Drinking on Canal Street

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Canal Street, Manchester, United Kingdom

Drinking on Canal Street Manchester Reviews

skiathos skiathos
31 reviews
Drinking on Canal Street Jun 26, 2011
One of the most lively, characterful and charming areas of the City Centre, the Gay Village is, as the name suggests, popular with gays, trans-genders, cross dressers and broader minded straight people.

The epi-centre of this gay cultural haven is Canal Street, aptly situated next to the historic Rochdale Canal and in good weather you can enjoy your white wine spritze, overlooking the waterway, at one of the many pavement tables which line this leafy boulevard.

Opposite the rows of pavement tables, a curious mix of individual restaurants, bars and clubs rise up loud and proud from Manchester’s vintage cobbles, filling the entire length of this rainbow-flagged street, which stretches from Minshull to Princess Street.

Hetero-friendly, go there if you enjoy good food, clubbing, friendly and diverse company. Don’t go, if you are a small minded bigot or just wanting to gawp at people whose lifestyle choices are different to your own.

Tip - Always ask before taking drinks outside from the bar. They have to be de-canted into plastic drinking vessels; it is illegal to take glasses outside on the street. Dress - smartcasual/trendy.

Most Recommended - Velvet restaurant and lounge-bar (north end of Canal Street), Via Fosse bar and club (south end of Canal Street).

Nearby Hotel – The Days Hotel, Sackville Street. Weekend doubles from £50 per night, at time of writing.

Summer v. Winter – Can drink outside until 10-11pm, weather and local bar policy permitting, home to colourful and engaging events such as Manchester’s famous Gay Pride Festival in August v. confined to the indoors, with a nice cozy atmosphere, particularly late November /Christmas time. Manchester’s nearby German Christmas markets commence mid/late November.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Drinking on Canal Street on sunny summer evenings Feb 17, 2010
Canal Street is one of the few places in Manchester with outdoor tables for drinking, which is good to know if the sun shines. The heart of the gay community, there is a wide range of bars and clubs here, ranging in prices and with varying approaches to table service. This review is specifically about drinking here on a sunny, summer evening outside, as the area slightly changes character once it gets dark and in winter. I’m also reviewing the street rather than individual bars, because frankly, I don’t know which bar I’m at half the time. I’m sitting at a table and a nice waiter brings me drinks and takes money, so it matters less which individual bar they come from – obviously this is different when it’s colder and you drink inside, because the décor matters more.

This is a very inclusive area, and although the pubs are decked in rainbow flags and adverts for Drag Queen Cabaret acts, there are plenty of girls on hen nights and tourists looking for a nice spot in the sun here in the early evenings. The two main advantages in getting a drink here rather than going out to Deansgate are that Canal Street is slightly closer to the city centre and China Town, and that it has a more laid back, pleasant atmosphere than Deansgate Locks. Deansgate is more chain-pub orientated and you are also significantly less likely to bump into loud crowds of shouty, aggressively drunk men in Canal Street at this time of day. Canal Street is Victorian architecture rather than regenerated modern architecture, and the narrower road means it is less loud overall than Deansgate too. The tables are arranged in a thin band alongside the canal and it is a lovely sun trap.

By and large, people who drink here are friendly. When I left my jacket behind someone tucked it behind the bar for me. Prices are about average for city centre Manchester. Although I think some of the bars do food, I’ve never seen anyone eating outside. But you’re about five minutes from China Town and there are some good chip shops in the street behind this one.

As the evening progresses, there is some great people watching here. The area is a major clubbing district, and attracts hen dos as well as people coming in for the gay clubs , karaoke bars and cabarets.

In August, Canal Street really comes alive for one of Europe’s biggest Pride events; at this point a lot of places become ticket only.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
sarahelaine says:
Quite an experience! Actually, one of the attractions of Canal Street (and I know I'm a girl) is that you are almost never asked which football team you support, so you don't have to think of a safe team (I tend to claim to be a Swindon fan if pushed!). But I really think it's only fair to warn people where they are - I have seen guys gradually realise whilst in the middle of telling homophobic jokes and it's like the live action version of a bad sitcom.
Posted on: Jun 25, 2010
sarahelaine says:
must have been an interesting night though!
Posted on: Jun 25, 2010

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