While this is a full service café, the comfortable lounge seating and low tables make it awkward to eat with the kind of dignity one feels is required in such a grand setting. Therefore, I come here only for coffee in the morning (it is one of the few places left where coffee is not Italian: instead they serve ‘politically correct’ Freetrade, brewed in a cafetiere) or tea in the afternoon when the scones are irresistible, even if the crumbs do end up down the back of the sofa.
Manchester’s Town Hall is a delight for aficionados of Gothic architecture, and the Council does its best to make the interior available to visitors who want a fix of Victorian magnificence. The café was opened in the Sculpture Hall a few years ago, making what was a stiff, formal exhibition of the city’s former worthies (mostly men, of course) more of an enjoyable experience and an attraction for those who might otherwise find statues uninteresting. Snack in splendour, at very reasonable prices. But be warned that it gets busy at lunch times and don’t get caught out by the early closing time of 16.00.