Federal Cafe Bar

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Federal Cafe Bar
Ian Jones

Federal Cafe Bar on Deansgate, just opposite the Great Northern, is something of a local hot spot, with people willing to queue up in the rain for a chance to get inside those hallowed doors. A chat with the faintly-aggrieved staff at Pieminister next door reveals that it’s “good for the gram”, which in grown-up speak means ‘very photogenic food and surroundings’. Who could resist?

Federal Cafe Bar

I head along on a Saturday afternoon and the rain-sodden queues make some sort of sense. It’s a tiny place with only around a dozen seats, the staff are impossibly upbeat and friendly, with no small amount of swagger at being part of one of Manchester’s most desirable venues.

Everything runs smoothly, the clientele is dressed up to the nines, not quite catwalk but certainly Saturday-night-out-at-a-snazzy-restaurant stylish. This is all great – it’s a step-up from the binman chic found in backstreet Northern Quarter spaces and with clubs closed and about to crumble into oblivion we need to grab every chance we have to dress up and show out.

Federal Cafe Bar

But I digress, I’m not here for a night out on the town, I’m here for lunch on a weekend afternoon. The coffee has one of those attractive drawings on top that I find mystifying and wonderful – I hold myself back from asking for a self-portrait but if that’s an option, I’m all for it. My companion opts for smoked salmon eggs benedict on sourdough toast with fresh hollandaise. It’s a great plate, everything as fresh and perfectly-made as it gets. It’s not cheap at £9 but not obscene either.

Federal Cafe Bar

I go for the French toast – locally famed, apparently, according to my companion. And rightly so, it’s astounding. A tower of bread, cream and crunchy bits and fruity bits, it’s so sugary I steel myself for type 2 diabetes. But it’s worth it. The bread is soft and squidgy, the whipped vanilla mascarpone tastes so good it’s practically religious, and the extra bits (macerated berries, white chocolate and almond crumble, plus a little puddle of salted caramel) all work in tandem to make something beautiful to both the eye and palate.

Does Federal Cafe Bar live up to the hype? Yes, on every possible level. It’s a superb spot for lunch, breakfast and delicious (but artery-clogging) treats. Have I posted it on ‘the gram’? That’s for me and my 58 followers to know.

194 DeansgateManchesterM3 3ND View map
Telephone: 01618330890 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday8:00am - 6:00pm
  • Sunday8:00am - 5:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Federal Cafe Bar

MusicManchester
Manchester Psych Fest 2024

Manchester Psych Fest, the UK’s trailblazing psychedelic music and arts festival has announced a massive bill for its 2024 edition.

from £45.20
Festivo Winds
MusicManchester
Festivo Winds at Low Four

One of the UK’s most exciting young wind quintet’s brings an eclectic programme to Low Four studios.

from £5.00

Where to go near Federal Cafe Bar

Manchester
Hotel
Moxy Manchester City

Moxy Manchester City is a stylish 146-bedroom hotel in Spinningfields, with an attractive living room lobby and modern, well-stocked bar.

City Centre
Restaurant
Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor Manchester is a temple to British beef – this is the first branch outside the capital.

Manchester Opera House by Phil Tragen
City Centre
Theatre
Manchester Opera House

A commercial touring theatre, the Manchester Opera House is reopening in August 2021, all set to host the city’s finest mainstream theatrical productions, music gigs, opera and ballet.

City Centre
Restaurant
Sakana

Right next to Manchester’s Albert Hall, Sakana is a casual Japanese restaurant downstairs, with a fancier Pan Asian on the first floor.

NQ64 Manchester Peter St
Manchester
NQ64 Manchester Peter St

NQ64 Peter Street is the latest venue from the team behind the original (and excellent) NQ bar, offering up video games, high-quality drinks and a great, friendly atmosphere.

Manchester
Restaurant
Hey Little Cupcake

Hey Little Cupcake is a small, trendy cupcake boutique nestled in Spinningfields that uses the finest ingredients to create a signature collection of cupcakes, cakes and brownies.

Castlefield
Restaurant
The Loft Manchester

Smart event space in the building previously occupied by Walkabout, and now host to all manner of exciting one-off happenings

Castlefield
Event venue
Old Granada Studios

Manchester’s old Granada Studios is an iconic piece of the city’s history and home to Sidney Bernstein’s television empire.

Culture Guides