Bean There, Done That: The 7 Best Coffee Shops In Manchester For Laptop Warriors
Written by Keith Andrew
With the number of self employed people in the UK continuing to rise year after year, the idea of ditching the traditional office in favour of playing portable is becoming more and more appealing to many. It’s little wonder then, that coffee shops – from fully fledged chains right through to trendy independents – tend to come fitted with power sockets and speedy wi-fi as standard.
Manchester is at the forefront of this new trend, with the growth of the city’s coffee community running hand in hand with the hunger for interesting places to work on the go. Indeed, the sheer number of work-friendly bars and coffee shops across Manchester is indicative of the city’s standing within the UK; from the powerhouse behind the industrial revolution to a creative hub, Manchester’s streets are now filled with folk driving the digital economy.
That’s why we’ve decided to put together a rundown of the best coffee shops to base yourself in, whether you’ve got a whole day of work ahead or just a few bits and pieces to catch up on. We’ve brought together the seven best venues in Manchester based not only on the coffee they offer, the number of power points they have and the quality of their wi-fi, but also their general atmosphere and conduciveness for work.
One thing Manchester doesn’t suffer from, however, is a lack of choice; if you know of a hotspot you think we’ve overlooked, feel free to drop them into the comments below.
Tariff Street, Northern Quarter
Takk is a mainstay of Manchester’s bubbling Northern Quarter – a creative corner of the city that transforms from a social Mecca in the evening to a work hub in the daytime, and back again. Alongside an increasing number of shared workspaces and hot desking facilities in buildings all across the quarter sits Takk, home to some quite excellent coffee and a series of exam tables. Seriously, the left hand side is lined with desks you’ll have last seen stacked up in your school’s sports hall, scribbled with the kind of graffiti surely branded in times of pure panic. However, with a power point accompanying each one and some of the fastest wi-fi in the city courtesy of local provider Telcom, it’s little wonder Takk has become a favourite of the city’s software developers, who all take up residence in the coffee shop every Thursday.
Ezra & Gil
Hilton Street, Northern Quarter
One of the newer coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Ezra & Gil has quickly found itself a loyal and wide ranging audience. The decor is arguably the best of all city centre stops, the elegance of the cast iron pillars holding up the Victorian structure mixed with exposed wood and brickwork lending the venue a certain hipster charm, albeit one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The food is top quality and, with a small grocery section also on offer, it’s little wonder Ezra & Gil has a constant stream of traffic in and out, day in day out. Oh, and with speedy wi-fi on offer from Telcom once again and power points in the shop’s window bays, workers on the go have no trouble staying connected.
Royal Mills, Ancoats
If there’s one area of Manchester city centre that’s destined to become the next big thing, it’s Ancoats. Located just to the north east of the already thriving Northern Quarter, Ancoats was the heart of the industrial revolution – home to the biggest mills and the first industrialised housing in the world, which remains within its streets to this day. The last 10 years has seen an abundance of apartments spring up in buildings old and new and, along with it, a rush of conveniences; bars, restaurants and, of course, coffee shops. Top pick is Ancoats Coffee, which is located in the beautiful interior of Royal Mills and arguably serves some of the best coffee in town. Power points are few, but desk space is plentiful and, in terms of atmosphere, Ancoats is unbeatable.
Deansgate, Manchester/Media City, Salford
It’s a testament to the popularity of coffee shops in Manchester that some of the independents have themselves started to become chains. Grindsmith started life as a crowd funded pod sat just across the border in Salford. A couple of years later and it has three bases around the city, two of which are ideal for working in. The Deansgate branch sits at the front of the Barclays funded escalator for startups ‘rise‘, and boasts powerpoints aplenty and fast wi-fi, as well as some gorgeous red bricked arches. Grindsmith has also recently opened a new venue in Media City with a focus on food, but it retains power points and wifi (along with some great ‘people watching’ benches along the window) for those with a laptop in their bag and deadlines to meet.
Chapel Street, Salford
It’s not just the city centre that’s joining the party. Salford’s Chapel Street – which is just the other side of the River Irwell, the natural border between Manchester and Salford – is in the middle of major redevelopment with a view to it becoming a destination in its own right. Ahead of the curve is Honest Coffee – another coffee shop to house a creative, co-working space, as well as some top notch coffee. As such, Honest has offered a work friendly environment from the word go, despite the venue itself having the feel of an old corner pub. All in all, Honest is a new hot spot on the scene worth keeping an eye on in the years ahead.
North Tea Power
Tib Street, Northern Quarter
It’s fair to say that, when it comes to independent coffee shops in Manchester, North Tea Power is the daddy of them all, having arugably kick started the coffee scene in the city many moons ago. As a result, it’s been surpassed when it comes to some facilities – plugs are hard to come by inside NTP – but the quality of its coffee, the desk space and the general atmosphere means it remains a firm favourite amongst creatives in the city, and is a first port of call on a wet or chilly day (of which Manchester has a few) thanks to its sheltered outside seating area and warm and toasty setting. Highly recommended when winter sets in.
Tony Wilson Place, First Street
Co-founded by the owners of Manchester’s former arts stalwart The Cornerhouse and Danny Boyle of Trainspotting fame (not to mention directing London 2012‘s awesome opening ceremony), HOME is, funnily enough, Manchester’s new ‘home’ for all things creative. As well as one of the finest theatres in the country and a bevy of cinema screens, on the ground floor sits a welcoming bar that, in the afternoon, is a haven for coffee lovers. Power points are few and far between but, if your laptop is stocked up on power, the glass frontage looking out onto one of the most rapidly changing districts in the city is an enviable office for the day. High speed Virgin broadband open to all is alsp nothing to be sniffed at.