All Mancs know that Canal Street offers one of the best nights out in the city, and one particular bar has stood the test of time for almost three decades.
Via, right in the midst of the city’s LGBTQ+ heartland, has been part of Manchester’s epic nightlife scene ever since it opened in 1995.
It’s an institution of the Gay Village and is still serving up massive nights out when other bars in the area have shut their doors for good.
The secret to its success boils down to a perfect formula of live entertainment, food, outside space and fabulous interiors, all immortalised through groundbreaking TV shows like Queer as Folk and Cucumber.
Via was once a former carpet warehouse, but all those years ago was transformed into a gay bar, then known as Via Fossa.
Its decor was inspired by Irish pubs, hence all the ornate, church-like wood and chandeliers, and although Stonegate have made a few changes since they took over in 2016 (a new bar here, a new seating area there), the bones and the soul of the venue haven’t changed a jot.
Here, it’s all about the live experience, especially the drag cabaret Via is famed for.
Sometimes that takes the shape of a tribute act – you’ll find the likes of ‘Madonna’ and ‘Cher’ parading around this legendary venue.
Other times it’s actual famous faces, which have included in recent times, or will include in the coming months, drag legend and star of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Danny Beard, Claire Richards from pop group Steps, Mutya Buena from Sugababes, Christina Bianco, Black Peppa, and X Factor’s Sam Bailey.
And it attracts its fair share of famous punters too – Fred Again, one of the hottest names in music right now who will headline Parklife in the summer, was partying in here with Romy from The XX not too long ago, documenting it all on his Instagram page.
The inclusive and safe hotspot has been part of Canal Street’s vibrant nightlife scene for longer than almost any other bar. The only places that have been here longer are the New Union, REM Bar, and Cruz 101.
Mike Mitchell, general manager of Via, has ploughed masses of time and energy into the bar’s live entertainment, and has done since the minute Covid restrictions eased in 2021.
He wanted performers to be able to get straight back on to the stage after so many months without live work, and supercharged Via’s programme with cabaret shows all throughout the week.
Arguably its best night of the week is Sundays, when it’s a full cabaret show with around six acts in one night.
House acts Ky Kelly, Miss Penny, and Shania Pain are joined by other musical performances, with free entry and live entertainment for hours and hours.
During the daytimes, it’s a more relaxed pub-like atmosphere, with a menu that includes stone-baked pizzas, burgers, winges and loaded fries.
Describing the bar, Mike went for one word – ‘epic’, and who could possibly argue with that?
Featured Image – The Manc Group
Manchester dentist loved by celebs is knocking £1000 off popular Invisalign treatment
A luxury dentist in Manchester is offering Invisalign treatment with a massive saving this month.
Ruh Dental, which counts the likes of Molly-Mae Hague and Helen Flanagan as patients, will be offering packages with more than £1000-worth of savings.
The special offer is part of the boutique dental practice’s Invisalign Open Week, with discounts on the hugely popular clear brace system which straightens teeth discreetly.
Most cases are able to be completed within six months, with noticeable differences in just three months.
Invisalign can close gaps, and fix overbites and misaligned teeth with less clinic visits than traditional ‘train track’ braces.
Anyone who books in for a consultation and takes up treatment during Invisalign Open Week will save over £1000, thanks to a free consultation (worth £75), free 3D digital scan and simulation of your teeth (worth £300), £400 off aligners, free Vivera Retainers worth £500, and free teeth whitening worth £175.
The open week will run between 29 March and 5 April, with the offer valid for five days after the consultation.
Ruh Dental is based in the heart of Spinningfields and is trusted by the likes of Jill Scott, Helen Flanagan and Olivia Attwood.
The private practice has no waiting lists, with patients seen ASAP, and focuses on restorative and cosmetic procedures.
Its dental team is led by the award-winning Dr Billal Arshad, an expert in his field who trains colleagues nationally and internationally and is famed for his attention to detail and artistic flair.
Another Ruh Dental deal currently running is a Mother’s Day offer, where you can claim a free afternoon tea at The Ivy and a free hygiene appointment when you refer your mum for an appointment with Dr Arshad.
The former university campus that’s now one of Manchester’s coolest and greenest places to live
The transformation that’s taken place in parts of Manchester in recent years is staggering, from huge skyscrapers to ultra-modern office blocks – but it’s part of the old university campus that’s gone undergone the most impressive makeover of all.
There’s obviously the restaurant and bar scene that’s taking shape around the central garden, which shows off some of the city’s best operators.
But residents of the beautiful and modern apartments also have access to a gym that rivals the commercial gyms in town, a cinema room, private dining spaces and terraces.
The food and drink scene at Kampus
Kampus has already drawn on some seriously big local names from around Greater Manchester, with plenty more to come.
Nell’s – the New York-style pizzeria from the team behind Common & Co – was in first, with its huge, glass-fronted restaurant and bar.
Then came more – Yum Cha, with its incredible menu of dim sum; Beeswing, where it’s all about the wine and the small plates; Pollen, the award-winning bakery with giant loaves and perfect croissants.
Most recently, Great North Pie joined the Kampus neighbourhood, serving its incredible pies that are stuffed with ingredients from around the north west.
And the hoardings are up for others still to come, like queer cocktail den Red Light and the new ‘creative destination’ Maker’s Quarter.
The amenities at Kampus
Renting a flat at Kampus doesn’t just get you a flat (though, those are pretty special) – it also gets you access to all the amenities built here by developers Capital & Centric and HBD.
Residents can rent out the private cinema room for movie nights or to watch major sporting fixtures with friends and family.
There are also private dining spaces to help you step up your dinner party game (we all know the struggles of trying to host a big dinner in a one-bedroom apartment), which has a high-spec kitchen as well as huge dining tables.
The lounges and terraces around Kampus are there for residents to socialise and relax together, including rooftop spaces.
At ground level, it’s all about the canal-side garden that’s open to all and surrounded by restaurants, bars and cafes. Huge green plants pour out over the footpaths and benches and in summer, the garden is always hosting some sort of pop-up event.
And there’s Little David Street, a once-forgotten cobbled street that was closed completely for over a decade, but is now restored to even-better-than-its-former glory and steadily filling up with cafes.
The Kampus apartments in Manchester
Kampus has five pet-friendly buildings centred around the garden, each one offering something a little different.
The Grade II-listed Minshull Warehouse was once a Victorian shipping warehouse, now turned into an apartment building that still shows off its original features. There are similar homes in the Minto & Turner historic red-bricked warehouse.
The original 1960s tower block has been upgraded – ‘a tamed brutalist beast’ – with modern interiors but still original touches like exposed concrete and original waffle ceilings.
Then there are the North and South blocks, the former topped with a rooftop village of Dutch houses that have transformed the skyline.