Set right in the heart of Canal Street, Via is always a popular choice for those after something beyond the usual gay bar offerings. Attracting a slightly older crowd, it isn’t exactly classy, but in comparison to some of the camper bars nearby, it does offer a slightly more upmarket vibe.
With wooden floors, walls and furniture, the gothic interior acts as the perfect backdrop for relaxed drinks after work or cosy first dates. Intimate nooks and crannies combine with leopard print and cherubs to give Via its unique charm and set it apart from other Manchester pubs. Crucially, though, the décor sits just about within the right bounds of kitsch.
Cocktails are fairly priced, at £4.50 or £6.95 for two. For this price you’ll find nothing innovative, but firm favourites and easy drinkers like the fruity Little Miss Sunshine, which is a blend of vodka, mango and passion fruit puree, orange juice and lemonade. There’s also the mandatory sex on the beach and screaming orgasm, both of which can apparently only ever be ordered with a wink, a nudge and an awkward giggle.
The food menu is simple, following the standard chain pub format, but with a little of the finesse associated with somewhere more sophisticated. You’ll find a selection of sharing platters, salads, sandwiches, wraps, paninis and jacket potatoes, plus traditional dishes such as fish and chips, scampi and hunter’s chicken. Not much in the way of imagination, then, but decent value for money.
Alongside regular karaoke nights, Via also hosts ‘Drag Kings of Manchester’ on the last Sunday of every month. We’ll leave it to you to work out exactly what this entails.