By Sam Webster
As a southerner, Manchester is just about as far from home (within the UK) as I ever imagined I would be. Yet, despite the glaringly obvious language difference between myself and the Mancunians around me, they sure do have some amazing cafés.
One of these cafés is Fig + Sparrow, which you can find on Oldham Street, in Manchester’s bustling northern quarter. The café is located right beside vintage clothing and music stores demonstrating its strong connection to Manchester’s vibrant vintage culture.
One of the first things that you’d notice whilst stepping into the Fig + Sparrow is that, whilst it is primarily a café, there are also handmade soaps, bath bombs, wrapping paper and art supplies on sale.
After a few years of visiting cafés across the country, this was a first for me. It would seem that Fig + Sparrow set themselves apart from other cafés by providing a range of unique, handmade goods. This is something which is becoming more and more common in independent cafés across the UK, which aim to provide unique services which set them apart from their increasing level of competitors.
The quality of the coffee would most likely speak volumes for the overall quality of the café’s other products (which I unfortunately didn’t get to try) I ordered my usual soya flat white, which akin to a quirky venue such as this, was served in a glass.
What first hit me about this flat white was its striking bitterness, which for a lover of bitter coffee like me, was a big plus. Yet, for those who look for a sweeter drinking experience, a few spoonfuls of sugar would be perfectly complimented by the drink’s rich textured milk and dark, strong coffee flavour.
Fig + Sparrow perfectly demonstrates just how important a café’s overall aesthetic is to the overall drinking experience for its customers.
The café’s large school workshop style tables, as well as hand produced art, soaps and art supplies give the café a sense of being a centre of creativity and alternative culture.
This café is the perfect embodiment of Manchester as a city, it’s quirky, obscure and independent, something which all small bohemian businesses should aspire to be.