In 1995 Robson & Jerome stole the nation’s hearts and sang ‘Up On The Roof’ to critical acclaim. Not only were these boys devilishly handsome but they could belt out a tune to rival even the most well respected crooners. They managed to sell CD singles by the shed load and both subsequently went on to become national treasures. The only reason I’m mentioning them is because they sung a cover of that song and this is an article about being up on the roof in Manchester’s best rooftop spaces…
Great John Street Hotel
I’ve never had the pleasure of staying over at Great John Street – I usually have had to plump for a Premier Inn or a bus stop when I’ve needed to stay over in town and didn’t have somewhere to stay. It’s a big favourite amongst the celebrities and high flyers in the city though, and their rooftop lounge and playground surely must play a part in this. The rooftop is split up into two – there’s the Lounge, which is open to the public and is a south-facing heaven of shrubs, booze, cushions and sun. The rooftop Playground on the other hand is available to hotel guests only and features a terrace, sun loungers, a glass veranda and even a hot tub in which you can snuggle up to Howard Donald while Gary Barlow tells you about how much thinner and better at singing he is than Robbie Williams. Which we all know is a lie.
Great John Street Hotel, Great John St, Manchester M3 4FD
0161 831 3211
Black Dog Ballroom NWS
There’s a load of stuff going on here at the New Wakefield Street Black Dog Ballroom – there’s pool tables, food, cocktails, karaoke booths, a club downstairs, art on the walls, ice in the drinks and a terrace on the roof. Walk on in and straight up the stairs and you’ll be greeted by a lovely roof terrace, where although there isn’t much of a view, there’s plenty of sun and even a bar right there so you don’t have to work out your glutes going up and down the stairs every time you want a gin. There’s also a fair bit of coverage in case it rains, which is looking pretty unlikely nowadays thanks to good old climate change.
Black Dog Ballroom, 11-13 New Wakefield St, Manchester M1 5NP
0161 236 4899
King Street Townhouse
Here we have another really posh hotel with a proper nice south facing roof terrace in which you can enjoy the views of the town hall while supping a cocktail and texting your mates. One of the big selling points of this new hotel however, apart from presumably getting a little mint on your pillow in your room, is the rooftop infinity pool. I get the feeling that without Instagram, infinity pools would never have been as successful as they have been recently, but there’s no denying that being able to have a chill in the water while looking at the lovely sights of the city is a massive draw. It’s only available to guests so you should probably start saving up now.
King Street Townhouse, 10 Booth St, Manchester M2 4AW
0161 667 0707
Lower Turks Head
After years of being derelict, the Lower Turks Head was given a This Morning-style makeover and is now one of the more decent, proper boozers in the city centre. As well as loads of wood and booze, there’s also a big roof terrace upstairs which most people don’t even know about. It’s a proper sun trap and is big enough for over 20 big burly boys. I went here on my 30th birthday and we all had a right good laugh in the sun – don’t forget your sun cream though – nobody wants to look like David Dickinson after a week in Tunisia when they get back to work on a Monday.
The Lower Turks Head, Shudehill, Manchester M4 1EZ
Lounge on 12
Attached to the world-wide-famous Manchester House, Lounge on 12 offers a large terrace overlooking Spinningfields where you can enjoy an absolutely mental selection of cocktails – all served up by a bloke with white gloves, a little dicky-bow and a trendy haircut. As well as cocktails (I would recommend the Rose & Grapefruit Margarita) you can also partake in some serious Afternoon Tea vibes here – you know, the kind of stuff where you have some tea with little sandwiches and cakes and scones and you can sit with your mam and talk about Julie from down the street who’s just got divorced. Lovely.
Manchester House Restaurant, 18-22 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BZ
0161 835 2557
This legendary pre & post gig venue near the Manchester Academy has been a staple for many Mancs throughout the years; primed as the perfect place to have a fair few bevvies while listening to the great jukebox and waiting for the doors to open at 7. There’s loads of fizzy beers, tins of Red Stripe and Liam Gallagher circa. 1997 haircuts to be found as well as a cracking roof garden which provides a welcome escape from the bar downstairs. Although Oxford Road is usually rammed with buses and slow moving BMW’s, the garden provides a lovely little oasis away from it all – where you can have a chat about the latest band or the best parka to buy to go with your new gazelles.
