We made it folks. It was no small feat getting to 2022 considering all the obstacles we have faced. With the landscapes of so many things we thought we understood well, the ground is now moving beneath our feet and that means change is upon us! The shift from brick-and-mortar operations and in-office interactions to widespread remote work has been an adjustment for all of us.
As the workforce and the culture around it changes, people have now taken to working by their favorite window, scheduling their calls in the afternoon so they can have the morning for themselves, and frequenting local watering holes for a home office break. Since the pandemic began, hoards of workers have opted-in to opting-out of the office, even changing roles and internal dynamics to prioritize the new working style.
I worked in hospitality for 11 years at the onset of the pandemic, and have since made the switch to full-time remote work. It was not a pivot I expected to make, but one that I’m not sure I would have made otherwise. The fast money I made waiting tables and shaking drinks was hard to walk away from, so the forceful push that was the lockdown I can now look back on as a perverse blessing in disguise.
To be honest, when I first left Brooklyn I had my doubts about Manchester; the coffee shop culture of the infamous Brownstone borough is a very hard thing to match or replace. Keeping an open mind, I decided to do some exploring around my hometown of Manchester to see what was on offer in the Queen City. I was pleasantly surprised to find some phenomenal choices with similar energy to that which I left behind.
Being an artist, when I finally get that urge to break away from the comfort of my own home (which does not happen as often as you might think), I have certain criteria for my remote work havens. It’s got to be cute; aesthetics are everything to us visual learners and creators after all, it’s got to have good energy, and it’s got to have good tea!
Each coffee shop sweet spot has something different to offer. Moving back home from such an eclectic place as Brooklyn, variety is something I always appreciate and never take for granted. Relearning my hometown city has been an interesting experience and one that, from a creative and professional perspective, I’ve had to go into with open eyes and an open mind. So, I thought it was my duty as peer to other creatives, artists, and remote workers traveling, relocating, and finding their way through this new work culture, to compile a list of my favorite remote work havens in the Greater Manchester area. Full disclosure: this article is written by a lifelong tea drinker who does not like coffee.
The Local Moose – Manchester
Inside of this bright and quaint cafe, a friendly group of staff greet you as you enter an open space featuring canary-yellow high top tables, the most delightful wrap-around windows, and a window counter bar. The Local Moose feels spacious and homey; a great place for catching up with old friends, or a dedicated work session in need of sunny inspiration. The tablespace is just right to accommodate those who work independently or those more collaborative teams. Aside from the yellow tables, which in addition to my friends’ smiles when I walked in, gave me the positivity I was looking for that day, my Georgia Haze latte and Black Sesame scone put me “over the Moose.” Take some time out of your week to check out this phenomenal local cafe, open early and closing at 3 p.m. daily.
This Goffstown gem was recommended to me by a dear friend of mine and I’ve loved it since. Apotheca Flower & Tea welcomes you with a beautiful front patio, a landmark to be enjoyed in the warmer months. Walking inside you’re enveloped in a whimsical cafe with a colorful interior that livens the imagination. My favorite detail, of course, are the featured plants and flora throughout the shop. By the front windows there are a variety of tables to comfortably host any artist or remote worker. Vibrant couches create a cute lounge area that gives a nice tucked-in feeling. The cafe’s numerous specialty drink options warrant them their own punch card, and rightfully so! I typically order the seasonal rendition of my London Fog favorite. The most notable mention and perk for when you need a working break activity or a last minute gift for a friend (… or yourself), is the boutique and flower counter in the back. Here you’ll find hand crafted treasures, custom flower arrangements, or the perfect privacy nook for those happy hideaway days. Apotheca is open seven days a week, closing daily at 4 p.m.
