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Nibble Cafe in the Northenr Quarter

Nibble NQ: A bite of joy

Coffee with a feminist message

Free coffee on International Women’s Day, Photo: Izzy Langhamer

Nibble is a popular and women-lead café in the heart of the Northern Quarter, just across from Afflecks. Serving up delicious coffees and a variety of tasty cakes, the café has proved a hit with Mancunians. It’s cosy and cute, the windows covered with colourful designs.

For International Women’s Day, I popped down to nab myself a free coffee, which came with an inspirational motto on the side: ‘Girls can do f*cking anything’. With a focus on female empowerment and creativity, Nibble is clearly a café that’s only just getting started. I spoke to the owner Lauren Irlam who is the business manager, chef, barista and all-round “dog’s body” of Nibble, about the cafe’s development. 

Lauren tells me how she started the business in 2017, having to make things work with “no money or time to waste”. A real example of learning on the job, she created everything pretty much from scratch after falling in love with the space. Lockdown meant the café had to close down, and Lauren says she was worried that she would lose the businesses and that everyone would lose their jobs, if she couldn’t figure out a way to get through the impact of Covid. She explains how she pivoted the business online, initially selling off café stock at cost price, and later used their website to offer food deliveries all around the UK. This part of the business is still up and running. Online, you can order afternoon tea (perfect for Easter!), cake and brunch. Nibble also has a range of ‘Girls can’ merchandise, which is available online and in-store.

It’s clear that Lauren has a real business brain, having taken Nibble through 3 lockdowns, and all the anxiety of the last few years. The key, she tells me, is social media. During lockdown, a course in marketing and mindset helped her grown the business’ social media presence, to what it is now: a female friendly, interactive community. She wants Nibble to be a “safe space” for customers, and staff. The hospitality industry is notorious for being a high-stakes, high-pressure environment. Nibble is a space where “like minded women […] have each other’s backs […] a family, not just a team”. It’s refreshing to hear such a staff focused approach to business, particularly in a culture of zero-hours and dog-eat-dog mindsets. At Nibble “we genuinely all love and understand each other” she says. 

If the atmosphere of Nibble isn’t pull enough, then they’ve also got a wide range of cakes, brunch and lunch options which are all served all day. There’s something for everyone, and Lauren particularly recommends the Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash which is Vegan, and can be served with gluten free toast. It’s Nibble’s inclusivity that is its signature, and is a Northern Quarter must-visit café!

Nibble is open 8:30- 5pm every day.  

Tags: Female cafe, feminist, Food and drink, Nibble NQ, Northern Quarter

Izzy Langhamer

Izzy Langhamer enjoys writing all things Manchester, covering food, drink and music across the city. In her spare time she studies English Literature.
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