A bustling and important city and metropolitan borough in the Greater Manchester part of, England, Manchester is a large British city with an estimated population of 550,000 permanent residents in the city proper and some 2.5 million residents in its larger metropolitan area. Manchester is a major tourist destination and the second-most visited city in England after London, boasting hundreds of fantastic sites and attractions and millions of visitors each year from around the globe.
Due its large population and urban location, Manchester has more than its fair share of great independent coffee houses—cafes located throughout the city selling a variety of tasty brews, pastries, sandwiches and even craft beer. In the following article we will highlight several of these great coffee shops, including a description of the drink and food menu offered at each cafe, the accommodations and characteristics of each shop, and some of the amenities offered to customers, such as free Wi-Fi or music—and one that even offers indoor bicycle parking and repairs.
Pot Kettle Black
Located in the busy Barton Arcade section of Manchester, and housed in a gorgeous Victorian-era building, Pot Kettle Black (or PKB as it is known to its regular customers) is a terrific boutique café, owned by Jon Wilkin and Mark Flanagan, both of who are big names in the Manchester Rugby League scene.
The drink menu at Pot Kettle Black includes a wide variety of espresso, Piccolo, Flat While, Lattes and Cappuccinos, most of which are made from the very delicious “Cult of Done” coffee beans, produced by the coffee company known as Workshop. The prices you can expect to pay at Pot Kettle Black are very reasonable, beginning at £2.30 for an espresso, and rising to £3.50 for a cup of one of their signature coffee selections. Customers can also pick up a great pastry or sandwich with their coffee order, all of which are made fresh on site.
Although the coffee is definitely the main draw at Pot Kettle Black, the owners have also added a number of amenities and special events to attract customers. On Friday evenings, for example, one can hear local acoustic musicians play live in the coffee house as they enjoy a delicious brew, and every other Wednesday morning a Book Club meets to discuss the latest novel they are reading. Free Wi-Fi is available to all paying customers, and the shop even features AM rooftop fitness workouts—a great way to get your morning off on the right foot.
Java Bar Espresso
The motto at the very popular and trendy Java Bar Espresso is “precious time well spent”—a motto the owners, baristas and servers work diligently to honor every single day. Housed within a cozy shop, with a small oaken coffee bar and super comfy sofas and armchairs scattered throughout the space, Java Bar Espresso is a great place in which to hang out and simply relax for a while, and the free Wi-Fi makes it a popular stopover for students, would-be writers and busy desk jockeys working on various projects.
Opened in 2005, Java Bar Espresso offers its customers a substantial variety of hot and ice-cold coffee drinks, including cappuccinos, pour over coffee, mochas, lattes and, of course, espresso, made from the finest local and international beans. There are also many varieties of tea for sale at Java Bar Espresso, as well as a tasty food menu that includes some very decadent homemade pastries and cookies, scones, specialty sandwiches and ultra-fresh salads. There is a full line of craft beers available here, too, as well as a limited, albeit delicious, selection of wine.
The owners at Java Bar Espresso are very well-versed in the coffee business, having opened their first shop, Café Kaddoma in the Deansgate area of Manchester, in 1996. Having fallen in love with the European Coffee scene, they opened Java Bar Espresso as a way to reach—and treat—more customers; and because they have used the same coffee blend for over 16 years now, they certainly have the coffee-making process down to a science. According to the owners who were quoted in a local publication, “at Java Bar Espresso we want our customers to kick back and get a little squeeze from us, a little hug. We want them to feel safe, valued and enjoy our coffee, wine or food.”
Located at 60 Tib Street in Manchester’s North Quarter, Sugar Junction is a quaint, vintage-styled coffee shop with a wonderful following of morning and afternoon regulars. Sporting antique wood furniture and pewter accents, Sugar Junction feels like an old-time coffee shop. However, its modern brew process produces coffee that is anything but stale.
At Sugar Junction patrons can order up some very potent and affordable espresso, flavored lattes and cappuccinos, teas, and more. The food menu has many English-themed pastries, cakes, scones and other snacks, as well as craft beer and a limited selection of wine.
From its décor to the excellent service, the Sugar Junction is a charming little café that will make you want to stay a while if only to soak up the atmosphere.
Pop Up Bikes
If you’re the type of person who likes to ride your bicycle to school or work, or simply ride for recreation, Pop Up Bikes is definitely the coffee shop for you. Pop Up Bikes is Manchester’s first—and only—“cycle café,” a place that serves delicious, piping hot coffee and offers indoor bicycle parking for approximately 100 bikes.
Pop Up Bikes, which is located at Arch 5 on Manchester’s Corporation Street, is open 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The unique café serves up some of the most delicious espresso and cappuccino in the city, and some amazing flavored drinks, including a killer vanilla latte and chocolate mocha. Best of all, it gives bicycle riders—and bicycle enthusiasts—a safe place to park their rides. The coffee shop also offers basic bicycle repairs for two-wheeled commuters, including chain oiling, tire changing and gear shift fixes at a very affordable rate.