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NEW: Ziferblat Pay-Per-Minute Cafe Opens In NQ

L'Oréal Blackett spends 75 minutes and £3.75 on Edge Street

Written by . Published on February 3rd 2015.

NEW: Ziferblat Pay-Per-Minute Cafe Opens In NQ

I’M mulling, pondering future articles, chewing my lip, meditating, basking in imagination and daydreaming about boys… and it's costing me 5p a minute.

For the price of one grande latte at Starbucks, you could spend an hour in Ziferblat and drink a wellie-full of coffee. 

Ziferblat, the just-opened Northern Quarter cafe-cum-workspace on Edge Street is a first for the city, the innovative coffeehouse charges customers not for beverages but by the amount of time spent there. Even the cakes, cereal, biscuits and 'super' wi-fi are free.

As a writer, archetypally known for taking up good coffee shop space, I may become Ziferblat's very first squatter. 

Dsc_0970 %282%29Inside Zifeblat

The concept began in Moscow in 2011, and there's now ten established cafes in Russia. 'Ziferblat' translated means 'clock face', and was introduced to allow guests to mull, rather than rush. You can sit without feeling obliged to buy something.

Now Ziferblat - which first opened in the UK in London's Shoreditch (where else?) in early-2014 - plan to open a pay-per-minute space in every University town in the UK and beyond.

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Dsc_0983 %282%29Ziferblat

The Northern Quarter branch is an impressive space too.

Ziferblat is hidden at the top of an unassuming office block, and much like travelling up the lift at Tower 12 to find Manchester House, you're suprised by the large, sun-drenched space that welcomes you. Upon arrival you're met by two friendly hosts who take your name, give you a clock to count minutes and insist "you make yourself at home".

And you do, Ziferblat works on a serve yourself basis and customers are encouraged to head to the kitchen and help themselves.

Dsc_0981 %282%29"Make yourself at home" - cheers Bill

Regardless of what your ideal home is, Ziferblat sets out to be a 'home-from-home' for everyone. The one-level space is sectioned into two halves: there's the Grandparent's living room that sticks to autumnal colours and upholstered furniture with a chess board and soon-to-arrive piano, and there's the modern workspace with Ikea-type design, fluffy throws and feature wall. 

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Dsc_0973More homey feel

“A lot of coffee shops are designed so people don’t spend a lot of time there,” says Ziferblat's smiley host Bill. "Here we've split the room into a space for people who want to relax, socialise and for those who want to spend a few hours working.

"Soon, we'll be expanding the space to include a second room," says the other host Imogen. "Once we get going they'll be events on too."

Ziferblat welcomes donations from regulars, but for such a professional and slick space it really doesn't feel like they need it.

They've not lumped guests with cheap coffee either, serving beans from speciality roasters in Ancoats, and Ziferblat plan to introduce free sandwiches on top.

For the price of one grande latte at Starbucks, you could spend an hour in Ziferblat and drink a welly-full of coffee.

Dsc_0966The Kitchen

Ziferblat Manchester has only been open three days, but news has spread with pace and NQ trendies are flocking. Treat it like you would your own home; plates are in the bottom cupboard, clean up after yourself and nip out on the balcony for a smoke if you so please.

Traditionally, coffee house characters fall into two camps; those on a freightrain fast schedule who want their coffee lickety-split and the people-watchers who enjoy time wasted in pretty surroundings.

Ziferblat caters perfectly for the latter camp. And I for one will enjoy taking my time here. 

ZIFERBLAT | 23 Edge Street| M4 1HW | @ZiferblatEdgeSt

Follow @LOreal_B on Twitter


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

AvoFebruary 3rd 2015.

What's to stop some oik coming in, staying for three minutes and eating endless amounts of cake and cereal?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 4th 2015.

I would think it takes at least that long to get the food to a bowl or plate. Silly question. Interesting concept nonetheless.

AvoFebruary 4th 2015.

It works on a serve yourself basis as stated in the article above so you could grab your food and coffee as quickly or as leisurely as you like. Therefore not such a silly question.

Another TimFebruary 26th 2015.

I don't think it's a silly question at all. Possibly not in keeping with the spirit of the place. Sorry to get materialistic about it and maybe the main thing stopping this kind of behaviour is sheer awkwardness. But I'm pretty sure I could demolish more than 50p's worth of cake in ten minutes, especially if I'm helping myself...

Another TimFebruary 26th 2015.

Actually, it seems like this pricing model is designed to encourage eating fast and getting out of the door. The opposite of the relaxed atmosphere they seem to be trying for. Very odd.

AnonymousFebruary 4th 2015.

Up to £72 per person per day can be made here. £0.05 per minute doesn't sound a lot but with a decent amount of footfall this is a very profitable venture without having a big impact on an individual customers bank balance.

Poster BoyFebruary 5th 2015.

Mutton dressed as lamb.

AnonymousFebruary 5th 2015.


Cath AubergineFebruary 5th 2015.

As I live in Manchester I can't wait to see a few of these opening up in other cities. One important question though, are there electrical sockets for customer use? Can't see on the walls on the pictures but that bloke's computer has to be plugged into something, right? If there are, then a quid fifty for a half hour's phone charge with a coffee and biscuit thrown in would be more than a bit useful.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
L'Oreal BlackettFebruary 5th 2015.

Yes there are many plug sockets. They're neatly hidden inside the table (top image).

AnonymousFebruary 5th 2015.

Do they provide Wi-Fi?

Crispin LainFebruary 5th 2015.

So - unless I've misunderstood - for £3 you can sit there for an hour and consume as much cereal, coffee and cake as you like? Sounds too good to be true! Surely this is a terrible business plan and can't last?!?

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Latest Rants


The staff should wear clothes made out of corn flakes.

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Dress the staff as Tony the Tiger and the honey monster, otherwise i'm just not interested. ;)

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Another Tim

Actually, it seems like this pricing model is designed to encourage eating fast and getting out of…

 Read more
Another Tim

I don't think it's a silly question at all. Possibly not in keeping with the spirit of the place.…

 Read more

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