Industry

Route 196 Is Closing. Long Live Route 196

The familiar music bar, home to many OPM bands, is ending a 15-year run.
IMAGE Twitter screencap / from video by Regina Suarez
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Route 196, home of live music from some of the country’s best independent bands and artists, is closing its doors after 15 years. 

A tweet hinted at the bar’s closing, with a video of the words “All Roads Lead to Route 196” in its familiar sign flickering and then eventually going dark.

 

“Alas, we’re at the end of the road for Route 196,” the caption read.

In a message to Esquire, one of the former owners of the bar confirmed that the current owners decided to close the bar two weeks ago, mostly due to the crippling effects of the strict quarantines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two of the owners are Jugs Jugueta and Kelvin Yu of the band The Itchyworms. 

Route 196 has had a long and colorful history. What was once called Border Grill and Inihaw Republic (typical grill-type resto-bars) was re-christened Route 196 in 2006, and, since then, it’s become an essential venue for established and up-and-coming artists in Manila’s north. 

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As a parting gift, the bar is selling commemorative t-shirts for loyal patrons who have stuck by the venue for years.

 

“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,” it said.

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Long live Route 196.

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About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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