Once a pillar of industry, today Manchester is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities. With businesses booming, a thriving cafe culture has sprung up to cater to busy workers on the go.
Like any metropolis these days, Manchester is riddled with coffee chains – but you might be surprised by how many independent cafes are tucked away throughout the city. Discover hidden gems lining the narrow streets of the Northern Quarter, chic establishments in the heart of the city, and enchanting eateries on the city’s outskirts.
If you’re feeling artsy
The Nexus Art Café is a coffee shop with a heart. Now a registered charity, all profits at this quirky cafe go towards community development projects that showcase emerging artists. Rotating exhibitions are also displayed throughout the cafe itself – they’re always open to proposals for new work; given the convenient location near city centre, it’s a great opportunity for new talent. You might be surprised by the locally-sourced menu – it’s about as creative as the cafe itself, including bacon and brie topped jacket potatoes and veggie favourite, the Athena toasted sandwich with hummus and halloumi. Bunker down in one of the cosy armchairs with a fragrant brew from Nexus’ range of gourmet TeaPigs infusions.
Indulge your inner coffee snob
Located on Tib Street in the city’s trendy Northern Quarter, North Tea Power was named one of the UK’s 50 best coffee shops by The Independent. Having tasted their flat white, we can’t help but agree. The friendly staff and cool old-meets-new decor will keep you long enough to sample a few sweet and savoury treats – try the day’s frittata, or ask what they’d recommend with the guest espresso. You definitely won’t be the only one around the heavy reclaimed wooden table setting up a mobile office – laptops might as well be required to join the local crowd.
For a proper cuppa
Between the cleverly named milkshakes and smoothies (Purple Haze, Iggy Pop) and the decadent sweets (made-to-order madeleines with Chantilly cream), Teacup Kitchen was destined to become one of the city’s coolest cafes. This is another Northern Quarter hangout known for its warm, vibrant atmosphere – pull up a chair facing the enormous front windows to watch the trendy crowds along Thomas Street. The creative menu draws a loyal foodie crowd, but as the cafe’s name suggests, tea is the specialty here – you’ll even get a timer with choice from the impressive list of loose-leaf offerings to ensure a perfectly steeped brew.
Need a good book?
Cafe-meets-bar The Art of Tea looks like it’s been transplanted in Didsbury via Brooklyn. With wooden beams and wall-to-wall bookshelves brimming with books, you’ll probably be inspired to redecorate the home office. The attached charming Didsbury Village Bookshop sells new and used paperbacks, and the friendly owner will be more than happy to take you through his collection. It’s just 10 minutes north of our Radisson Blu Manchester Airport Hotel, so stop by for some hearty home cooking and don’t forget to pick up a good read to stow in your carry-on.