Chapter 1 Books, 19 Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1BY – Visit Now
This brand new bookshop and tea room in Manchester is an oasis of literary calm.
For such a big city, Manchester is woefully short of independent bookshops. So the arrival of Chapter 1 Books is to be welcomed – and not just by book-lovers. Located in the Northern Quarter, Chapter 1 occupies a tantalisingly large space that includes a tea room (with working fountain), rows of comfy armchairs, typewriter booths at the back and a gallery-cum-event space. For now at least, it has a sense of the unfinished about it, with a floor-to-ceiling set of shelves at the rear empty on our visit. Chapter 1 is filling up slowly; the team is choosey about their selection.
Chapter 1 Books is to be welcomed – and not just by book-lovers
Most of the bookcases are dotted around the space are full, however, with more titles artfully displayed on brightly painted wooden picnic tables. There’s a strong emphasis on fiction, including – hidden away in an appropriately gloomy corner at the rear – a decent selection of crime novels. We discovered a shelf of used titles, always a delight for a rummage, although the range of cookbooks was frustratingly small.
The winged armchairs and squishy chesterfield sofas, with little tables alongside, are perfect for browsing while enjoying a cuppa and a slice of cake; the café’s baked offerings include an irresistibly moist chocolate orange Jaffa gateau and a rainbow sponge. A tiny carved wood upper gallery has more seating to hang out on and the vintage typewriters at the back encourage you to write words and leave them to be displayed later. We were charmed by the gorgeous stationery on sale too, including cards, pretty notebooks and memo pads.
More books, an expanded menu (which is in the pipeline) and regular events will turn Chapter 1 into the finished article – a must-do stop-off for when your reading stack, and your rumbling tummy, need replenishing.