Please note that Teacup has now sad­ly closed dur­ing the pandemic. 

Ear­ly Man­ches­ter mem­o­ries include being per­suad­ed by my friend’s old­er sis­ter to hang around out­side George Best’s shop, hop­ing he would appear. My favourite retail des­ti­na­tion was Crowthers dim­ly-lit lit­tle bou­tique stuffed with gor­geous Biba-style clothes.

Teacup on Thomas St has Mr Scruff the Man­ches­ter DJ as an own­er and the queues of peo­ple (last time I went, stretch­ing out­side the door and out into the rain) are here for the imag­i­na­tive range of cakes, resplen­dent with icing in deli­cious colours. At Big Chill Fes­ti­val one year, Mr Scruf­f’s cafe by the lake was a major source of sus­te­nance – the fluffi­est cap­puc­ci­nos (yes, I know that may offend some cof­fee fanat­ics) part­nered with beau­ti­ful moist slabs of car­rot cake. My wait­ress told me how Mr Scruff  con­tin­ues to feed music lovers by tak­ing brown­ies to his DJ nights.

The pis­ta­chio cake, with its creamy fill­ing stud­ded with pis­ta­chio chunks, and the afore­men­tioned brown­ies are deli­cious; the car­rot and coconut cake was yum­my but a bit dry. I can’t vouch for the taste of the mul­ti­coloured Bat­ten­burg but it gets top marks for looks.

Teapot cafe

Sand­wich­es are just as imag­i­na­tive – try the con­fit of bel­ly pork with spiced fig chut­ney. Although prices aren’t cheap – cake costs around £4.50 a slice, the por­tions are nice and big.

Teacup on Thomas Street, 53–55 Thomas St, Manchester

Slight­ly more tucked away in a qui­et side street is Takk. It’s not owned by an Ice­lander, but its own­er is a true Icelandophile.

Takk cafe interior Manchester

This wel­com­ing, gen­er­ous­ly-sized cof­fee shop and work­space has nailed that down­town Reyk­javik 101 feel, extreme­ly laid back, and imbued with a ram­bling mix­ture of vin­tage and arti­ness. It sells cakes and Ice­landic treats such as liquorice choco­late (when avail­able), so you can sit with your lap­top, browse through books in the book­case at the back, check out the Scan­di­na­vian pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion… or just stare into the mid­dle dis­tance in qui­et contemplation.

There’s a def­i­nite sense of Takk mak­ing its mark as a sort of com­mu­ni­ty cafe, some­where for locals who want to net­work. I loved the feel of this place and will def­i­nite­ly be back.

Takk cafe

Takk Cafe, Tar­iff Street, Manchester

Ezra and Gil is the rec­om­men­da­tion of local friends for cof­fee, imag­i­na­tive break­fasts and lunch­es – it’s on Hilton Square.

I’ve recent­ly fall­en for Ice­landic band Leaves, who I dis­cov­ered thanks to Stevo’s won­der­ful music blog: Stevo­mu­sic­man

One thought on “Cafe society in the Northern Quarter: tea with DJ Mr Scruff and an Icelandic style venue

  1. Two of my favourite places in Man­ches­ter. Recent­ly dis­cov­ered Takk but it’s fast become my No. 1 hang­out place in the boho end of the North­ern Quar­ter. Also check out Drip just round the cor­ner on Hilton Street next time you’re in the area.

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