Ziferblat, 23 Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HW
Time: Monday, 8pm
Prams/pushchairs: zero, but the time of day and the first floor location may explain that
Toilets: didn’t see any, but I also didn’t ask
Wifi: free and password clearly displayed
Napkins: see below
Venue: A very large room that’s subtly divided into zones. On certain nights some zones are booked for events (like yoga), but there’s a timetable of what’s on for the next two weeks by the front door so you can take stock of that before you go in. There’s a wide variety of chairs and tables ranging from comfy armchairs with small side tables to hard benches around trestle tables. It all feels very quirky, but not in an annoying and/or forced way.
Coffee: ah well, that’s the interesting thing. At Ziferblat you have to make your own drinks. And all the food and drink is free. You actually pay for each minute you’re there (and only 5p per minute). There’s a choice of filter, Nespresso-esque and instant (shudder) coffee as well as a wide range of teas. The fridge is full of various kinds of milk. As far as food is concerned, you can help yourself to a wide variety of cereals, biscuits and cakes. There are stacks of board games scattered around the place as well if you’re that way inclined. You’re even encouraged to do your own washing up.
Overall: I spent two very enjoyable hours here. I’m surprised that the “free” food and drink didn’t have me throwing everything I could lay my hands on down my neck and I only had the one drink in the whole time I was there. If you need somewhere to study or work or read or kill time and want to avoid the pressure to have to buy things to have the right to stay in a more conventional coffee shop, then this is a really good place to go. 7.5/10