best cafes in Manchester

6 Must-visit Cafes in Manchester

English 5 o’clock tea? No, that’s so passé. Especially in Manchester!

Manchester is every coffee lover’s dream! Ever since the third-wave coffee movement became more popular, cafés in Manchester have been growing like mushrooms after the rain and now the city serves the best cups around.

From big mugs of deep dark filter coffee and strong espressos to creamy lattes and oat milk flat whites with perfect microbubbles.

There are so many cafés in Manchester where you can feed your coffee hunger, that the choice can be quite overwhelming.

Luckily there’s one area of the city, where, without walking miles, you can even visit most of the coffee shops in one day. If you can handle coffee jitters.
The Northern Quarter – this creative hub is home to quirky stores, cool bars, restaurants, independent cafés and coffee shops.

It’s not big, as the whole of Manchester really, but I’d say you can find everything you need to feed your heart and soul…and your belly.

The cafés I picked for you are all located in the Northern Quarter. Well, most of them.

I decided on x cafés, that I would give my life for. Ok, let’s not be so dramatic, but those are the ones I visit the most often and I vouch for the quality of their food and coffee.

They all have this minimalistic, hipster vibe, but it doesn’t mean they’re not cosy, prices won’t break the bank and the best thing is, that they are all independent (I think). No chains allowed!

So here are the top 6 must-visit cafes in Manchester, England.

6 Must-visit Cafes in Manchester

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Best Cafes in Manchester

Foundation Coffee House

Foundation cafe in Manchester

Red Eye, Black Eye, Dead Eye…no, those are not nicknames of spies. Those are types of coffee available in Foundation. Hope you’re intrigued.

Foundation is a place where I’ve spent the most hours. Apart from the great variety of delicious, speciality coffee and tasty food, you can also find in Foundation a great space to work.

And I should really say: “Foundations” because there are 3 locations in Manchester. FDN is one of Manchester’s largest independent coffee shops, as a company and in size.

You can literally spend the whole day there, enjoying minimalistic yet cosy interiors, sipping their luxurious flat whites or flavourful tea, nibbling on avo toast or one of the tasty cakes, while getting this work done. Good workflow and free WiFi guaranteed.

Locations

Foundation Coffee House in Northern Quarter
Lever Street, Manchester M1 1JB

Foundation Coffee House Whitworth
Whitworth Street, Manchester M1 6LS 

Foundation Coffee House Portland
Portland Street, Manchester M1 3HU

Just between friends

best cafes in Manchester

The name of this café couldn’t be more accurate. When you go there, you know that this is exactly where you’ll end up: just between friends.

Apart from delicious coffee (the best oat milk flat white in town) and tasty sweet and savoury snacks, the lovely owner and chatty baristas will make you feel like you’re at home.

For me, Just between friends offers the best atmosphere of all the mentioned coffee shops. I really liked going there on a typical rainy
Manchester Saturday or Sunday, squeezing into a cosy space and watching the baristas create coffees.

If you were lucky, you could even meet the “café dog”, a cute sausage dog
called Wolfie. And in the summer, you just have to try their Affogato made with homemade ice cream.

Unfortunately, now, because of Coronavirus, Just between friends in the Northern Quarter is more of a takeaway, with some secret outdoor seating behind the cafe.

Locations

Just between friends in Northern Quarter (takeaways only)
56 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LG

Just between friends in Ancoats
Beehive Mill, Jersey Street, Manchester M4 6JG

Siop Shop

donuts and coffee at siop shop

Or in other words, donut heaven. If you like donuts, you can’t miss this place!

Previously working from a basement of a bar as a bakery called: “Blawd”, the wonderful Welsh bakers made a name for themselves making some of the bests cakes and donuts in Manchester.

Now in their first café, you can try their artisanal, incredibly delicious donuts, cakes and sandwiches. And let’s not forget about freshly brewed aromatic coffee.

Siop Shop offers as well a great selection of vegetarian food and vegan donuts! But if you’re a vegan, you have to be quick. Vegan donuts sell out super fast.

The donuts are quite pricey (around £3,20 for one), especially compared to back home in Poland, but if you want to treat yourself, this is the place to go.

Location

53 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LS

Related post: 13 Top Activities to Do in Manchester on a Rainy Day

Takk

Inside the Takk cafe in Manchester

That was the first coffee shop I ever visited in Manchester and after trying their insanely delicious brownie, I knew I’d be coming back.

Nordic-inspired Takk was a result of travels through Scandinavia and Iceland and a tribute to the Icelandic people and their love for coffee.

The owners wanted to create a welcoming space to work, meet and talk. And they did a great job. Takk offers a great selection of tea, coffee, pastries and a brunch/lunch menu.

And as a result of being inspired by Scandinavia, I’d say that Takk in the Northern Quarter provides the cosiest atmosphere from all the places mentioned. But there are 2 other Takk locations/outlets you can visit.

Locations

Takk in Northern Quarter
6 Tariff Street, Manchester M1 2FF

Takk University Garden
138 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9GP

Takk at Hatch (it’s more of a takeaway location)
Unit 1 Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 7ED

Trove

Trove cafe in Manchester, England

It’s technically not in Northern Quarter, where I promised all the cafés in Manchester will be, but it’s close enough.

