This spacious quayside bar is popular with the Canary Wharf crowd.
VIA Bar has a prime location on West India Quay alongside a stream of other bars and restaurants all overlooking the water. In the summer it’s hugely busy, with a large outside seating area that catches the sun way into the afternoons. Inside it’s quite different; dimmed lights and velvet cushions running through the bar and restaurant add a Moroccan element. It’s in keeping with the thinking that you’d only be inside if it was a cold or cloudy day, so the inside surroundings need to be warm and comfortable. There’s a large main bar running along the back of the room, with various seating options. Sofa chairs in the corner are perfect for huddling away with someone, or a more formal table setting is ideal for dining. Upstairs there’s another surprisingly large room and bar, ideal for large groups and available for hire.
Due to its close proximity to Canary Wharf and the surrounding offices, the majority of VIA’s customers are local workers. From Monday to Wednesday the atmosphere is much more chilled – business meetings, after work dinner or low-key drinking is what you’ll find. From Thursday the pace picks up and the whole bar is normally heaving by 7pm with people drinking away their office stress. It’s loud, it’s busy and it’s brash. The suited and booted slickers just want to let their hair down and the atmosphere here reflects that. Not the place to go for a romantic dinner on a Friday evening, but a great place to drink, chat and be merry with a good range of snacks to line the stomach. VIA also has two large screens showing all major sporting events.
The menu at VIA caters for its clientele. It’s fast, easy and tasty – just what people want when they are welcoming in the weekend. The main menu offers basic pub grub such as burgers, sandwiches and traditional main meals. Large platters feeding around six people are available; the classic platter includes bruschetta, honey and mustard sausages, chicken tikka bites, calamari strips, breaded prawns and much more, all for £29.85. If you're looking for a more substantial bite in the area, it’s also worth checking out the daily specials on a less busy day. A devilishly creamy whole baked Camembert fondue is available for a starter, served with slices of rustic bread for dipping. Also recommended is the pan fried salmon wrapped in Parma ham, served with crushed potatoes and asparagus (£11.95).
A plethora of drinks awaits you at VIA Bar, suiting the post-work crowd very well. Alongside the usual spirits and bottles, there are three real ales on tap: Greene King IPA, Indian Pale Ale and Reverend St James. A pint of ale will set you back around £4.20. Lagers available on draught include Becks and Stella, with pints costing £4.75. There are full wine and cocktail lists, and the bar also offers promotions such as 2-for-1 Mojitos available on Mondays. A regular happy hour from 4pm-7pm completes a drinks line-up heavily geared towards after work drinking.
The Last Word
This is a good place to unwind after work with friendly staff and a fun atmosphere. Definitely make use of VIA's outside space if the sun is shining while you’re there.