I have to admit that a lot of what’s going on here goes through my head …
To be fair, a cranky 37-year-old is probably not the demographic that Manchester’s ‘Animaid Café’ seeks to appeal to – so I can be forgiven for not fully knowing what’s going on.
I am not an ignorant savage however, I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of most cultural phenomena. I know anime quite a bit and have been to Tokyo so it’s not like I’m totally lost.
Essentially, the Animaïde Coffee in the emblematic northern district Afflecks is a Bubble Tea joint but I can imagine it is nothing like what you have experienced before (unless you are in the scene).
Traditionally associated with Tokyo’s Akihabara district, famous for its sprawling electronics and anime stores, the initial concept for the Maid Café was born out of the neighborhood’s ties to visiting ‘Otaku‘subculture – people who are interested in the various anime and manga works of Japan.
The first permanent maid café appeared in Akihabara in 2001, and since then the idea has grown and traveled around the world.
It’s certainly a unique concept, but firmly rooted in making guests feel right at home, with the maids serving not only delicious tea but also J-Pop dances and selling an impressive collection of memorabilia and of anime and manga clothing. .
Along with this, the Animaid Café also offers a range of Japanese food and drink products, and has a fairly extensive Bubble and fruit tea menu, including specials – each designed by the maids based on their favorite anime characters.
The promotions are unique to the maid who designed it, and only available when that maid is there, and when we arrived this week Shannon and Rav were working, so we were able to take advantage of the Kuromi (£ 5); a blueberry milk tea and pudding with vanilla ice cream, tapioca and topped with whipped cream, alongside the Death threat (£ 5); blueberry tea with cherry crushed ice and blueberry sparkle pearls.
In addition to the specials, you will also find a very impressive menu of milk and fruit teas, of which approximately 100 different combinations, with extra tapioca and sparkling pearls a must.
In fact, the Animaid Café has been doing so well in Afflecks since opening in 2019 that they recently completed a large expansion, moving into the neighboring unit and almost triple in size.
It’s now a fully-fledged sit-down cafe experience, with tables and chairs, a TV (showing the best and latest anime shows) and a dedicated ‘stage’ covered from top to bottom in pink flowers and flowers. neon lights and is the perfect place for a selfie and / or dance for TikTok.
The Animaid Café is truly Manchester’s most unique café, and it’s a fantastic experience in itself.
The fact that it also offers a safe and welcoming space and community for many people in the city this is wonderful, and the fact that on top of that their teas are so good is a testament to the hardworking maids who make it all happen.
We had a great time on our visit this week and will be going back very soon for another tea. You should check it out too!