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Lynda Moyo finds a café that’s a Heavenly retreat

Written by . Published on January 22nd 2008.


Hidden away under old premises on Dale Street, Nexus has re-launched its community Arts Café. National Lottery grants, alongside funding from the Methodist Church, have transformed an unknown cavern into an innovative arts space, using an old and hidden stair case.

The café has already built up a Saturday sect: attracting up to 200 customers. These punters can enjoy a coffee and cake up to 4am whilst also utilising the free taxi call service: a safe, sensible and unique resource in Manchester.

The café has already built up a Saturday sect: attracting up to 200 customers. These punters can enjoy a coffee and cake up to 4am whilst also utilising the free taxi call service: a safe, sensible and unique resource in Manchester. It also means that late night revellers can take a non-alcoholic break from head-busting music in nearby bars.

The opening of the art café in fact coincides with the first anniversary of the ‘Street Angels’ – volunteers who patrol the city looking out for people who have become ‘vulnerable’ or become addled with too much alcohol or drugs. Volunteers? These people deserve OBEs.

The art space itself, is the brainchild of a partnership between Methodist Minister, Rev Cris Acher, and local artist Bex Melvin. It consists of a large underground art gallery area with tables and chairs for diners. The café sells a wide range of hot and cold drinks alongside snacks such as panninis from £2.80, soup from £2 with a roll, and handmade Bristol Pieminister pies from £4.

Melvin said: “I stumbled into Nexus on a night out. It's the perfect space in which to create and exhibit. We have a full programme of exhibitions coming up that will, we hope, both inspire and challenge the viewer. One of our aims has been to make art more accessible, I hope we have achieved that.”

In a creative partnership with GMMAZ (Greater Manchester Music Action Zone), there is also a recording studio available for use by young people and community groups plus free wi-fi. Nexus is where artists, musicians and dreamers can meet up.

One of the current artworks is a floating interactive pink dress. A what? Yes a floating and fragile dress. Customers can pick a piece of spare fabric available nearby, write a wish on it and then pin the wish to the dress as a corsage. Peter Hiett meanwhile has installed artworks such as the striking red form in an old stairwell.

Chair of the Methodist and Stockport Methodist District, Rev Dr Keith Davies, said: “Nexus is both an exciting project and a vibrant community which the Methodist Church is proud to support and encourage. It is innovative and true to the essence of the Christian tradition”.

There is an element of spirituality, after all this is a partnership with the adjoined Methodist church, however don’t expect a bible bash with your pie and mash. It’s just there if you want it, hence the spirituality evenings on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.

Dale Street (opp vinyl exchange)
M1 1JW
0161 236 0100
Tues-Sat10am-4pm: also every Sat midnight-4am

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TomJanuary 22nd 2008.

This is a very handy place for me to grab a bite to eat if I get tired of sandwiches from the local shops, or my own attempts at cooking... I work right above Nexus! Nice place to chill out too.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2008.

The pies are amazing, and it is such a lovely unexpected grotto to take friends too. An out of town visitor was immediatly persuaded that Manchester is the place to be my Nexus

ancoats girlJanuary 22nd 2008.

This place was a lifesaver when we couldn't get a taxi in the wee hours after a birthday night out. I was a bit apprehensive as I have had some bad experiences with "religious outreach", but the freezing weather persuaded me to take a chance. However I have to say they were absolutely lovely - they rang us a mini bus that arrived in less than half an hour and just let us be while we drank hot chocolate and watched the Simpsons. You can't knock 'em...

markthefotographerJanuary 22nd 2008.

Had a nice coffee there. Didn't get asked did I want chocolate on it 42 times Nero-style. Nice and chilled, would go back again.

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