• Idle Hands and Just Between Friends rack up the Northern Quarter caffeine count

Idle Hands and Just Between Friends rack up the Northern Quarter caffeine count

12 April 2018 by Neil Sowerby

YOU might be forgiven for thinking the Northern Quarter was already suffering from caffeine overload, but ToM extends a warm welcome to two special looking coffee bar arrivals.

Idle Hands at 35 Dale Street is no stranger, of course. Their landlord difficulties forcing them out of their original project across the road have been well documented. As have their fans rallying to help. So it’s good to see them bounce back strong in a new, stylish setting; Just Between Friends at 56 Tib Street is a new acquaintance in a tiny space that looks likely to punch above its weight in a competitive coffee market.


Dave Wolinksi and partner Lucy Phillips never gave up hope, even when one planned re-opening stalled, and the kind of local support that fuelled a GRUB fund-raiser has carried on into the design of the new place (still without a frontage sign; look out for their trusty board). 

Chairs come from our friends at Plant NOMA, while the benches and tables were created by Jeffay Furniture, designed with the help of Fred Aldous in Lever Street. DR.Me Studio and Islington Mill’s textbook studio have sorted out a small Engine House Collective show for the walls.

Oh and the coffee and food are still works of art in themselves. Koppi, Worksop and Dark Arts are hand-picked speciality roasters on offer. A similar attention to detail applies in cakes such as their signature chocolate orange and pistachio cream pie or (pictured) current rave  raspberry meringue pie. We believe there’s a booze licence, too.

Just Between Friends serves up single origin coffee from Brixton roastery Assembly, whose exemplary beans can now be found in cafes from Paris to Bucharest and beyond.

With that coffee owner Izzy Wallis promises a brunch menu featuring the likes of sandwiches, bircher muesli and granola and, naturally, smashed avocado on toast plus drinks such as matcha, beetroot lattes and fizzy drinks from the Soda Company.

Idle Hands, 35 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 2HF; Just Between Friends, 56 Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LG. Opening times vary.

Check out our Taste Top 15 Coffee Bars and tell us if you agree with our choice.