Coffee & Cake in Manchester

England, Manchester Guide (D): Coffee & Cake in Manchester

The Northern Quarter Manchester, home to a whole array of independent boutiques, bars and coffee shops. This tour guides you to the best places to grab coffee and cake; whether you feel like a Scandinavian inspired venue, a vintage style tea-room, or a café owned by a world renown DJ, Manchester’s Northern Quarter will not let you down!
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Attractions Map

Guide Name: Coffee & Cake in Manchester
Guide Location: England » Manchester
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Destinations: 11
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Trof - Northern Quarter   Teacup   Home Sweet Home   Oak Street Cafe   Sugar Junction   Blue Daisy   North Tea Power   Fig + Sparrow   Nexus Art Cafe   Koffee Pot   TAKK MCR  
Author: Nola Chesworth
Author Bio: Having traveled extensively, Manchester is the place Nola calls 'home.' When she’s not jetting off around Europe, she is usually found eating cake and drinking tea in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Author Website: http://lostnola.wordpress.com
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Trof - Northern Quarter

1) Trof - Northern Quarter

An institution in Manchester, with several different locations, in various guises throughout the city, Trof’s Northern Quarter location is the perfect start to the tour. Described as a ‘dandyish den of opulence’ on their website, the leather seats, and wooden décor, really make this a cosy and comfy place to hangout, offering hearty breakfasts, amazing burgers, Sunday lunches, and drinks to quench all thirsts. Whether you are looking for coffee (soya milk and decaffeinated coffee available) a refreshing smoothie, herbal tea or an old fashioned lemonade or dandelion and burdock, Trof will not let you down. There is also an exceptional array of world bottled beers and ever changing draughts if you feel like a beer to wash your burger down. Evenings at Trof are always entertaining, with regular club nights, quiz nights and open mic nights in a relaxed atmosphere, this is the perfect place to hang out from morning until night.
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Teacup

2) Teacup

Co-Owned by world famous DJ Mr Scruff, Teacup is a spacious café with an industrial feel, dotted with red furnishings and low lighting, service is always with a smile. Offering the finest selection of tea in the North of England, including specialist home brews, hangover cures, diabetic tonics, slimming tea and ‘smart brain’ tonic, there is a tea for every specification! If you’re not in the mood for tea, the coffees are great, and the smoothies, with names like Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin and Iggy Pop are healthy bursts of goodness! The food is also not to be missed! For breakfast, not your ordinary English: eggs done in every possible way, and toasts with toppings including peanut and toffee butter, truffle infused comb honey or smoky bacon beans or a hearty ‘super’ porridge. Sandwiches are also a twist on the usual; grown up fish finger butties, pork and fig, plus some unusual veggie options; the pies are also a hit here, served with salad or potatoes. Afterwards, just try to resist the cakes: it’s near impossible. Changing daily flavours served as a generously sized portion (the rainbow Battenberg is possibly the most famous cake in Manchester!) and will keep you full up all day long. Afternoon tea and cream tea is also offered here, as well as a selection of wine, if you’re feeling in the mood for a liquid lunch. Regular foodie master-classes and workshops are also offered, so if you’re feeling inspired, check out the website to check what’s on, and book in advance!
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Home Sweet Home

3) Home Sweet Home

This place really does feel like home, or rather an American Grandma’s home. It’s Grandma in the USA, in Manchester. Floral wallpaper, little framed pictures dotted on the wall, the smell of fresh baking; you feel welcome as soon as you step through the door. They describe the coffee as the best in the Northern Quarter, and it certainly is worth shouting about; baristas trained to the highest level, beans are roasted and ground to order, so you’re drinking the freshest coffee around. If a cup of tea is more your thing, your needs will be catered for, as will any milkshake cravings, (try the Oreo or BP&J!) Food is homemade, comforting and delicious from breakfast through to dinner. Waffles, granola and Texan Skillet are highlights of the morning menu, while the burgers, chilli dogs and mac and cheese are not to be missed from the main menu. Desserts are a dentist’s nightmare, and child’s delight; cakes topped with lollypops and varieties of sweets that are so sparkly with sugar, you could be mistaken for thinking you were in a jewellery shop. Doughnut pudding, cookie skillet and snickers waffles are also awesome. We think you’ll like it here, and be returning time and time again just to make sure everything from the menu is sampled.
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Oak Street Cafe

