Idle Hands, run by the very wonderful Dave & Lucy, started life as a pop-up next to Manchester’s Piccadilly Station. With the building due for redevelopment, this was always going to be a short-term arrangement, but the good news was that about a year after leaving the Piccadilly site, Idle Hands found a new and (at the time) permanent home on Dale Street, moving in on a temporary basis while waiting for the space to be refurbished.
However, just before Dave & Lucy started fitting out the new shop, the landlord abruptly terminated the lease, leaving Idle Hands homeless. For a less determined couple, that would have been the end, but Dave & Lucy picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and, with a ground swell of support from the wider coffee/independent sector in Manchester, found a new temporary home at Grub’s Mayfield site, where I visited one rainy Friday afternoon.
October 2017: Idle Hands is temporarily closed while Dave & Lucy have their baby. In other news, Grub itself has moved from Mayfield to Fairfield Social Club on nearby Temperance Street.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Grub is a Manchester-based street food events company, which has a (temporary) food fair at the old Mayfield Station (around the back of Manchester Piccadilly station), ironically another site undergoing redevelopment. This runs on Fridays and Saturdays, while on Sundays it morphs into Plant Powered Sunday, showcasing vegan street food traders.
Idle Hands has found a new home here, appearing on all three days. It’s conveniently located just inside the entrance to Grub, the first of a row of shipping containers on the left-hand side. However, don’t let the phrase “shipping container” put you off. Rather like another Manchester legend, Grindsmith, an unpromising-sounding exterior belies a rather lovely interior.
In the case of Idle Hands, the look is minimalist rather than sumptuous, with the interior of the shipping container clad in chip board. There’s a central pair of glass doors, flung open when the weather allows, with a generous window on the right and an even larger one on the left. The result is a bright, open space, with the counter occupying the right-hand third (immediately to the right of the door) and seating provided by a four-person bar running along the back wall. There’s another bar along the left-hand wall, but while I was there, there were no seats, the space underneath being used for storage.
I won’t go into Idle Hands’ backstory in any more detail than I already have, since you can find the whole story on Idle Hands’ blog. The good news is that Idle Hands is back doing what it does best, serving some of the finest coffee in Manchester. The pop-up at Grub opened its doors (albeit in a different spot) about a month ago and is going to be there for at least another month, but hopefully not that much longer. The reason is that Idle Hands should be moving into a new, permanent home by the end of the year, although one can never be too certain about these things.
Idle Hands made its name serving outstanding espresso and filter coffee using roasters from around Europe. In its new home, and with the length of stay uncertain, the coffee is currently just from London’s Nude Espresso, with its seasonal East blend on espresso and two or three options on filter, either through the V60 or Aeropress. However, occasional guests do make an appearance, such as a one-off bag of an Ethiopian Rocko Mountain roasted by Norwich’s Strangers Coffee, which was there during my visit, but which was so good that it may have gone by now. A rich, juicy brew, it was outstanding through the Aeropress.
If you’re hungry, then obviously there’s the full range of Grub’s street food vendors, or there’s one of Lucy’s homemade pies: cherry or chocolate cream during my visit. I went for cherry, although judging by the number of slices that had been taken out of the chocolate cream pie, I was in the minority. It was lovely, with great pastry and a rich, fruity filling. Awesome!
December 2017: Idle Hands was a runner-up for the 2017 Best Takeaway Coffee Award.
|GRUB AT MAYFIELD • BARING STREET • MANCHESTER • M1 2AD|
|www.idlehandscoffee.com||+44 (0)7917 096707|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Nude Espresso (espresso + filter)|
|Friday||12:00 – 20:00||Cards||Cash Only|
|Saturday||12:00 – 20:00||Wifi||Free (wide code)|
|Sunday||12:00 – 20:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||18th August 2017|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Manchester’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester & Salford.
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