Bookery Manchester – Manchester
Nothing beats working amidst the hard copy thoughts of exceptional writers. Bookery Manchester is the premiere local bookshop, right off of Elm Street are the open windows highlighting book covers that boast quality adventures of the mind. The overall feeling is bright and welcoming, the spaciousness feels as vast as the collection of books, warmed up by a central fireplace lounge for solace-seeking reader. There is a cozy side and window seating around the shop suitable for the avid reader, writer, remote worker, or anyone who simply wants to choose their view. For those working in larger teams or those looking to present, there is a large and open conference and study room available for booking. A central cafe to the rear of the shop serves specialty lattes and cold brew on tap when you need a bit of extra go-power. This neighborhood staple is closed on Tuesdays but open the remainder of the week with longer hours than other local spots from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Restoration Cafe – Manchester
A true brick and mortar, Restoration Cafe’s relaxing environment has an inviting outdoor section reminding us of sunnier days ahead. With plenty of table space and seating to support the remote working cohort, this cafe features a fully functional food menu for those looking for a worthy lunch or a fresh juice to bring that pep back. I really love this local eatery to enjoy the little luxury of being able to linger after I finish my workday. The tea selection is modest, and they even make my go-to London Fog just right. With longer weekend hours for our remote weekend warriors and alternate schedule creators, this is a must-visit when you’re feeling that home office cabin fever. Open until 4 p.m. on the weekends and 2:30 p.m. during the week.
Flight Coffee – Bedford
Pulling into what I once knew as the Vista Market parking lot, I found myself in a new world and invited in by a ready spaceship and a pup-stronaut that brings joy to the dreamer in us all. Walking into this eclectic cafe, Flight Coffee drew me in by the retro leather window side lounge where a crooner sat by the window plucking guitar strings to the tune of “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney. That mystical feeling of being in the right place at the right time was confirmed by a stranger who made sure I got my order in even though I wasn’t exactly in line. Eyes wandering to the back of the space where I spotted the perfect secluded section for those editing days when zoning in is a requirement. Featuring a menu with options for every kind of morning starter, they whipped up my usual London Fog which was enjoyed near the front window under the bright blue gradient wall that made me feel right at home. This Bedford treasure opens early and closes at 4 p.m. every day.
Hometown Coffee Roasters – Manchester
An industrial delight in the midst of Downtown Manchester, Hometown Coffee Roasters is an open and expansive coffee lab and the home of freshly ground and brewed coffee. Its industrial feel sets the perfect tone for getting any job or project done. With its clean and cool interior, it’s a great blank slate for conversation, inspiration, and a productive day all while enjoying a noteworthy cup of joe or a creamy tea latte. The local cold-brewmasters even serve four-packs for those having meetings on the go. This popular morning monument is an exceptional out of office selection for the early bird and the worm, as a prime local favorite it’s open early seven days a week and closes at 2 p.m. daily.
A&E Coffee & Tea – Manchester
Adoration is a fine feeling for this charming, small-scale cafe. A&E Coffee & Tea gives a refreshing take on an intimate surrounding with your choice of hot beverage. Akin to a tiny coffee greenhouse, the greenery that highlights the space enhances the energy of this central downtown treasure. Inside, you might find an eclectic character giving sage advice on how to better value your time in the New Year. Complete with a friendly crew of baristas and a pleasant selection of coffee wares and other goods. Another choice option for those working in the later hours of the day, the home of the Almond Creme latte (a true must try), is open early and closes at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Cafe la Reine – Manchester
Regal by title and reputation, the french Cafe la Reine is cozy and satisfying, offering the ideal window counter for those window-gazing workers. Freshly made seasonal specialty lattes are a delectable delight and the perfect accompaniment to an avocado toast or an acai bowl to jumpstart any day. You might find a few other remote workers inside or even get an uplifting compliment on your new hair color from an admirer enjoying their own cup. This downtown find is a great place to settle in for a coffee break or to hunker down for an hour or two to meet that deadline. The cafe is open early and closes at 2 p.m. every day.
Hot Rize Bagel Cafe – Merrimack
Popular amongst early morning commuters and weekend adventurers, Hot Rize Bagel Cafe is an ideal locale for a work date or a working lunch break. The tablespace offers a variety of options for those seeking to choose their experience, including a marvelous window counter, cozy fireplace, a large community dining table, and back lounge couches for those more intimate gatherings. Its wall-length bookshelf is a sound proposition for avid readers and curious minds alike. The staff is friendly, the food menu is stellar, and the service is fast, offering the ideal set-up for the window-loving writer or a team meet up. However, they don’t offer WiFi so be prepared to use your mobile hotspot or forgo access to the worldwide web. This local staple is open early and closes at 2:30 p.m. daily.
Whether you’re looking for an alluring space to get your creative juices flowing, dive into the perfect brainstorm, meet that fast approaching deadline, or simply enjoy a moment between meetings, the Greater Manchester area has a plethora of worthy options for any occasion. Cheers to changing the work culture as we know it one cup at a time.