Co-owners of Route 196, the recently-closed famed bar in Katipunan, thanked its patrons who supported the venue during its 15 years of operation.
The day after the announcement of the closure, Itchyworms member Jugs Jugueta shared a tribute on his Instagram account on Monday where he recalled their initial dreams for the bar.
“We played in @route196rocks even before it was called Route 196. @itchykel (Kelvin Yu) and I took over the operations back in 2013, when @jpb1974 (JP Balboa) offered it to us,” he wrote, referencing bar co-owner and fellow The Itchyworms member Kelvin Yu.
“It was our passion project; our way of giving back to the local indie music scene, which was very supportive of @theitchyworms (Itchyworms) when we were just starting out,” Jugueta added.
“We wanted a venue where new bands could play their original songs and hopefully find their niche in the industry. We wanted a place where musicians, artists and like-minded individuals could hang out and maybe collaborate,” he further wrote.
Jugueta then thanked the patrons of the bar, as well as its staff, the music artists, people in the production and the bar’s former and current partners for making it alive.
“Thank you to everyone who has ever set foot inside our little second home. Thank you to our staff who have been with us through the years. Thank you to all the artists who played inside (and outside). Thank you to all the prods! Thank you to all the past and present partners,” he said.
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We played in @route196rocks even before it was called Route196. 💙 @itchykel and I took over the operations back in 2013, when @jpb1974 offered it to us. It was our passion project; our way of giving back to the local indie music scene, which was very supportive of @theitchyworms when we were just starting out. We wanted a venue where new bands could play their original songs and hopefully find their niche in the industry. We wanted a place where musicians, artists and like-minded individuals could hang out and maybe collaborate. Plus, the deviled chicken is really, really very yummy! 😋 Thank you to everyone who has ever set foot inside our little second home. Thank you to our staff who have been with us through the years. Thank you to all the artists who played inside (and outside). Thank you to all the prods! 🙏🏼 Thank you to all the past and present partners. @tmacvibe @sultada @wacomapua @neekelita. ❤️ All things must pass. Long live @route196rocks! 🙏🏼 • #ThankYouRoute196 #itchywormsTHROWBACK
Yu in a series of tweets likewise said that they were “overwhelmed” by the responses of people after the announcement of the closure.
“We’re just happy to have made somewhat of a mark in the local music scene by providing a venue where everyone can share and experience music,” he wrote on Monday morning.
“Thank you to my wonderful partners: Jugs, TedMark, Saul, Nicole, and Waco Mapua. Thank you also to Route 196’s pioneer Jonathan Paul P. Balboa for passing on the torch to us and entrusting us with this baby of his,” Yu added.
“Thank you to our hardworking and loyal employees, Madz, Tolits, Ryan, and Dennis. And last but most definitely not the least, maraming maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga artists, musicians, and gig goers na sumuporta, tumugtog, tumambay, kumain, at uminom sa Route 196—thank you from the bottom of our hearts, it’s you guys who kept the place alive all these years,” he further wrote.
Local musicians also paid tribute to the bar on their respective social media accounts.
Route 196 is a famed live music venue for various artists in the music industry, be it original Pinoy music icons, indie musicians or up-and-coming college bands.
Among the musicians who commemorated the bar include Ben&Ben‘s percussionist Andrew de Pano, indie rock band Lola Amour, alternative rock band One Click Straight, Cheats vocalist Saab Magalona and singer Keiko Necesario, among others.
Iba talaga yung Route. For so many musicians, it's where we honed our craft of performing. For many music lovers, it's where we found home. It never mattered if there were 3 people watching or 200, it always felt like home. You'll be missed, Route196. 😭
My first R196 gig, 2013. pic.twitter.com/dviKVPW2Tg
— Andrew De Pano (@andrewdepano) August 24, 2020
— Lola Amour (@lolaamourmusic) August 24, 2020
r o u t e 1 9 6
The Midnight Emotion album launch, the Harana Coma EP launch and so many other memorable shows were done in this place. Thank you Route 196 for all the rad times.
— One Click Straight (@oneclkstraight) August 24, 2020
Cheats’ music video for Daze is a love letter to the gig scene that turned our lonely days into less lonely nights. I dedicate this to one of our beloved gig venues that has permanently shut its doors. We’ll never forget @route196rocks. Full video here: https://t.co/85izqKF2o2 pic.twitter.com/lyGEkezSK4
— Saab (@saabmagalona) August 24, 2020
So much memories to remember @route196rocks 🥺 Isa sa mga lugar kung saan ako ay nangarap, nalunod sa musika kasama ang mga kaibigan sa industriya at mga sumusuporta. Isa kayo sa mga lugar na nagmahal sa akin, sa amin! Salamat! Hay. 💚💚💚
— KEIKO NECESARIO (@KeikoSoundsLike) August 24, 2020
‘End of the road’
Route 196 on Sunday night revealed that it was at the “end of the road.”
As a farewell to its beloved patrons, it released a t-shirt that honors the Katipunan-based bar which was designed by artist Rob Cham.
“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 announced on its Facebook.
The shirt can be purchased through Manila Takeout, a design initiative that aims to raise funds for restaurants struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Route 196 is located along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. It was initially a grill-type resto-bar called Border Grill and Inihaw Republic before it became Route 196 in 2006, according to Esquire Philippines.
The bar played host to countless music gigs and honed local musicians who eventually became big names in the industry.
Esquire additionally notes that it was “an essential venue for established and up-and-coming artists in Manila’s north.”
Route 196 is the latest bar to have shut down amid the global health crisis that has challenged businesses. Last June, Cubao-based resto-bar Today x Future closed its doors after operating for almost 12 years.