Arts & Culture


Some nights we wish it never stops. But unfortunately, five months in lockdown and we’ve lost once again a piece of our culture with the closing of Route 196.

/ 25 August 2020

After 15 years, we arrived at the end of Route 196. Once haven for those nights that just won’t end. Missing all the cheers, the best of our companies, the raving crowd, the good food and the overflowing drinks, and most importantly, the celebration of local music⁠—it all has to park now as we bid farewell to one of the cultural hotspots in Manila.

Route 196, or mostly known as Route among its casuals, joins the likes of the Metro’s recently-closed go-tos for good music and fun nights including Nokal, Polilya, and Today X Future. The pressures of quarantine have led many businesses to a fallout and unfortunately Route was not able to dodge the loss caused by the 5-months-and-counting lockdown.

The Katipunan bar has been a playground for music enthusiasts and budding artists that all revel in the abundance of local music and talent. Emotions kept pouring in on social media as they announced the closure on Aug. 23 with a sentimental post that leads us nowhere but to nostalgic reminiscing of those treasured moments that bands, artists, and dreamers all shared.

The bar has been a host for many musicians that varies from veterans to aspiring artists to share their music freely in front of a loving crowd. Its resounding name has reached far across the Metro making it one of the dream stages for many who wanted to pursue their passions in music. Because of this, its magnitude has only made it a cultural hub that breeds talents and connects like-minded people for a more collaborative and engaging environment. It’s become more than just your typical bar and instead a place to cultivate homegrown talent.

But Route is not leaving without sharing with us a piece of their legacy. Through Manila Takeout, a design initiative that helps raise funds for struggling restaurants and bars affected by the pandemic, you can purchase a shirt designed by Rob Cham to commemorate its legacy. The shirt priced at P850 pays homage to its iconic logo that brings you back to those crazy nights. All proceeds of the Route 196 Farewell Shirt will go to their staff and service team. 

Route 196 may be closing but its memories won’t fade in its distance. The noise it has made will always ring in the local music scene.