The 5 best cafés where you can study in Manchester

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

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!

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Soup Kitchen

One thing you need to know about me is that I absolutely love Soup Kitchen. Whether I am in need of a mid-shopping cup of tea, a filling meal, a pint or a good night out, I know it will never let me down.

As one of the first places I’d been to in the Northern Quarter during my first year in Manchester, it remains my favorite. In fact, chances are, if you are one of the happy few who came to visit me here, you have been introduced to SK. I indeed believe that there is no better place to go after going through a flight and a long bus ride all the way from the airport. You got the idea, the first place I usually take my visiting friends from home is Soup Kitchen.

If I were to describe it with one word it would be “hybrid”. Is it a bar, is it a cafe, is it a club? Well, as you can guess, it is all of them. Now, what can you expect from it? In the daytime, you will find people working om their laptop drinking coffee and small groups of friends enjoying the delicious food at the communal wooden tables. As the sun sets, a happy crowd will start invading the place in search of a good craft beer or a pint of quality cider.

On certain nights, the basement will be open for a gig, or the infamous Remake Remodel, a night of alternative rock and roll and 1960s to 1980s gems.

If you happen to go on a Sunday, you may have the chance to see the tables covered with blank paper. Sharpies are provided, and you are free to draw whatever pleases you. Although I am not sure it happens every week, you might get lucky. It also occasionally hosts local art exhibitions.

Food-wise I would recommend the pea and ham soup, as well as the onion and ale soup. The sandwiches are equally good, with a special distinction for the cheese and tomato relish one. The main menu changes every so often, offering a variety of stews (vegetarian options available) and pies, as well as salads. They also serve cakes, (from the classic lemon drizzle to the not-so-common chocolate-avocado tart.) Although the prices are a bit higher than in more student-y areas, it remains reasonable. Expect to pay about 10£ for a main and a drink, perhaps 12£ if the drink is alcoholic. The staff is also super friendly.

Located on Spear St just off Stevenson Square, it is ideally situated at the heart of the Northern Quarter, a 5 minutes walk away from the Arndale.