem, destroying the Diabolical and nearly killing Hank.
- The bar's appearance on the cover of Trese: Stories from the Diabolical was based on the now defunct Amazonia Bar, located in Malate, by the intersection of Sta. Monica St. and M. H. Del Pilar St.. This appearance was canonized when the same image is included in a panel in Thirteen Stations.
- Afterword on Trese: Stories from the Diabolical Volume 1
- One Last Drink at the Diabolical
- I Carry Your Heart
- Night of the Creeps
- Embrace of the Unwanted
- Our Secret Constellation
- The Visions of Miranda Trese
- Our Secret Constellation