It’s a sunny Saturday morning in Manchester, and I’m sat in Fig and Sparrow waiting for my Cortado, which I’ve just ordered.
I nearly did a live review of this coffee shop a while back, but I couldn’t get a seat as it was packed, and I can see now that if you don’t want to queue for a seat at Fig and sparrow, you have to do what I’ve done today, and get in early.
It opens at 10, it’s only about 5 past now, I was one of the first in but it’s now filling quickly around me, popular place, and I can see why.
Edit: Opening hours: Monday – Friday open 8am – 7pm, Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 11am – 6pm
It’s towards the centre of the popular Northern Quarter, on Oldham street, a few shops down from Night & Day Cafe’ (I played there a few times with my band, years ago), and close to the brilliant Afflecks Palace (and I know it’s just called Afflecks now, but it’s still Afflecks palace to me).
I really like the Northern Quarter, and I can see why it’s so popular, it’s only a stones throw from the hectic main city centre, Market street, Arndale & Piccadilly Gardens, but it’s quieter, much more chilled, and feels like a completely different place.
Fun fact, the Northern Quarter was used as the streets of Manhattan in the movie Alfie, and as 1940s New York City in the Hollwood Movie Captain America: The First Avenger.
The atmosphere here in the Fig and Sparrow is chilled, even though it’s filling up quite quickly, everyone around me including the staff seem to be in pleasant moods, it doesn’t feel like being in a busy city centre coffee shop. It’s a lovely place to sit and have a coffee and a chat with friends as I can see some folk doing, or sitting and typing away on a laptop as me and the fella sat next to me are doing.
I’ve just got myself a water from the water dispenser opposite, which has sliced oranges in it, I prefer lemons to oranges in water, I find slightly orangey tasting water to be slightly odd, but anyway it’s free, and its refreshing, so I won’t complain ;-).
Here comes my coffee. I’m amazed by the detail in the latte art, on such a tiny canvas on top of the teeny Cortado, it must be about 2.5 inches in Diameter, I don’t know how they manage that! It tastes very good, I’m impressed, but I wouldn’t expect anything else given the other reviews I’ve seen about the Fig and sparrow.
By the way, I can confirm that their pastries are fresh, as I walked in behind the bakery delivery man – so if you fancy a fresh pastry and a very nice coffee on a Saturday morning, in a nice chilled laid back coffee shop, I’d certainly recommend fig and sparrow, but if you want to be sure of getting a seat without waiting, get here close to 10.
Looking around me there are loaves of bread for sale, Aeropress, copper Hario coffee kettles, bags of Climpson coffee, cushions, flasks, candles, jugs, glass jars, kitchen utensils and all manner of other wares for sale.
All looks like nice quality, unique stuff actually, and I was about to say that everyone I’d seen in here so far is focussed on coffee and tea rather than looking at the products, but now I’ve said that there are a couple of young ladies perusing the merchandise, oh and a fella has just come in and started looking too, so the assumption I was beginning to form, that the products are more for aesthetics than anything else, has quickly been quashed, it does actually appear to be a dual purpose space, shop & Cafe’ – although I’d assume that a lot more coffee is sold here than anything else.
There’s a lot of light in here, it help that the walls and ceilings are white, and there are lots of lights hanging from the ceiling, also a lot of light spills in from the large windows – there are seats looking out through these which would be a nice spot for people watching, I might sit there next time, and yes I’ll definitely be coming in here again.
So there we go, that’s my live review of the Fig and Sparrow, Northern Quarter, Manchester – very impressed by the place, and I’ll be back.
Mandy Lowell. Good variety of teas, coffees plus porridge yoghurts toasts baked goods. Also has lunch menu. Pleasant small cafe, makes food to order. Wi Fi.
Howard N Hughes. Chilled place with high quality food. Very friendly staff. Not cheap but ‘homemade’ bread including a variety of different sourdough breads. Coffee with toast and honey was really nice. Quirky cards and gifts for friends who have usually seen it all. And a really good free WiFi service….
Patrycja Iwa. Just amazing. With style and soul. First place I’ve been with such selection of non diary milk heaven for vegan and vegetarian white coffee addicts like me. Great atmosphere, friendly staff, what else you can ask?
Joe Stevenson. Always a pleasure to be here – often referred to as my favourite place on earth!
Tom Bolatch. Gorgeous coffee – true coffee lovers’ paradise!
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