A tried and tested list of the city’s top spaces for working on the go – complete with laid-back staff and plug sockets a-plenty.
An unreliable work pattern and sketchy job security are the top two freelancer concerns. Closely following on, however, is the dilemma of where to work when your kitchen table just doesn’t cut it. The following are our top alternatives, whatever your work load. The golden rule of café surfing? Order a drink every two hours, or risk being that freelancer…
Here are our picks
TAKK, 6 Tariff Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2FF - Visit now
With individual wooden desks, no shortage of sockets and baristas that can knock-out one of the best flat whites in Manchester, Takk is the nirvana of freelance-friendly cafés, and works hard to maintain its title. This Tariff Street stalwart is known for attracting as many customers in the company of their laptops as those there with friends. Food is reasonably priced and coffee is taken very (very) seriously.
Chapter 1 Books, 19 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1BY - Visit now
A fountain at the front and a row of vintage typewriters at the back make this bookshop-cum-cafe a temple of quirky charm and a hidden gem for those in want of comfortable chairs, or an impressive array of Margaret Atwood books. The bookshop atmosphere is very much respected, meaning noisy neighbouring tables are not an issue at Chapter 1.
Ziferblat Manchester, 23 Edge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1HW - Visit now
The idea behind Ziferblat is simple: help yourself to as much tea and cake as you desire, and pay instead for the time you spend. Clocking in at 6p per minute, you’d think it wouldn’t be entirely ideal for long-haul working – but if you drink caffeine the way a chain smoker inhales cigarettes, it quickly becomes worth the money. The vibe is similar to your favourite grandma’s living room and Freelancer Friday’s are an actual event here.
Manchester Central Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5PD - Visit now
It was a long time coming, but the revamp was worth the wait. Manchester Central Library is now an awe-inspiring cathedral to books, film and archive. As public places to work go, the circular reading room is just about unbeatable – particularly for its idiosyncratic echo. Put your phone on silent and enjoy people watching as much as the space itself.
John Rylands Research Institute and Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3EH - Visit now
If variety is the spice of life, the gothic architecture of John Rylands Library will not fail to pique your interest. Tourists wondering through with magnified mirrors may be a slight turn-off, but the anachronistic joy of working sockets in a 19th Century library, and a silence you won’t find in any coffee shop, makes this a great place to work.
Grindsmith Deansgate, 231 - 233 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4EN - Visit now
Grindsmith’s Great Northern Warehouse branch fuels the Deansgate commuters each morning – but with large tables and a ground roast that is up there with the best of them, it is also a freelance haven for workers needing a caffeine blast. In the otherwise sparse corporate battleground of Deansgate, it is a rarity to find a quality independent.
HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now
Manchester’s leading cross-arts centre is not limited to culture buffs. The downstairs bar provides a light and airy work space, and boasts an impressive collection of ales and cocktails. It’s a happy glass-faced, all day alternative from the sometimes dingy Northern Quarter cafés.
Ezra & Gil, 20 Hilton St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1FR - Visit now
On the corner of Hilton St and Newton St in the Northern Quarter, Ezra and Gil is a popular choice with the Creative Tourist team. The coffee is excellent, as are the breakfast and lunch menus, but beware, the cakes and pastries are dangerously tempting.