Quarantine is hitting bars the hardest. Buy a graphic tee to save them

Published August 24, 2020, 2:34 PM

by Kerry Tinga

Manila Takeout’s latest release features eye-catching designs that support local bars, including the recently closed Route 196 and Today x Future

Earlier this month, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle talked to Monica Magsanoc and Audrey Mooney on how their initiative supports local restaurants, with a creative Filipino flair. These are businesses that are hit especially hard by the pandemic. Through Manila Takeout, patrons can purchase cool tees designed by local graphic artists. The proceeds made from each ₱850 t-shirt sold are donated to the restaurants and their respective service teams.

For their third release, Manila Takeout partnered Filipino graphic designers with iconic local bars.

These were once the places people would come together to unwind after a stressful workweek, catch up with friends, or end the evening with a nightcap. Now their nights are quiet, the spaces empty. 

One of the bars, Today x Future, had to close an outfit due to the effects of the pandemic. Another, Route 196, has just announced it will be closing its doors after 15 years. 

“Until we can get drinks together, drinks on us,” Manila Takeout coyly posts on Instagram.

“We wanted to create an ecosystem of collaboration, one where restaurants are able to work with some of Manila’s most incredible artists, and where artists have the opportunity to create lasting designs for iconic Philippine restaurants,” 24-year-old investment analyst Audrey told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle in the earlier interview.

Below, we highlight the “takeout” merchandise you can buy to support local bars:

Route 196

On Sunday, Aug. 23, the iconic Quezon City venue announced on Instagram that it would be closing its doors. Route 196 was known as a staple of the Metro Manila young music scene. Its location, along Katipunan, consistently drew in a crowd of college students and fresh graduates looking for a cheap beer and a good time. On their post, indie darling Clara Benin expresses how heartbroken she is to hear the news.

Route 196’s farewell t-shirt is made in collaboration with Manila Takeout. It features a comic illustration by National Book Award winner Rob Cham that encapsulates the vibrancy of the bar.

“I had a lot of good memories at Route 196. Met a lot of good friends there, discovered new bands to love, got drunk, and threw up somewhere as we all have,” says the designer. “I love Route 196 and I kinda just wanted to show people what I miss about it.”

Today x Future

Nearing its 12th anniversary, Today x Future took the difficult decision to close their Cubao dive bar. For over a decade, the space was an LGBTQ+ haven that attracted young creatives and free people. But not one to give up without a fight, since the closure on June 18, the business has been operating from their Poblacion outfit, Futur:st. They also have been hosting popular online shows to keep the much-needed energy of Today x Future alive in these trying times.

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We love you. We thank you. We will miss you ❤️

A post shared by Today X FUTURE (@todayxfuture) on

Bad Student, an acclaimed art press and studio, designed the Today x Future shirt. They recount that their old studio was located right by the iconic bar.

“We would always mention Today x Future whenever someone asked us where we were located,” the Bad Student team says. “People would instantly recognize the place.”

The Bowery

The Bowery is known for bringing authentic NYC comfort food and drinks to BGC. It is also known for its great music. Even in quarantine, it keeps the party going with Spotify playlists curated by top Filipino creatives, including Katsu, the DJ name of entrepreneur Katrina Razon, and fashion designer Sassa Jimenez.

Manila-based graphic designer Elbert Uba designed The Bowery’s shirt, translating the disco vibes into a funky graphic.

“The piece was inspired by the kind of music they play,” says the designer. “I looked for inspiration in album covers of disco, Motown, ’70s to early ’90s, and house music.”

The Curator

The Curator has consistently been ranked in the top 50 best bars in Asia, and the best bar in the Philippines, by the World’s 50 Best. We cannot wait till we can frequent its sleek, minimalist space for coffee and craft cocktails. Until then, we can settle for takeout.

Filipino painter, illustrator, and advertising creative Cj de Silva-Ong designed The Curator’s shirt. She is perhaps best known for designing the cover of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s book, Stupid is Forever

“One thing I love about The Curator is its ability to transform from day to night,” CJ says. “To visualize the duality, I used the familiar Curator window as a framing device.”


Booze, brews, beats, and bites. That is how OTO characterizes itself. It is a unique space in Poblacion that is internationally recognized for its craft cocktails and vinyl collection.

Edsa, design collaboration between Sai Villafuerte and Kat Fernando, designed OTO’s shirt. “We sought to develop a design evoking the parallels between cocktails and music, two things OTO is known for,” says the duo.

The shirts, priced at ₱850 each, are available for pre-order at www.manilatakeout.com. All proceeds go to the restaurants and their respective service teams.