4) Oak Street Cafe

Located on the ground floor of the craft centre (a delight for all craft lovers and shoppers) this is a hidden treasure within the Northern Quarter, and one that many people miss, as it’s off the main track of coffee shops. This is quieter than previous cafes we have visited, has a more laid back vibe, and is a hipster free zone. Bright and airy, with an outdoorsy feel, it attracts a mixed clientele of older ladies and gentleman, as well as younger customers, looking for something different from what the Northern Quarter is known for. Sweet but not twee, the decoration is traditional, without the ‘vintage’ feel, with plants and wooden chairs; you can spend hours over a coffee, with a book or with a friend, and feel perfectly happy. Food is hearty and homemade, sandwiches, pizzas, soups and stews along with much more; whether you are looking for a light snack or something more filling, there is sure to be something suitable on the menu. Cakes are homemade, coffee is superb, and the setting is amazing; nestled amongst the studios and shops of the most talented artists in the city; be sure to have a wander around this magnificent building!
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Sugar Junction

5) Sugar Junction

Next up on the tour is a gorgeous old fashioned English Tea room, this place is super twee, and very popular in The Northern Quarter; with vintage furniture, wallpaper and china you feel like you are having afternoon tea in the 1920’s, the so put on your prettiest frock, or flat cap and take in the atmosphere. There are over 25 different teas on the menu, from English Breakfast, to flowering tea, and even their very own ‘Northern Quarter’ blend – a must for any visitor to the area! These guys also know a few things about coffee, sourcing the finest tasting seasonal coffees; the blends are always a little bit different to anything you have tasted before. When it comes to cake, there is plenty of choice, including the most amazing vegan and dairy free options you have ever tasted. Food is all prepared on site, bread is brought in every morning from the longest established family baker in Manchester, and the meat is locally sourced, so you can be sure you’re eating the best quality produce around. If you fancy something in particular, but can’t see it on the menu, the helpful staff will do their best to make it for you (providing they have the ingredients to hand) so just have a word with the waitress, who will be more than happy to ensure you get exactly what you fancy. If you are in the mood for a traditional afternoon tea (cake, scones with cream and jam, a variety of cakes and a glass of Prosecco) out of all the places on the tour this is probably the finest example, enjoy!
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Blue Daisy

6) Blue Daisy

This may be the smallest café on the tour, but what it lacks in space, it certainly makes up for in charm. With outdoor seating in the summer, and about space for 7 people (at a squeeze) inside, you may have to grab a coffee to go. If you are lucky enough to find a place to rest your weary legs, check out the daily offering at the deli counter; salads made fresh each morning from local produce, and lovingly made scrumptious sandwiches never disappoint. There are always plenty of vegetarian options, with the soups being a particular highlight of the menu. Cups of tea, coffee, shakes and seasonal smoothies are also offered, so take your pick, and choose a cake or biscuit to enjoy too. Be inspired by the ‘quote of the day’ handwritten daily on the blackboard, a lovely touch to this bijoux café.
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North Tea Power

7) North Tea Power

The name is somewhat deceptive; although these guys know how to make a good brew, they are also highly trained baristas, and know how to serve up an awesome coffee. The pastries, and baked goods on offer are delicious, as are the sandwiches, which you can enjoy warm, or cold. With 2 seater tables, a large centre wooden table, high top bar, and an outdoor area, find your favourite spot, and relax. Chill out with today’s paper, or a board game which you can borrow from the shelves, North Tea Power is a friendly and chilled out place; it’s so easy to let the hours pass by, as you absorb yourself in a book, game or conversation.
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Fig + Sparrow

