bars in Metro Manila

‘End of the road’: Iconic Quezon City bar Route 196 bids farewell

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The bar played host to a wide range of Filipino artists – from OPM icons to up-and-coming college bands

Route 196, a staple of the Metro Manila music scene, announced on Sunday, August 23, that it will be closing down.

“Alas, we’re at the end of the road for Route 196,” the bar’s management announced on social media.

“Route,” as most regulars and casual goers call it, is a bar located along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. It played host to countless gigs, with its distinct signboard announcing the night’s lineup – from icons in the Philippine music scene to up-and-coming college bands.

On most nights, Route would be packed to the brim, with patrons practically squished into another. But nobody seemed to mind because as the case usually was inside the Katipunan bar, the booze and food were good, the company among the best, and the music, unforgettable.

As a farewell to its patrons, the bar also announced that it’d be selling the Route 196 Farewell T-Shirt, designed by artist Rob Cham, at P850 a shirt.

“We may be walking towards a different direction for now, but we wanted to make sure you had something to always remind you of our crazy ride together, the things we learned, the noise we made, the rules we broke, and the friends we picked up along the way,” the bar’s management said.

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The shirt can be purchased via Manila Takeout, a design initiative that raises funds for restaurants struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. All of the proceeds from the sale of the shirt will be handed over to the establishment’s staff and service team.

Route 196 is only the latest Metro Manila bar to announce its closure during the coronavirus pandemic and the continued quarantines in place. Crowd favorites such as Nokal and Today x Future also closed shop after nearly 5 months in varying degrees of quarantine in Metro Manila. –

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