All this week we’re celebrating Kampus in Manchester, a distinctive new neighbourhood filled with great people, more than 500 apartments across an eclectic mix of buildings, independent eateries, drinking holes and shops – all centred around lush gardens.
Kampus gives independent operators a platform and a place in which to offer their unique food and drink concepts to the city. In the first of two blogs we ask you to raise your glass to two of Kampus’ best bars, Beeswing and Red Light, as their respective owners tell us more about their place in the city’s newest neighbourhood.
Anna Tutton knows her wine. The founder of wine shop Vin-yard, Anna teamed up with business partner Joe Maddock, of West Didsbury Pinchos fame to establish Beeswing, a new wine bar and kitchen concept at Kampus. Here, Anna tells us more about her venture and expanding her menu to offer something for everyone.
“Kampus has so much appeal; just look around and see the community we have here. It’s a cool new area of town that celebrates independents and I knew it was the right place for Beeswing.
“Our vision for a new wine bar for Manchester’s been a reality here since last summer, and I’m proud as I watch customers sitting on our beautiful terrace, overlooking the gardens and immersing themselves in the unique neighbourhood around them.
“A year in and it’s as I’d hoped. I wanted somewhere that would allow me to share my love of wine, although I’ve admittedly grown from that starting point, evolving our menu to offer something for everybody; beer, cocktails, bar food, with carefully picked additions that appeal to everyone.
“We invested in a design concept that would mirror the environment around us. As a small independent so we didn’t have a huge budget to transform this empty shell. We kept the design raw and minimal which as well as helping costs, really delivered the surroundings I wanted. We adopted the contemporary style you find around Kampus but bringing in soft features like the cushions in our comfortable sofas on the terrace.
“I want everyone to feel comfortable in our space – whether they’re sipping a delicious wine, while dressed up for a night out – or throwing back a beer on a chilled Sunday in their flip flops, with their dog. My motto is all our welcome!
“There are so many great things about Kampus. I feel like I’m in New York! We’ve got a mixed crowd, we’re so well-located, and of course the business community where everyone’s independent and truly cares about what they’re offering to the world.”
Beeswing will host the Rose Festival on Saturday 29th July, giving guests the chance to enjoy 30 rose wines in the Kampus gardens, with a chanteuse treating everyone to French-inspired music. Find out more about this, and other wine tasting events throughout 2023 here.
Deana Thomas opened Kampus’ newest bar in May 2023. Red Light was described in the press as a space which “gives an ode to the area’s former life as the hidden red-light district”. Here, Deana talks about realising that concept and getting to know her new neighbours.
“The idea for Red Light was to establish a queer, almost secretive, speakeasy cocktail space. I thought that Manchester’s much-loved Gay Village would be the perfect home, but I couldn’t find the right space on that side of the canal.
“A friend suggested Kampus and the rest as they say is history – it’s the perfect base to unleash our vision of a great cocktail bar to meet up with friends before a big night out in the village.
“Our offering is a table-service cocktail menu. We specialise in Martinis, but it’s much more than that, with a well-researched, vast cocktail offering that ensures everyone can enjoy themselves.
“The aesthetics play as much a part as the menu itself, and we drew inspiration from the old red-light district of the 1950s. We wanted to create somewhere fun, somewhere premium. We’ve embraced the exposed brick and original features that make this space distinctive, while adorning the walls with bold artworks and newspaper cuttings that reflect on the narrative around the queer community over recent decades.
“In the time we’ve been here I can’t believe how strong the community vibe is; we’re supported by our independent neighbours as well as our friends across the canal in the Gay Village itself.”
Red Light will host events for the 2023 Gay Pride festival this August, taking over Little David Street with a DJ, dancers and cocktails for the duration of Pride weekend.