8) Fig + Sparrow

Located at the back of a fabulous gift shop, Fig and Sparrow is one of the newest additions to the Northern Quarter, and rapidly becoming a favourite. Do a little bit of shopping in the boutique, and relax with a cup of something warm in the coffee shop. There is a great selection of healthy snacks on offer here, as well as some old fashioned cold drinks, and homemade cakes; all served up by someone pretty wearing a vintage apron. With the tiled bar, block coloured mugs, and little stools, there is a very continental feeling to this little place; you could be in Amsterdam or Paris, but you’re the wonderful Northern city of Manchester! If you loved the coffee, you can buy some to take back home; why not treat yourself to a nice mug too, to enjoy it from?
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Nexus Art Cafe

9) Nexus Art Cafe

This underground bohemian non-profit café serves also as an exhibition space for local up and coming artists; so enjoy coffee and lunch, while admiring the latest art installation, in the company of creative individuals. Tucked away, just off Oldham Street, lit with a neon pink sign, and a quirky window display, follow the artwork down the stairs as you are led into the café. Greeted by a buzz of chatter, an assortment of miss matched comfy chairs, and a book case with books to borrow, you are instantly made to feel welcome. With a cabinet of locally handmade craft items available for you to purchase, grab a ‘made in Manchester’ souvenir for some appreciating soul back home. The food is hearty, homemade and good, sandwiches, jacket potatoes (a potato baked in the oven, with a filling of your choice) soups and daily specials, are always substantial in proportions and of excellent quality. The cake and coffee is good and very reasonably priced, you will be afford to stay for 2 cups and slices!
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Koffee Pot

10) Koffee Pot

Impossible to miss thanks to the bright orange sign, Koffee Pot has a slight grunge feel to it and a legion of dedicated fans. Touring musicians flock here for their breakfasts; the bacon butties are legendry in Manchester and cost a mere £2! Looking like it is stuck in the 1960’s with graffiti on the walls, leather seats, and squeezy sauces, many people peer in and walk past, onto somewhere a little more ‘hip’ but this is a big mistake! All smart people stopping in Manchester put a visit to Koffee Pot at the top of their breakfast list; good grub, washed down with a nice cup of tea or a mug of coffee for a fraction of the price of its competitors. Steak, eggs and chips make up much of the menu, a mainly British menu, with changing specials; a few hints of America and Mexico thrown in for good measure, you are sure to leave full up. Cheap, cheerful with a Mancunian welcome, weekends are especially busy and you may have to hang around a while to secure a table, but during the week, this shouldn’t be too much of a worry. This place has irregular closing times, so it's best to get there early.
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TAKK MCR

11) TAKK MCR

This Icelandic inspired coffee house and creative space is one of the newest additions to The Northern Quarter, and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular. The minimal design, open brickwork, old school graffitied tables and atmospheric lighting really do make you feel as though you are hiding from the cold somewhere in downtown Reykjavik. These guys know how to make the perfect coffee, and are accommodating if you require something specific – just ask. With a daily selection of changing (always delicious) sandwiches and salads, plus cakes and pastries, and even some very special chocolate imports from Iceland, you are sure to find something that will take your fancy. During the day expect to find young creative freelance workers tapping away at their laptops or a group holding a business meeting about an art collective; TAKK seems to be a bit an office for the creative people of the Northern Quarter – without the suits, just plaid shirts, specs, and cool haircuts. TAKK also plays host to occasional gigs; the acoustics are fantastic, and the vibe is intimate, musicians are always on the verge of great things, so be sure to book tickets in advance.

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Top 10 Cafes and Sweet Shops in Manchester

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Heading up Oldham Street from Picadilly Gardens you arrive at The Northern Quarter; the ‘cool’ part of Manchester, think Brooklyn, Shoreditch, Le Marais; trendy young things with fancy haircuts frequent the coffee houses, boutique and vintage shops during the day and the bars once night-time...