Two For Joy Café has opened in the Northern Quarter (where else?)
On a bleak and dismal Wednesday afternoon, the Body Confidential team found themselves trudging through the rain in search of happiness. But not just any kind of happiness, we were after the kind that can only be found in sugar, lots of it, from enamel-melting drinks to sprinkled sweet treats and Unicorn-themed baked goods.
It's a happiness promised in buckets at Two for Joy - Manchester's new 'happiness café'. Located above the Ridelow on Northern Quarter's Church Street, Two for Joy is colourfully decked out in vivid, candy-bright pinks, blues and yellows, with a cute, slightly, erm, pre-pubescent feel.
Fake flowers top the tables, fake grass lines the floor, while carefully placed memos remind you to ‘be happy’ (we're half expecting Rainbow's Zippy and George to pop-up from behind the counter).
Happiness is not easy to find, mind you, hidden between a bike shop and a black leather vaping lounge, this happiness cafe keeps unusual company. Though owner Charlotte Ducie says she wanted it this way.
“I wanted the café to be a sort of hidden gem,” Ducie explains. The 22-year-old had the idea for the café after noticing the trend for unicorn and rainbow-themed products on Instagram (similar to the trend which brought us glitter eyebrows and glow-in-the-dark hair). “I realised that there weren’t really any cafes catering to the rainbow trend, apart from around Pride weekend.”
Despite dropping out of university, Ducie brought her café vision to life after securing a Virgin start-up loan in June, just a few months after pitching her idea in February. She has since been working with Virgin business mentors to launch the café. And with the Black Milk cereal café recently expanded to bigger premises at the end of Oldham Street, the location seems ripe for another gimmicky café.
Novel menu ideas include: the Unicorn hot chocolate, a pastel pink hot drink oozing with sugar and a hint of white chocolate, topped with lashings of whipped cream and a heavy dose of sprinkles (note: it tastes like sugary Ovaltine); and the rainbow bagel, a New York-inspired savoury snack injected with food colourings and served with a squirt of cream and sprinkles. A cute idea, if a little heavy in e-numbers and low in nutritional value (perhaps better Instagrammed than ingested).
Still, we're not really here for the food, we're here for the happy thoughts.
But what makes the happiness café so happy? To spread positive vibes, each order comes with a little envelope, offering a random quote to brighten your day. One wall features a selfie-mirror, reminding customers they “look great”, whilst a chalkboard encourages customers to share what makes them feel happy. The walls are bright, the atmosphere light and although some elements are a little makeshift, the café has a considered feel.
As well as encouraging positivity in its customers, the café is keen to help the community its nestled in. A coffee donation pot sits beside the till, encouraging customers to purchase a £1 coffee for a homeless person, which staff hand out in the evenings alongside leftover cake.
“A lot of companies throw away left-over or out-of-date food, but this is just wasteful,” says Ducie.
We're not sure whether it was the vibe or the sheer amount of sugar, but we left the café feeling unusually high. And even the rain had stopped - perhaps the positivity is paying off already.
Two For Joy, Happiness Cafe at 27-29 Church St, Manchester, M4 1PE