Whether killing time ahead of a train or simply in search of a better brew, don’t miss this unassuming addition to Manchester’s budding third-wave coffee set. Idle Hands pours the best flat whites in the city in supremely laid-back fashion, 12 hours a day, all week long (a little less at the weekends). Make like a local and enter through their sneaky back door. When the first coffee inevitably disappears faster than intended, stake out a cushy leather armchair and order another.
Federal Café & Bar
Without London’s antipodean contingent, Manchester counts just one New Zealand and Australian-inspired cafe so far. Luckily, Federal is a great representation of the genre, serving the only Ozone espresso we’ve seen this side of Shoreditch. Flat whites arrive at drinking temperature, which will be unimpressive for some. It’s a serious brew though, with a double shot of espresso as standard just as it ought to be. There’s also Bonsoy for the lactose averse. Pop back for an evening Fridays and Saturdays for ‘brinner’, Federal’s brunch for dinner.
Federal Café & Bar, 9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester, UK +44 161 425 0974
North Tea Power
The original cool, this Northern Quarter stalwart has been making real coffee for savvy Mancunians and clued-up travellers since 2010. It has been named among The Independent‘s top 50 coffee spots in the country. The house espresso is a Has Bean custom roast called ‘Deerhunter’, which should conjure up exactly the Instagrammed workshop vibes NTP dishes out so well. Served in an undersized glass tumbler, this is a strong but smooth, nutty flat white with a generous milk top. Sip along to a soundtrack of 90s hip hop and enjoy the ensuing warm and fuzzies.
North Tea Power, 36 Tib St, Manchester, UK +44161 833 3073
This permanently buzzing back street coffeehouse and brew bar is a favourite for the coffee and an enticing brunch menu (read: duck eggs). Come for Takk’s Scandi decor and preppy schoolroom furniture. Stay for the satisfying hum of a workhorse Sanremo and a tour of Europe by coffee with worthy filters from the likes of Amsterdam’s Lot Sixty One. The house espresso is from Bristol’s Clifton Coffee Roasters, served with an obscenely clean Rosetta. Leave caffeinated and inspired to DIY a lampshade with a series of wooden rulers.
Rapha Cycle Club Manchester
You don’t need to be a cyclist to tap into Rapha’s international reputation for fine coffee and cafes. The brand has outposts in some of the world’s best known cycling and fashion capitals, including New York, Tokyo, and Sydney, making the Manchester address an exciting addition. Head upstairs for a view of King Street and a flat white served inside the swish retail store. Cycle racing on flat-screen TVs make this less a space for work or a catch-up; rather, perfect for indulging in a spot of authentic sporting culture without the sweat.
Rapha Cycle Club Manchester, 5 St. Ann’s Passage, Manchester, UK +44 161 834 6748