Columnist Andrew Wells heads down to Grindsmith in the Great Northern Warehouse on Deansgate to check out the daily grind
Walking down Deansgate can be a bit of a rat race at times. But located in a quieter corner, and not too far from the John Rylands library, is Grindsmith. Situated over two units within the Great Northern Railway Company warehouse, visiting this independent coffee house was an interesting experience.
The interior of the shop is impressive. Retaining the lofty, arched ceiling and bare Accrington brick that once would have been the industrial décor of the GNRC is a masterstroke of design. On entering, the first impressions are spot-on for a quirky independent coffee house. You walk up to the bar where you’re served by a friendly barista who inputs your order into an iPad—a pretty novel detail.
Coffee sat firmly on a miniature chopping board, you then look for somewhere to enjoy your hot cup of java. This is the fun part, there are so many places to sit that you don’t know where to put yourself and, like myself, you could end up doing a full lap of the shop before you decide.
On my little tour, I noticed a few things. Firstly, the ubiquitous upcycled objects, mostly former factory-ware acting as tables, coupled with mass-produced chairs. Secondly was the chipboard panelled walls that formed alcoves and meeting spaces. It’s exactly how you’d imagine an IKEA factory to look. Finally, where I chose to sit was opposite a conference room. It was at this point that it hit me, this place is most definitely geared towards the Mancunian yuppie.
But enough about the interior, let’s talk coffee. There’s enough coffee in its varieties to choose from with cold brew and teas also on offer, all of it is for a seemingly reasonable price too. Trying their ‘long black’ (aka an Americano), was a pleasure to the taste buds. At first, you’re not too sure what to make of it as the aroma suggests it’s going to be a really bitter coffee, but tasting it contradicts this pre-conception as that first sip is mellow, with perhaps a slightly fruity hint. Full marks for the coffee on taste and originality. The downside is that I probably would have liked a larger cup for my money.
Grindsmith also provide an excellent range of light snacks and baked coffee shop classics. Recommending the flapjack, this is fantastically spicy with ginger and dotted with currants. Though I only tried the flapjack, there have been a few recommendations for their food so it would probably be worth another visit for lunch.
The quality of food and drink is fantastic at Grindsmith, the shop itself is comfortable and a great place to work. But, personally, I felt a little out of place and it’s pretty obvious who their target market is with free booking on conference rooms and spaces for ‘blue sky thinking’. However, it’s an ideal spot to write essays or meet with project partners with a great cup of coffee that’s away from the high octane environment on campus.
OTHER DRINKS ✓
231 – 233 Deansgate,