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The Hourglass Café - Bar

Home > Manchester > Bars | Cafes | Cocktail Bars | Coffee
by Tammy Facey (subscribe)
Read. Write. Run.
Published October 7th 2013
Drinks ready to depart
Train stations aren't the most likely locations for a great café-come-bar, but Manchester Picadilly's new addition is actually rather nice.

hourglass, cafe
Hourglass cafe

Time is precious and whether you're up against the clock or waiting for your train, Hourglass café aim to satisfy your hungry and thirst - and give you a nicer seat than the rather hard ones on the platform.

It has an art-deco quality, and I imagined myself waiting for a traditional locomotive as opposed to high speed train. Large red leather booths and high seats curve around tables which are also quite high up. Being elevated is quite a fun position to be in, and as I cradled my cup of coffee (£2.80), I felt relaxed yet superior - a rare combination I experience.

Hourglass are one of the many cafes in the station, but the fact that it's not just a cafe Amazingly, however the café – bar doesn't just sell typical café goods. Hourglass is a licensed bar, open until the train station closes, so even on a Sunday, at 10pm you can sip a cocktail with your mates, or enjoy a cheeky martini before your journey begins.

As I ordered a rare cup of coffee, a group of women in high spirits also came in and chose their poison. I overheard them order three cocktails and a beer, which came to £18.49, which is certainly value for money, especially in a train station where prices can be sky high for a bottle of water. I however, was happy with my smooth mocha, and was given plenty of brown sugar to sweeten it too.

I'm not sure if it was because I was alone, or because he was in a good mood, but the bar tender was a lovely guy who spent most of his time talking to me about a TV programme we both watched. It was great. And when I looked a little downcast about their lack of loose leaf teas he suggested their coffee, and told me how his training as a barista has become a bit of a joke between his friends because when they go to each others houses he's known as 'coffee maker' who has to make all the drinks, caffeinated or otherwise.

It's such customer service that makes me happy that I'd missed the train. Instead of a lonely 45 minute wait, time seemed to fly between our chats about all things coffee, and the soap stars we love to hate.

cafe, coffee,
My mocha

My mocha was delicious, but the jury's out whether I'll stop drinking tea in favour of ground beans, water, milk and sugar. Equally, I'm not sure whether I'd go out of my way to grab a hot drink at the train station, if I'm not catching a train, but the service, drinks and price get top marks from a non-coffee drinker.

Weekly deal

Then again, they do sell alcohol, and a journey is always more fun when you're in a jovial mood. Happy hour begins now.
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Why? For a cuppa and cocktail before your journey
When: 8am - 10pm Monday - Sunday
Phone: 0161 238 9109
Where: Upstairs in Manchester Picadilly train station
Cost: Hot drinks start from £2.80
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