Big Hands, 296 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9NS
0161 272 7309
Although this bar isn’t on the roof, it’s technically this highest in the city so can be included in this list without any further repercussions. You know the deal by now – it’s got amazing views of the city, a little glass floor where you can look straight down the full 23 storeys and has a huge selection of cocktails and drinks in which to sup while feeling slightly superior to the plebeians you glimpse walking on the streets below. Once again they also offer a fantastic Afternoon Tea here as well, which, coupled with the views is enough to impress anybody – regardless of how boring or ugly you are.
Cloud 23, Beetham Tower, 303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ
0161 870 1670
Club Brass at Hotel Gotham
This place is only open to hotel guests and members but once you’re up here you can enjoy some fabulous views of the city while enjoying cocktails in a Prohibition-style speakeasy. You can choose from a load of cocktails and even a bar menu and judging by the pictures – it’s definitely a place where I would not be welcome. My dirty scruffy hair and manky converse full of horse manure will clearly not be encouraged in this pretty opulent, exclusive space. So if you manage to get a reservation here, or fancy shelling out half a lung for membership, get your glad-rags on, comb your hair, de-louse your underpants and enjoy a splendid day of elegance and sophistication in the sun.
Hotel Gotham, 100 King St, Manchester M2
0161 413 0000
In case you haven’t heard about Garage, and up until about 4 days ago I hadn’t, it’s a pop up bar located on Bridge Street and as you can imagine by the name – it’s car themed. It’s not the kind of place where you will find Ricky Butcher or Kevin Webster milling around though – you can expect a varied crowd looking to sup on their eclectic selection of cocktails and craft ales – including the awesome sounding Anti-Freeze (£7.50) with hand pressed ginger, vodka, lime juice, brown sugar and bitters. They also sell the Hawaiian ale Big Wave which would make my mates happier than a bunch of pigs rolling around in filth. Of course, with them being on this list they also have a lovely little rooftop terrace which is perfect when the sun is out and you want to watch that weird little square with no name on Bridge Street.
Garage Bar, 36 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BT
0161 359 5266
As the high-born nobles drink cocktails in their elegant gowns up at Cloud 23, us riff-raff can drink pints of cider with a packet of Quavers on the roof of The Deansgate far below and have a fantastic day in the sun while enjoying the views of Deansgate and the ever looming Beetham Tower. This beer garden not only looks lovely, it’s a proper lively little space with plenty of chat and banter going on – if you don’t manage to make some random friends while sitting here then there’s something wrong with you. Or you’re Rain Man.
The Deansgate Tavern, 321 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ
0161 839 5215
El Gato Negro
This Spanish tapas place gets a lot of air time on Manchester’s Finest and when you get there it’s pretty easy to see why. Since appearing on the almost derelict King Street, it has helped revitalise the area by offering a fantastic selection of proper authentic tapas dishes and Spanish wines. Not only this, but they’ve also managed to install an architecturally magnificent retracting roof which manages to transport anyone from rain-soaked Manchester to sun-splashed Madrid in seconds. It’s truly brilliant, and coupled with the excellent food, drink and service – I’m starting to get annoyed that you’re still reading this tosh and not on your way there already.
El Gato Negro Tapas, 52 King St, Manchester M2 4LY
0161 694 8585
Find yourself in the Village on a sunny day and you will be inundated with outdoor options. All along Canal Street you will find seating lined up where you can enjoy a blue WKD while watching the world go by. The one thing that annoys me about this though are those stupid glass and metal barriers that the council placed all along the canal wall – it used to look so much better before they ruined it with health and safety. Therefore I suggest G-A-Y and their fantastic roof terrace. Conveniently located right opposite a massive building site, the terrace still offers great views and is perfect for people watching and for the various riotous parties that G-A-Y hosts pretty much every night.
G-A-Y, 63 Richmond St, Manchester M1 6JB
0161 228 6200