Photo: Victoria Evans

The Manchester café crawl

It’s no myth that Manchester is teeming with independent coffeehouses, and with so many to choose from, I’ve selected 3 of my favourites.

My first stop on this ‘café crawl’ was Chapter One Books in the Northern Quarter.  An independent coffeehouse and bookstore, it offers a quirky medley of all things abstract.  Part of the interior is lined with bookshelves, dim lanterns, and reminded me of an old library — the ideal place to study.

It is clear old meets new in this coffee shop.

A small exhibition of David LaChapelle’s contemporary utopian art was on display.  His work seems to have inspired a large part of the interior, demonstrated by the colourful clash of flowers, baubles, and twinkling fairy lights.

The friendly staff adds to the pleasant atmosphere and it’s evident that the coffeehouse appeals to many different people. Come here to chat on the large comfy sofas, enjoy homemade cake, and artisan coffee or relax with the origami and mindfulness books on display.  I loved this place; there was always something to look at and you’ll never get bored.

On Tuesday nights in Chapter One Books, you can attend a ‘Creative Writing Group’ and there’s no doubt it’s a success.  The gentle soul music and the indoor water fountain are enough to get anyone’s creative spirit flowing.

Next stop on the crawl: Pot Kettle Black (PKB) in the Barton Arcade on Deansgate. Priding themselves in speciality coffee and brunch, PKB had an easy, relaxed vibe. I loved the Express Hatch, perfect for grabbing an on-the-go coffee. My heart shaped cappuccino was served on a silver tray with a chocolate wafer — 10/10 for aesthetics. If it had not been Sunday morning when I visited, I would have opted for a ‘Nutella Martini’, one of the many artisan cocktails expertly concocted by the staff.  Situated in the Victorian Arcade, the roof is one of its best aesthetic features.

Sophistication with a touch of edginess is key in Pot Kettle Black.

My last stop on the ‘café crawl’ was Hatch; it’s a student hub on Oxford Road, tucked under the Mancunian Way.  The pastel coloured shipping containers offer a quirky setting to revise, but you can always opt to sit outside and soak up the rare Manchester sunshine.

Takk Coffee MCR are the providers for Hatch. A Nordic-inspired coffee house, Takk is also situated in the Northern Quarter. Their aim is to provide the community with a place to work, chat, and dream up big ideas. Strings of bulb fairy lights over the courtyard add to the chilled ambience in Hatch.

However, Hatch is so much more than just a place to grab a coffee and some street food from the stalls.  Bursting with local culture, you’ll find art for sale from local artists and they regularly host gigs from local musicians and resident DJs.  It’s hard to describe what Hatch really is.  A creative pop-up concept of all varieties — food, coffee, art.  Situated perfectly in the city, this appealing multipurpose venue render it the ideal leisure space to go with friends or alone.

For me, Hatch epitomises the student culture in Manchester; exactly what I’ve set out to discover and enjoy.

Tags: Cafe, cafe crawl, coffee, food, Hatch, Manchester

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