Café culture is in our bones here in Manchester, and with probably one coffee shop to every person in the city (maybe not factually accurate), some have gone the extra mile to stand out. From cosy nooks full of books, to Anime-themed spots and mobile cafés, we’ve got everything really – so next time you fancy a coffee with a difference, check out one of these quirky coffee shops in Manchester.
1. Chapter One Books
Perhaps the first place that comes to mind when thinking of quirky places to grab coffee in Manchester is Chapter One. Both bookshop and coffee shop, the cosy nook in the centre of the Northern Quarter offers a sweet hideout to watch the world go by, with books surrounding the tables and different areas of seating for whatever you require. The water feature in the middle of the shop provides a gentle background noise to keep things chilled, and believe us when we say you could spend hours sipping and reading at this Manchester gem. Chapter One Books, Chatsworth House, 23 Lever St, M1 1BY.
2. KIOSK, Didsbury
Built into a doorway in Didsbury, of course KIOSK had to make this list. After failing to become an access point to the flats above, the cupboard’s original brick has been revealed and cleaned up, with owner Jemma and her team fitting a bar, counter, fridges, storage and worktop space to create what is now known as KIOSK on Lapwing.
The tiny bar was granted permission to create a welcoming outdoor terrace – which is now filled with pink chairs and tables in keeping with KIOSK’s sunset pink and terrazzo vibe, giving it a distinctly quirky feel unlike many other coffee shops in Manchester. KIOSK, 99a Lapwing Ln, West Didsbury, M20 6UT.
3. House of Books & Friends
A real hub for getting to know others in the Manchester community, House of Books & Friends is a lovely bolt hole to snuggle up in with a tasty coffee and a book. Its uniqueness comes from the aim to combat loneliness in Manchester, welcoming everyone and anyone in to chat, take part in events, or simply sit alone amongst others. It’s a really special place and one that should be celebrated. House of Books and Friends, Ground Floor, 81 King St, M2 4AH.
4. Animaid, Afflecks
To the western eye, Animaid is likely one of the most quirky coffee shops you’ll see in Manchester. We say coffee shop, but the completely Anime-themed café inside Afflecks actually only serves tea, and milkshakes, in countless forms. All drinks are available hot or cold, and the variety of fruit tea, milk tea and milkshakes all go by Anime-themed names, of course, from Sailor Moon and Naruto to Pikachu and Totoro. The staff of course play into the Anime theme, and are always dressed to the nines, and the café sells all sorts of memorabilia including figurines and clothing in addition to the wonderful drinks on the menu. This is definitely one for the Anime fans. Animaid, 2nd Floor Afflecks, 52 Church St, M4 1PW.
5. Just Between Friends, Ancoats
You might be thinking ‘what?’… but hear us out. This tiny branch of Manchester’s beloved Just Between Friends remains tucked away in the entrance to Beehive Mill in Ancoats, and honestly, if you didn’t know it was there, you’d never know. There’s no permanent sign outside to tell you where it is, and you’d only realise it was actually a coffee shop if you braved turning the corner into the unknown – but you’re heavily rewarded for your bravery. With lovely staff and delicious drinks and pastries, you’ll never forget where it is, and will forever be one in the know – so you can return and sit out on the cobbles if you so wish. Just Between Friends, Beehive Mill, Jersey St, Ancoats, M4 6JG.
The mobile coffee shop with a twist Vanoffee captured the hearts of Mancs this year, and it’s still going strong. The converted ice cream van provides the usual coffee shop goods, with one notable extra – the Doughnoffee. Yes, coffee in a doughnut. The van has graced Altrincham, All Saints Park at MMU and has now settled at Castlefield Viaduct for the whole of August, so you can get your Doughnoffee fix with a gorgeous view. It’s a true quirky Manchester coffee shop in every aspect. Castlefield Viaduct, Catalan Square, Duke St, M3 4PU (August only).
7. The Travelling Teapot
Another mobile offering, the lovely Travelling Teapot provides a true British café experience, currently residing in Buile Hill Park, Salford. The converted 1970s caravan brings joy to locals and those who visit from far and wide, depicting a huge pink teapot – because why not? Serving indulgent hot chocolates, spritely coffees and chilled teas, the Travelling Teapot, AKA Betsy, has so much to offer, utilising ingredients from local businesses including Salford Roasters and Bird and Blend. It’s bound to put a smile on your face, and definitely fits in the ‘quirky’ category. The Travelling Teapot, Buile Hill Park, Weaste Ln, Salford, M5 5JH – follow them on Instagram to tack Betsy’s movements.
8. The Old Fire Station, Salford
As the name suggests, this bakery and coffee shop occupies the space that used to be Salford’s fire station. The Old Fire Station Café Bar is a vibrant venue offering a great food from breakfast through to evening menus, barista served coffees, freshly baked sourdough breads, and of course great beer. There will be regular events including bread-making, meet-the-brewer, coffee tastings and more. As an integral part of the University of Salford, The Old Fire Station and Lark Hill Brewery will feature in academic and research programmes and help provide students with an innovative and real-world learning environment. This quirky new opening is the perfect place to try this weekend. The Old Fire Station, 47 Albion Pl, Crescent, Salford, M5 4NL.
A stalwart coffee roasters in Manchester, ManCoCo (Manchester Coffee Co.) sits ever so appropriately within a railway arch, just a few arches away from Deansgate train station. ManCoCo sums up Manchester perfectly, putting the city’s industrial past front and centre, creating a cavernous and cosy spot to sip on coffee brewed and roasted in-house. The staff know exactly what they’re talking about, and of course, being Manc, are extremely friendly, so do go over and have a chat. ManCoCo also sells its own beans and ground coffee in several varieties both online and instore, so check those out if you’re a connoisseur. ManCoCo, 85 Hewitt St, M15 4GB.