It seems that recently there has been an increase in the popularity of cafes, coffee shops and tea rooms through the UK, and Manchester is no exception. From the well-known coffee shop chains opening new premises in prominent locations to independent, quirky cafes in Manchester that can be found off the beaten track, there is now more choice than ever.
Manchester, in the north of England, has plenty of culture to discover. It has a thriving music scene and was where Oasis was formed back in the 90s, arguably one of Manchester’s most popular bands. Manchester also has an alternative culture and hipster neighbourhoods, providing the perfect location for a quirky café.
If you’re visiting Manchester for the first time, it’s easy to choose a well-known coffee chain, but by spending the time to uncover quirky cafes in Manchester, you will have a unique coffee experience.
Here are 5 of the best quirky cafes in Manchester that you need to try:
1. Cat Café
Our first quirky café on the list is purrrfect for all the cat lovers out there. The Cat Café provides a comfortable, and safe, environment to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while spending time with the furry creatures. You can interact with the cats (although if they are sleeping you should leave them alone) or just watch. A visit to the Cat Café is very relaxing with plenty of cosy sofas and carpet. It can also be a therapeutic experience playing with the cats.
Either make a booking in advance, or walk-ins are also accepted. You are charged by the amount of time you spend here, with unlimited hot and cold drinks included in the price. There isn’t any hot food, but you can purchase a snack, such as cakes and biscuits, to go with your cuppa.
The Cat Café is in the Northern Quarter area of Manchester, on 103 High Street. It’s about a 7-minute walk from Manchester Victoria Station, heading down Hanover Street and then right onto New George Street. Then turn right again onto High Street.
2. Takk Coffee House
Takk is an Artisan, Nordic-inspired coffee shop, also hidden in the Northern Quarter. If you are a coffee connoisseur and enjoy trying different beans and flavours, you must visit Takk. The coffee is delicious and the staff friendly and knowledgeable, so will be able to help you decide on which one to taste. Or, why not try the Nordic expresso?
As well as the coffee, Takk offers an exciting brunch menu, including their take on a bacon sandwich, with smashed avocado – it was amazing!
You will feel completely comfortable in Takk, which provides a calming ambience to either catch up with friends or have a business meeting. You will probably also see several people sat alone working away on their laptops.
Takk is on 6 Tariff Street, which is about a 4-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly Station. It’s one of the most popular quirky cafes in Manchester.
3. The Art of Tea
The Art of Tea is a shabby chic, quirky café on the outskirts of Manchester in Didsbury. It is connected to a bookshop at the back so you can browse the shelves as well as relaxing with a nice cup of tea. It’s an ideal place to escape from the outside world for an afternoon, especially if it is raining. As it most often is in Manchester!
With a wide selection of loose tea leaves to try, The Art of Tea is great for all tea lovers. They also offer a varied breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, so whatever time you visit you will be able to enjoy a tasty dish.
The Art of Tea is at 47 Barlow Moor, just outside Didsbury village. There are regular buses from Manchester City Centre that you can take, such as the 142 from India House, which takes around 35 minutes to get to Didsbury Library. From the library, it’s a 2-minute walk to The Art of Tea.
Didsbury is a lovely village with lots of restaurants, shops and bars, as well as park areas, so you can easily spend a few hours exploring.
4. Ziferblat Edge Street
Back in Manchester city centre and the Northern Quarter, and you may stumble upon Ziferblat Edge Street. Ziferblat has an interesting set up as it contains a large sitting room like room where you can relax, chat, eat and drink coffee, plus shared office space, meeting rooms, and events space.
The idea is that you pay per minute (8p a minute) and everything else is free, such as drinks, food and office space. You can decide what you want to do: drink coffee, study, work or play board games, and you only pay for your time here.
It’s like a home from home, you even tidy and wash up after yourself, but with a hipster vibe. It’s a great place for meeting new people and socialising, or for getting your creative juices flowing for work.
Ziferblat is on Edge Street, which is about 8-minute walk from Manchester Victoria Station and is also just around the corner from the Cat Café.
5. Popup Bikes
If you’re a cycling enthusiast, Popup Bikes could be the best of the quirkiest cafes in Manchester for you. With a bike shop and coffee shop, Popup Bikes is a place where you can have a cup of coffee and a bite to eat while meeting other cyclists and even getting professional bike fittings or repairs.
There is indoor space to park your bike while you visit, and experts on hand to provide any bike advice. It’s ideal if you enjoy cycling and stopping for a refreshment break, but struggle to find somewhere to safely store your bike in the city centre.
Popup Bikes is on Arch 5, Corporation Street, about a 5-minute walk (or a 1-minute ride!) from Manchester Victoria Station. It is open 6 days a week, except for Sundays.
There are so many independent, quirky cafes opening all the time in Manchester that offer something different to the larger chains. While harder to find, it is worth exploring the quieter side streets as you may stumble across a real hidden gem offering the perfect coffee in the perfect setting. And that’s part of the fun of exploring a new city!