Ancoats is a new up and coming neighbourhood in Manchester, separated from the Northern Quarter with a street. But Trove, yes… Trove is my “go-to” brunch place!

This family-run café-bakery and super polite staff and an interior that you could describe as minimal meets rustic obviously had to make this list.

Their thoughtfully curated seasonal menu, freshly baked sourdough, homemade chutneys, cakes and pastries will blow your taste buds away.

Add to this flavourful Earl Grey tea or one of their delicious coffees and you have a perfect Sunday brunch experience.

Location

Trove Ancoats
5 Murray Street, Manchester M4 6HS
You can find another Trove outlet in Levenshulme.

Pollen

6 Must-visit Cafes in Manchester

This is technically not a coffee shop. And it’s also not in the Northern Quarter.

Pollen is a “Sourdough & Viennoiserie” bakery. That’s what they call themselves, and if you have a problem with understanding what that means as I did, it’s an artisan bakery and patisserie.

If that is still too much – it’s a place where they bake delicious sourdough bread, make the best cake in Manchester, pastries and brew aromatic coffee.

Pollen was born from a love of great food and started out as a takeaway, located in a railway arch underneath Manchester’s main station.

Now it’s a big, yet minimalistic, fully functioning bakery and café, located on the canal in Ancoats, that attracts people from Manchester and even from all over the country.

Despite not being the cheapest place (I’d even say it’s quite expensive) I’ve never seen Pollen empty and I’m there almost every Friday to buy bread for the weekend.

But the delicious bread and pastries, incredibly looking sandwiches, thoughtfully put together brunches and lunches and aromatic, freshly brewed coffee are all worth it.

As a special treat, you sometimes get to see the extremely fluffy chow chow, “café dog” Maru, who hangs around the bakery.

Location

Pollen Bakery
8 New Union Street, Manchester M4 6FQ


Hope you enjoyed my mini guide to, according to me, the top 6 must-visit cafés in Manchester city centre.

Every place I mentioned here offers quality coffee and delicious food, so no matter which place you pick, you won’t be disappointed. So prepare your taste buds for flavour nirvana and enjoy!

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About the author

Girl in a street in Italy

Hi, I’m Aga. I’m Polish born, but I’ve already lived in Germany and England and I’m planning on adding more places to that list. I run a travel blog where with a little humour I share my travel experiences, as well as tips and tricks with the hope to encourage you to visit beautiful places in this world. And since there’s no Planet B, I’m on the mission to make the world a better place by promoting eco-friendly and sustainable ways of living.

Blog: https://agaonthe.run/

Instagram: @aga_on_the_run

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26 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing all the best cafe spots! They sound absolutely amazing!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading Aga’s post. I need to check some of these cafes too.

  2. Great list would love to check out Takk

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I agree with you, Aga came up with a great list! I need to check Takk too 🙂

  3. Travelling Tam says:

    I love Manchester, there are so many pockets with cool cafes and restaurants I’ll have to check some of these out when I go there next!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Yes, you’re right! Manchester has many cool places, especially to eat 🙂

  4. Really impressed with the coffee culture in Manchester! Would love to visit and explore more of this city in the future!

    Thank you for putting this post together!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I was very impressed too! Also, I hope you visit Manchester in the near future 🙂

  5. These all look so fabulous. Too bad I don’t live close and can’t check them out. I would especially love to visit Pollen and meet the “cafe dog”. 🙂

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I’m glad you like them 🙂 I need to visit Pollen too, would love to meet the dog!

  6. Manchester is so close to me and I still didn’t explore it properly! Will add these cute little corners to my list!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I still need to explore Manchester more too! Hopefully when the current situation improves 🙂

  7. I love this! I work from cafes so I am always in search of the good ones : ) and those dognuts! YUM!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I’m happy to hear that! 🙂 I always look for cafes wherever I go.

  8. All these places look so lovely! I love to visit coffee shops when I travel so thanks a lot for sharing this best of for Manchester!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Yes, they look lovely indeed 🙂 I also love to visit coffee shops when I travel.

  9. All of these cafes look so cozy! I will definitely be keeping this article handy for when I eventually make my way to Manchester. 🙂

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      It’s great to know you’re saving the guide for the future 🙂

  10. I’ve been to a lot of cafes in Manchester but haven’t come across any of these before! Adding them all to my list for my next trip there.

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Nice to hear you’ve discovered some new cafes! Manchester has definitely plenty of cool cafes.

  11. Elena Pappalardo says:

    Love this guide so much as I’m a total cafe person! Pinned this for future inspiration and gorgeous photos by the way!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Thank you, Elena!! I’m happy to hear you’ve enjoyed reading this blog written by Aga.

  12. Andrea Cannon says:

    These look so adorable! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      Yes, I need to make my way to some of these 🙂

  13. Stefanie Wich-Herrlein says:

    I’ve never been in Manchester. Even though it’s not far from germany, where I initially come from. Living in the US now will probably take some time until I’ll be back to Europe. But let’s keep fingers crossed. 🙂

    1. Cristina Reina says:

      I hope the current situation improves and you can visit Europe soon 🙂

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