When I first stormed by the indie music scene, this bar in the upper-terrain Blue Ridge was my first place-to-be. And why not? From my residence, it was just a mere 20-minute walk for me to reach there, unless I am lazy enough.
Established in 2006, Route 196 is tagged by many as the premier live music venue in the Northern side of Metropolitan. Located at just beside one the main gates of Blue Ridge Subdivision, it was barely accessible for every music lover, especially if a resident within the vicinity of Marikina-Project 4-Xavierville or studying at the Northern version of U-belt (UP and Ateneo).
Bands of all kinds – from the hippy indie youngsters to notable icons – play here from Tuesday to Saturdays (sometimes, they even had gigs on Mondays). Route 196 is also home to many production outfits like Red Ninja, Docdef, Indie Manila, The Rest Is Noise, A Spur Of The Moment, Pinoy Penguins; and also to musicians like Johnoy Danao, Ebe Dancel and Bullet Dumas.
In over ten years, Route 196 also housed past and present special programs such as Geek Fight, Elements Music Camp, Jack Daniels, JB Music, etc.
The venue may be relatively average by size, but enough to have the big night feel – from intimate stripped-down gigs to the mini-concert ones. Heck, expect a good size to super jam-packed crowd every time any of the notable prod sets their outing here.
Beers were served ice-cold at the price of 70 pesos; with cocktails served in their respective prices. And if you're not down with that, how about a can of your favorite softdrinks or iced tea as a better (and cheaper) alternative?
Their Deviled Chicken is so one-of-a-kind, that it's no surprise why it was their best-seller; and they even expanded the classic in the forms of burger and pizza. For just 285 pesos, you could enjoy the helluva-good dish by yourself – be it dinner, midnight snack, or just pulutan.
And if you're on a cheap thrill, a deviled tofu can help. Just the right one to fill the stomach while you sip your beverage.
The Tapsilog may be higher-priced compared to the other same dishes from other bars and food places, but rest-assured that the taste spells its value.
If you're not a fan of the full-house gigs, that could be a downside.
And the parking, too. But rest assured that the parking boys were always at your service to keep everything secured as possible.
Well, all of their staff were very friendly and accommodating. They could make you feel that you're at home in Route and that's exactly one of the reasons why I dig this place so much, from Ryan (formerly entrance guy now a waiter) to Marc, and their lead Madz.
No wonder why music lives here. You got a priceless-worth of service to compliment their value for food, drinks, and greater company. No question why despite a bit of difficulty in access to public transportation, (well, not really that hard unless you're a lazy bastard to walk at least 150 meters from Boni Serrano) Route 196 was a popular place in the northern metropolitan.
Route 196 is located at 196-A Katipunan Avenue, Blue Ridge Extension, Quezon City. Opens from Tuesdays to Thursdays, 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM, and Fridays to Saturdays, 6:00 PM to 3:00 AM. Visit facebook.com/route196rocks for more information, gig schedules and booking inquiries.