This review is going to be a rather unusual one as no food or drink was actually consumed. A mere case of quaint British jobsworthiness if you like which causes so many businesses to fail, as witnessed on TV shows like The Restaurant/ Hotel Inspector.
For those who haven't visited Manchester, the town hall is an amazing Gothic structure, its imposing grandeur one of the focal points of the city. Inside the town hall, its well-preserved original features are a sight to behold. The cafe is awe-inspiring, its decor a cross between traditional tea room and gentleman's club, with a selection of artwork, sculptures and busts of Lord Mayors of Manchester from way back when. As a connoisseur of art and potent coffee, I was looking forward to exploring this interesting cafe. Only one other table was taken so I had the pick of seats. I waited to order my Americano. And waited. And waited a little more. 15 minutes later, a member of staff arrived, a brusque, foreign gentleman. Finally, coffee time. As I ordered my coffee, he snapped 'no, not just coffee'. Pardon me? 'Today is Saturday. Saturday is afternoon tea day. You can have a coffee, but you need to order an afternoon tea. Oh, or a scone'. I don't know about you, but that sounded like the biggest bunch of excuses since Little Britain's 'computer says no'. Why on earth wouldn't he be allowed to serve me a coffee without a cake? I'd understand if it was booze, but ordering a coffee in a cafe isn't that complex, is it? Would you go in a chippy and be refused a portion of chips? Obviously, the town hall cafe's boss is that greedy, he or she just wants to upsell. But isn't this greed going to turn customers away? Obviously it is, as only one table was taken at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon.
What a surprise turn from Manchester city council, who are normally so greedy with parking fines and council tax, but they turn away paying customers in their cafe. I'm still perplexed now.