INSPIRATION takes form in different ways. It could be a person, a place or in some cases, an artifact. Case in point, a fondness for a Buddha statue seen in China a year ago led to the creation of a cultural hub in Cebu known as The Monastery.

Aside from the statue, the name of the place and concept was inspired from a historical fact regarding “Bières d’Abbaye” or Abbey beers which were brewed by monks.

It’s located at the Veteran’s Drive in Apas, Lahug, Cebu City, and with the two striking six-meter buddha statues (also from China) planted outside, it’s impossible to miss. The all-white laid-back locale also has a colonial facade to it and features an indoor bar and an al fresco dining area, with a stage for guest performers which can be raised for a better view for the audience.

The Monastery opened its doors to the public last March 26 and made waves by holding a concert featuring reggae/pop sensation Big Mountain. Since then, it has been one of the prime spots in the city that holds concerts featuring not just international but also local artists from singers to beat boxers among other performers.

Much like the setting, the food at The Monastery is as easygoing as can be in a sense that the al fresco area of the place is set resembling that of a night market. People have the option to choose from the menu or stroll through the food stations.

The cuisine is a mix of Italian, Arab and Filipino with dishes like grilled fish and grilled chicken skewer as well as pastas like the bolognese and carbonara and pizzas like vegetarian, margarita, three cheeses and sausage pizza to name a few. Other eats include sisig and authentic shawarma.

Apart from the cocktails and wines, The Monastery also offer homebrewed artisan beers at very affordable prices like its blonde lager befittingly known as the Buddha Beer, the white beer called White Lady and three more on the lineup namely Bière de Garde, a beer with hints of honey and peppercorn, the Dark Lager, and a fruity beer with mango being the main ingredient known as Cebu Beer.

Locals have a lot to look forward to as there’s always something different happening every day of the week like acoustic tunes on Thursdays known as Snug & Cozy, a night of soul, jazz and bossa sessions on Wednesdays called Fluid Motion and Extended Play on Fridays among others which is a live music soirée featuring local artists.

The Monastery is open from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. from Mondays through Thursdays and 5 p.m. until 3 a.m. from Fridays through Sundays.