January. Post-Christmas food coma, bad weather and good resolutions. And exams.For all my fellow UoM students, January is not the most fun month of the year. Essays are due, revision notes are piling up, and the dissertation deadline is just ‘round the corner. So those who are already sick of spending their day in the Learning Commons (great building, sure, why does it always have to be so crowded…), this post is for you. Studying in a café isn’t for everyone, you’d have to have good headphones or be immune to noise. Noise actually helps me concentrate, because it forces me to make that extra effort that stops me from being distracted. What’s better than going to a café for a couple of hours? You can get food, nice coffee, and a different environment. And they say change is as good as a break. Anyway, here is my top 5 of Manchester’s best cafés for studying, or for an actual break if you have time for that.
The Anchor Coffee Shop
The fact that this small coffee house is just 2 minutes away from my home and 10 minutes away from the main campus is not the only reason it has topped my list. A former pub rescued by a local church-run charity, The Anchor is the most welcoming place in Manchester. The back room has long communal tables, which means there is plenty of space for you to sit or have a meeting if you have a group-project due (bear in mind it is closed on Wednesday mornings because it hosts a community project on that day). The front room is warm and cosy, although a little bit noisier. The Anchor serves very high quality coffee, and I really recommend the Cuban: it is simply amazing. They also serve bagels and soup, which are good-value for money. Keep an eye on the bagel of the month as well, it is usually a sophisticated and seasonal.
Power sockets: +
508 Moss Lane East, Manchester M14 4PA – Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Takk is a Scandinavian café on Tariff Street, close to Piccadilly Gardens and North Campus. The main room is pretty big yet surprisingly quiet, which makes it an ideal spot for a study session. Lightly and tastefully decorated, with bookshelves and artwork, you will feel at home there. The sandwiches are delicious, and they also have a range of warm cheap mains (about a fiver). The coffee is really good, and they sell cakes and pastries as well, to keep your brain going. The only downside is the very limited choice of tea, but the place is just so pleasant it makes up for it.
Power sockets: ++
6 Tariff Street, Manchester M1 2FF – Monday to Friday 8:30am-5pm Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 11am-5pm
Grindsmith Great Northern
Grindsmith is a new independent café located in Salford, which has opened a small outlet in the Great Northern (access on Deansgate). A short walk from Oxford Road Station, it is ideal if you live around that area, or if you like to go to the old John Ryland library. The place itself is very luminous and most importantly very quite (there is music but it is light). There is a very good choice of coffee and tea at a reasonable price, as well as toasties, soups, and cakes to choose from, and again, it is far from being overpriced especially for the area. It closes at 7pm, which is a bit later than the others, and there are plenty of power sockets.
Power sockets: +++
Great Northern Warehouse (access from Deansgate, across Sainsbury’s) – Monday to Saturday 7:30am-7pm Sunday 9am-5pm
North Tea Power
For those who like to multi-task, North Tea Power is ideal. Located in the Northern Quarter just two-steps away from Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street, you can go there for a study session in the middle of the day or after a quick shopping break. A little noisier than the others, NTP might be more suitable for a group discussion, but if, like me, you don’t mind the noise, it is a very good place to go. Although the choice of food is limited and sells out quickly (go early for lunch), the sandwiches are very high quality, and they offer a small range of creative salads. On the drink-side however, they have plenty to choose from, and the loose-leaf teas are good. There also are breakfast options available for those of you who like to start early.
Power sockets: ++
36 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LA – Monday to Friday 8am-7pm Saturday 10am-7pm Sunday 11am-6pm
Oak St. Café Bar
This peaceful café located in the Craft and Design Centre is the best if you want to have a lunch break in the middle of revising. It has an extensive toastie menu as well as a daily menu with soups, frittatas, and yummy snacks as well as cakes. Everything is homemade, and delicious of course! It is very small, but never crowded on weekdays. They also have a big choice of teas, coffees, and homemade cold drinks. The only thing is that the wifi is only free for an hour, which could be a good thing if you’re trying to study without the temptation of online procrastination…
Power sockets: +
Craft and Design Centre 17 Oak Street, Manchester M4 5JD – Monday to Saturday 10am-5:30pm Sunday 11am-5pm
I hope this article gave a good overview of where you can go for a coffee/study session around uni and in town, and I am looking to make another article like this with places in the Fallowfield/Withington area because I know most of you guys live around there. Also, let me know if you know a good place, I’d be more than happy to feature it.
Good luck with your exams!