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FIRST LOOK: Pot Kettle Black, Barton Arcade

L'Oréal Blackett gets a feel for the rugby boy's new independent coffeehouse

Written by . Published on October 6th 2014.

FIRST LOOK: Pot Kettle Black, Barton Arcade

AS SOON as Pot Kettle Black opened its doors on Friday 3 October the coffeehouse characters got settled right in.  

"When Jon and I were looking for a place to set up we immediately fell in love with Barton Arcade - it was the high ceilings and windows."

Once midday arrived spectacled women clutching bestsellers snapped up the comfy chairs, suits gathered for afternoon meetings and students parked themselves down looking for outlets to plug in their phones. I was there to fill the ‘writer with a notepad’ archetype.

One day in and the new independent coffee shop was good and busy. 

Pot Kettle Black is set to add a little vigor and bustle to the Barton Arcade.

Dsc_0532Pot Kettle Black

Inside the glass fronted coffeehouse, designers have stuck with original features, embracing the beautifully detailed Victorian back-drop of the historic arcade. It has a ‘new store’ finish, yet manages to feels classic and cosy with low hanging lights and sultry spaces to both work and relax. The uniformed staff are professional and welcoming with matching smiles and happy pleasantries.

Pot Kettle Black (or PKB) is a coffee venture by St Helens rugby duo Jon Wilkin and Mark 'The Flash' Flanagan. I’d find that they both have a passion for beans as big as their beef'n'brawn

Dsc_0569Pot Kettle Black

Inspired by Flanagan’s time playing rugby in Australia (where he discovered the flat white was the choice amongst coffee lovers), they aimed to bolster the independent coffee offering outside of the Northern Quarter.

“I’m so happy with the turn out today,” said Flanagan. “Hopefully a new coffee shop will encourage more people to spend more time inside this beautiful building.

“When Jon and I were looking for a place to set up we immediately fell in love with Barton Arcade - it was the high ceilings and windows. We decided to keep a lot of the space as it was, we wanted to flatter the original features,” he added.

Dsc_0550Mark Flanagan at Pot Kettle Black

"We also felt the area was crying out for more independents to contend with all the major chains on Deansgate. We wanted to provide something different for all the people who worked and shopped in the area."

By different, Flanagan and Wilkin are promising to offer up a far less bitter blend of coffee than found in Starbucks, Costa Coffee and the like. The coffee comes from Workshop Coffee in London. 

As they state on the website: "We want to challenge what is currently perceived as 'good coffee'. Over roasted, burnt and smoky flavours will be replaced by a lighter and much more delicate roast. The natural fruity tones of the coffee cherry will be extracted. Our suppliers are constantly tasting for consistency and we want to pass on their expertise to you. If you want the science we can talk about it. If you just want a good brew thats fine by us too."

We tried the coffee, and were met with delightfully smooth textured flavours that weren't overly bitter, as promised. Indeed the editor says, "The coffee carries that sweet rich fruit of proper arabica beans: it's immediately one of the best caffiene hits in the city." 

Prices average around the £3 mark for coffees, same going for the locally sourced selection of soups, sandwiches and cakes.

Full review to follow.

Follow @LOreal_B on Twitter

Find Pot Kettle Black Unit 14, Barton Arcade, Deansgate, Manchester
M3 2BW










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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 6th 2014.

More coffee? Yawn!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
MGSOctober 6th 2014.

tired? have a coffee

Lisa KenyonOctober 6th 2014.

Are you mad, there isn't enough coffee in this city... good coffee that is! :) looking forward to giving this a go!

Steven ParkerOctober 6th 2014.

Is Barton Arcade a shopping district - surely just Barton Arcade just like Argos in the Arndale is not The Argos shopping District?!

Yvonne BarryOctober 6th 2014.

Marvellous - nice to see something new in Barton Arcade - good luck with it

EllieOctober 6th 2014.

Looking forward to calling in tomorrow. Lovely Arcade for a coffee shop! Wish them well.

LesleyOctober 6th 2014.

Sounds lovely. Can't wait to try. We miss the cafe/ restaurant/club that used to be on the corner of Barton Arcade and whose name escapes me. Good luck to the new venture.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 7th 2014.

I miss 'Geese' the clothes shop.

AnonymousOctober 6th 2014.

Looks a bit stark inside. Is it?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 7th 2014.

That's what I thought. It would put me off my indie coffee.

babyapeOctober 10th 2014.

£2.20 for a single espresso!!!! Bit much!

AnonymousOctober 10th 2014.

Is the coffee locally sourced too?

Anne GeeOctober 14th 2014.

I visited the coffee shop on Grand Final day after seeing on the internet it was owned by Jon and Mark. We usually visit Café Rouge but this was much better. Beautiful décor and lovely smooth coffee and the icing on the cake was actually meeting Jon Wilkin, god knows what he must have been thinking as I just gaped (awe struck) but he was such a gent, very welcoming (but then we are from Yorkshire) he even thanked us for coming. Thank you for making my weekend Jon, we will of course come again.

DavidDecember 1st 2014.

In Bolton Market there is a nice little independent coffee unit that offers a espresso at nearly 50% of the price of this rip off establishment.Nobody should be charging £2 for a espresso,which costs literally only a few pence to make.These guys are taking you for fools,if you pay their prices.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 5th 2014.

Good point David. I imagine the business rates and other costs for a stall on Bolton Market is exactly the same as in Manchester city centre.

John ODecember 6th 2014.

Brilliant warm rustic coffee house, about time, love it

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