Ziferblat – Manchester’s new pay-as-you-go café

We’re all working and playing differently these days, so what do you do when you need a meeting place, a caffeine jolt, a workspace and hang-out all rolled into one? A home-from-home free of monthly charges; a place where you and combine work and leisure? Surf the web and fire up a games of Snakes and Ladders? If you find yourself asking these questions, then Ziferblat is throwing down its welcome mat for you.

The name? It’s Russian for ‘clock face’, which is fitting. You don’t pay for food or drink; you don’t pay for entry - instead you pay for your time, regardless of what you do or how long you stay.

What’s more, just months after opening, they’ve recently added a host of new rooms for Manchester’s trendy clientele to hang out in. And at just five pence per minute it’s an affordable way to spend time doing… well, doing whatever you want. But what is it? “One thing we are categorically not is a café,” says Gareth Harold, head of operations. “We’re not home, we’re not work, we’re a third space somewhere in between.”

This Manchester third space resides in an office block in the Northern Quarter, where an unassuming lift whizzes you up to a huge open-plan space packed with the city’s bohemians, hipsters and coffee nuts working, playing, sipping and simply passing the time of day. Welsh dressers sit alongside 70s sofas, pub paraphernalia and office furniture.

If one thing is taken seriously here then it’s coffee: sourced locally from Manchester’s own roasts, Ancoats Coffee. Wake-up juice, along with cake, fruit and cereal are free. “You could come in and down a cup of really good coffee in 10 minutes and that would be 50p,” says Gareth. “If you go to a popular chain it might cost you around £5 for a coffee and a brownie. Here at Ziferblat you can have all the coffee and brownies you like in an hour and 40 minutes for the same price.”

Ironically for a hangout where you pay by the time, it’s a place where time stops and the outside world gives way to a cool tech start-up ambiance. Everything is free, says Ziferblat, apart from the time you spend. If time is the new currency, it has a high value here.

Image credit: © Jonathan Abbas / Alamy

Three comedians to watch at the Edinburgh Fringe

There’s no better place to broaden your horizons than the Edinburgh Fringe. The annual celebration of performance features artists exploring every genre imaginable - from cabaret to opera - and from all corners of the Earth.  

It’s also the best place to catch the funniest people on the planet and see up-and-coming comedy talent in intimate surroundings. Over a third of the 3,000 shows on offer between 7th and 31st August are playing for laughs. Spoiled for choice? Here are three hot tips to help you seek out the LOLs...

Katherine Ryan - Kathbum 

Celeb-knocking, Canadian Katherine Ryan is a TV panel show regular with star turns on Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You? Her new show explores issues such as single parenthood and features her trademark ability to mix cutting wit with dumb observation. See her at The Stand every afternoon between 6th and 22nd August.

Phil Wang - Philth

An undoubted rising star of the comedy scene, Wang won the prestigious Chortle Student Comedy Award in 2010 and has been building a strong following ever since. Edgy and entertaining in equal measure, his follow-up show to Mellow Yellow will enjoy a long run at the Pleasance Courtyard.

Trevor Noah - Lost in Translation

Hilarious South African Trevor Noah is about to go global. He takes over as host of The Daily Show in September, so catch him while you can - you may not get another chance. Dealing with his upbringing in segregated South Africa, Noah tackles the heavy questions with irresistible charm.

Image credit: © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Alamy

Commemorating The Re-internment of Richard III

It was a historical soap opera to rival Wolf Hall. The unearthing of the mortal remains - and the battle over the right to bury them - of one of England’s most controversial monarchs also catalysed a debate about Richard III and challenged everything we thought we knew about his actions, personality and reputation.  

A new installation, built into York’s famous walls and Monk Bar, details the discovery of the Plantagenet king’s body using items donated from the ‘Finding Richard’ excavations. New audiovisual displays also tell the story of the dig which catapulted archaeology and Britain’s medieval history to the top of the news agenda.  

The exhibition forms part of a museum dedicated to the man himself, the Richard III Experience. Featuring weapons used by Richard to suppress his opponents during the Wars of the Roses, artefacts from medieval battlefields and multimedia on his brief but chaotic reign, the museum provides an unflinching look at the Yorkist monarch.

Richard’s position as the leader of the Yorkist army - and his visit to the city - led many to claim the remains of Shakespeare’s ‘son of York’ for the city, with a bad-tempered tug-of-war developing between groups supporting the re-internment at Leicester Cathedral, York Minster and Westminster Abbey. Indeed Richard certainly visited the city wall which has survived virtually untouched since medieval times, and it feels eerily like stepping back in time as you enter the museum through a narrow stone door knowing this is the same path Richard trod 500 years ago. 

Image credit: © eye35 / Alamy


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