The Top 6 Independent Shops In Manchester

Gifts galore


Manchester is well-known for its more than ample shopping opportunities.

But what about the kind of shops you won't find everywhere else? You know there are tonnes of Waterstones' and H&M's littered across every corner of the country.

Well, Manchester is rich in independent shops, too. We've compiled a mix of the best indie shops in town that will suit a variety of shopping tastes.

1. Empire Exchange

Empire Exchange is a retro swap-shop on Newton Street. It's hard to miss – the shop is emblazoned with signs displaying what they buy, sell and trade such as “vinyl”, “books” and “dinkys” which we think refers to the array of random trinkets on offer in the shop.

It's hard to imagine that many people would go to a shop for VHS tapes, cassettes or CDs nowadays but Empire Exchange has a load of them. Aside from the outdated gear, they have a lot of niche picks including comics, old cameras and football programmes. But what you've really got to love about Empire Exchange is that it's an untidy, unpretentious mish-mash of objects that's masses of fun to explore!


2. Fred Aldous

This arts and crafts shop is right at the heart of the Northern Quarter by Stevenson Square. Fred Aldous has been in business for over a century (since 1886), but that doesn't stop the colourful shop from being utterly modern today.

When you enter you'll find photography supplies, books, party supplies and all manner of unconventional gifts – a cardboard smartphone projector caught our eye. There's also a photo booth on this floor if you're looking to get a strip of black and white photographs with a friend or bae, that you will inevitably put on Instagram, kind of defeating the object...

Downstairs is a Pinterest user's vision of wonderland. This is where you'll find all of the craft supplies and haberdashery.


3. Beermoth

Craft beers have become ridiculously popular. Nobody wants a Foster's or Carlsberg anymore, they want a beer with a funny, punny name that's described as having maybe a smoky taste or a hoppy taste. If that's what you're into then you'll like Beermoth, which is hidden away on Tib Street in the Northern Quarter.

For such a little shop, they have a large selection of ales and craft beers, both local and foreign which changes regularly. Plus, they stock some of the best German beers you can get.

Beermoth also opened their own bar, Cafe Beermoth, a couple of years ago at Spring Gardens. It was awarded Best Bar 2016 at the Citylife Awards so is for sure worth checking out.

4. Chapter One Books

This spacious cafe on Lever Street doubles as an independent book shop. Chapter One is a paradise for writers or literature fanatics. It may offer a hipster vibe that's painfully cool, but you can't help but want to spend time there. The long and the short of it is, it's such a pretty space.

The décor is stunning with its shelves filled with quirky books, the flowers dotted around and old typewriters lit-up on display.

The cafe's menu looks pretty amazing too, offering up all day breakfast dishes such as bacon and pancakes, as well as soups and fancy versions of roast dinners such as sliced plum duck with sweet potato mash and cavollo kale.


5. Pop Boutique

Pop Boutique has been a part of the scenery on Dale Street for years. I know this because my friends and I used to go there as teenagers. In an attempt to seem chic beyond our years, we used to sit in the vegetarian cafe downstairs, eat some meat substitute called Sosage, drink lattes and smoke cigarettes (inside, gasp!)

Nowadays, there's a cute cafe next door, while Pop occupies both levels of the shop. Inside you'll find vintage clothes for both men and women at reasonable prices, £16 for a blouse and £45 for a coat to give you an idea. It has the typical vintage you'll find at most shops like plaid and faux furs, along with home wares. But, it's definitely worth a visit because they have some really great stuff.


6. Oklahoma

If you're into pretty, girly stuff then you'll adore Oklahoma on High Street. The shop is so vibrant and filled to the brim with little, kitschy items. They have all sorts in there and you'd probably be able to come away with a little bit of something even if you only had a quid in your pocket.

What they sell are gifts and home wares. You'll find jewellery, old-worldy toys, lamps, stationary and lots more, all of which are weird and wonderful. This is where you should be heading when your mate has a birthday and you want to get them something unique.


READ NEXT: The 9 Top Spots For People Watching In Manchester

Written By

Kelly O'Hara

Kelly is a freelance writer from Manchester, well, South Manchester to be honest but who really wants to admit to that... When she's not writing, she tries to pretend she's not having a quarter-life crisis by passing the time with travel, books, Netflix and going out.