Ten solid spots to bring your laptop from coffee shops to workspaces
There’s a special type of terror that comes with buying a coffee, sitting down in a coffee shop to work, realising your laptop is on 0% charge and then discovering the only plug in the building is being used by the coffee machine itself.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. Bookmark this article immediately because there’s a chance it might save you a lot of time in the future. You might go to one of the spots on this list and it might be full. No problem, there are other options, panic denied.
So what makes a good workspace? How have we compiled this list? I, a former freelancer, have compiled this list of coffee shops and workspaces to take into account a variety of factors. Firstly, it’s all about plugs. You never know when that little battery icon is going to go red and there’s nothing more frustrating and detrimental to work zen than a lack of juice.
Other factors include atmosphere, coffee offering, pricing (which also coincides with how shamelessly long you’re willing to sit on one coffee) and general opening times. There’s a very vibey trend for certain places to have a “no laptops after 4pm” policy, which if you’ve hit your work stride later in the day, is a bit of a productivity killer.
Whether you’re taking a break from home working, taking your studies on the road or having a change from the office, here are some good spots in Manchester to not work from home (NWFH).
What: 92 Degrees
Where: 16 John Dalton St, Manchester M2 6HY
How much: oat milk flat white (£2.95)
Now with two spots in Manchester, 92 Degrees is a good place to work out of. The Middlewood Locks site is a helpful option for Salford locals whilst the John Dalton Street is something to aim for in town. There's a satisfying minimalism to the city centre branch, good for not getting too sidetracked. Plenty of plugs and an upper floor balcony that provides welcome refuge.
Very good coffee, slightly cheaper than others with dependable snacks and lunch choices - think bagels and pastries. Props to their use of futuristic, ergonomic cups that fit like lego bricks onto their associated saucers. Less chance of a laptop/latte collision.
What: 200 Degrees
Where: 75 Mosley St, Manchester M2 3HR
How much: flat white (£3)
Although it’s probably best known for its barista school and associated events, 200 Degrees is also a solid NWFH spot. Plenty of space on stools left of the counter looking out over Mosley Street. Another wall of dedicated seating with small square tables right of the door, with a generous sprinkling of plug sockets (pictured above).
The coffee quality goes up to nerdy levels and the place has a bit of a way with certain sweet treats. That raspberry and white chocolate blondie is a personal favourite but in its absence, the pastel de natas are very good.
Where: Union, Albert Square, Manchester M2 6LW
How much: flat white (£3)
The Ditto on Oxford Road is a handy option for your morning cup if you’re coming into town from that direction but we’d recommend the Albert Square branch, a collaborative space with Bruntwood, for getting down to a day’s work. Around the corner from the newly refurbed Lincoln Square, there’s plenty of seating, be it stools or tables, and most of it is plug supported.
It’s Ditto too, so the coffee is inevitably expertly made and there’s an expansive brunch menu as well sweet pastries and treats. Fun fact: Bruntwood buildings have their own specially-made diffusers which is why they smell so good. This Ditto is a good example of those high-end smells.
Where: 169-171 Burton Rd, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2LN
How much: flat white (£2.60)
There’s an almost battery-charging quality to the way the sun shines into the front of Folk on Burton Road in the morning. It’s a natural pick me up when you’re gills deep in work. The neighbourhood bar doubles up as a good workspace if you’re in the area. Plenty of seating, with an outdoor canopy that’ll no doubt come into its own during summer. Very good coffee and a brunch menu that has the potential to make NWFH a lot funner than it should be.
A laid-back place during the week, it lends itself to later starts opening at 10am and earlier finishes before the evening crowd turn up. You’re going to want to aim for the booth seating right of the bar (pictured above) if you’re after a plug.
Where: 58 Peter St, Manchester M2 3NQ
How much: oat milk flat white (£3)
A great little spot to work from, is Haunt. A row of small circular tables and bench seating looking out at the Midland Hotel over the road, all serviced by shiny new plugs (USB and standard three-pin - a freelancer’s dream). Add to the bargain a sub-three pound flat white and you’ve got yourself a serious player on the NWFH scene.
It’s worth noting that Haunt can get a bit busy around lunch, but on the flipside it opens until 8pm Monday to Wednesday, stretching to 11pm during the rest of the week when it goes into full cocktails and wine mode. Thus, a helpful option for working a little bit later if need be.
Where: Unit 3, Longlands Mill, Castle St, Stalybridge SK15 1NX
How much: from £2.50 per hour
Stalybridge is lucky to have a place like Industry and hopefully its example will encourage others to set up similar spaces in towns surrounding Manchester. Located on the same row as Gladstone Barber & Bistro opposite a car park that costs a quid for the day (at the time of writing), Industry is part-salon, part-workspace.
The airy space boasts a long central work table with booth seating at the back. There’s also taller window seating if you’re after something equivalent to a standing desk. Hot and cold drinks are available from the kitchen as well as light bites and grazing boxes. Pay as you go co-working rates start from £2.50 per hour with meeting space options too.
Where: 40 Chorlton St., Manchester M1 3HW
How much: flat white (£2.80)
Canal Street probably wouldn’t be your first choice of destination for getting some serious work done, but this stylish new hotel in the old Mash & Air building has a lovely little co-working space adjoining its lobby and bar. There’s a long central table for working at, plenty of plugs (minimum of nine when we checked), a mini kitchen, and lots of natural daylight.
There’s no fee to use the space - just buy a coffee at the bar and get stuck in. It stocks fresh pastries from Didsbury-based artisan bakers La Chouquette and does a mean line in cocktails - treat yourself to the refreshing Rhubarb Sour at the end of the day.
What: Newtons of Bury
Where: 151 The Rock, Bury BL9 0ND
How much: from £12 per day
It’s a wonder there isn’t more co-working space in North Manchester will all of the warehouse spaces knocking around. Maybe that’ll come in time but in the meantime, there’s Newton’s. A borough first, the co-working spaces takes up a shopfront space on The Rock and offers a variety of co-working options right up to meeting spaces and small office space. Rates range from £12 for a full day to a still very wallet-friendly £120 for 24-hour access all year round.
There’s a communal kitchen to use as well as free tea and coffee. Access is controlled by a phone app which is pretty nifty and there are regular social and networking events encouraging people to come together.
What: Seesaw / Batard
Where: 86 Princess St, Manchester M1 6NG
How much: from £125 per month
It’s not necessarily something you immediately think about, but the fact that Seesaw and (and its associated café, Batard, which anyone can sit in) is a co-working space aimed at creatives might really appeal to some. It’s a nice thought working on personal projects knowing you might have a graphic designer to your left or an illustrator to your right that you can chat to in between Pomodoro breaks.
Seesaw itself has a host of membership options ranging from flat pay as you go rates to pricier hot desk subscriptions. Batard meanwhile, offers some of the most picturesque sandwiches in the centre of Manchester with coffee to match. It’s also an especially cosy space when it’s raining outside. Make of that what you will.
Where: Core, Brown St, Manchester M2 1DH
How much: hot-desking from £180 per month
Another bells and whistles workspace in the centre of town. Work.life provides the all-important pay as you go rate if you’re over the coffee shop faff, as well as more costly options to hire out desks and even small office spaces. The bells and whistles come thick and fast. A kitchen area, phone booths, breakout areas, the works.
All of that is without going into the additional perks. “Ninja-fast” WiFi is a description that fills us with confidence, as does secure bike storage, free snacks, free tea and coffee, free wellness perks and activities as well as after-work socials. The only downside is after all that you might find it tough going home at the end of the day.
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