We’ve given you the best of the newest beer gardens, the ones you can book and the ones offering walk-ins, this time we’re telling you exactly when to go to each to catch the best of the sun’s rays. It’s perfect now we’re only allowed a bevvy outside and you want to ensure you’re getting a cracking t-shirt tan.
I’m not joking, this has been a slog writing and researching this, but it’s worth it for the greater good of the city that never sees the sun. Right? So buckle up, and join in on Chasing the Sun on the next sunny-ish Saturday. Or Tuesday when you’re ‘working from home’ – don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.
*Disclaimer don’t come trying to find me if there’s an hour where the sun is stuck behind a building that has just been thrown up last night and your shoulders get cold, alright? Take a jumper – it’s Manchester after all.
Morning Sun: 9 am – 12 pm
Cutting Room Square
Get yourself on Blossom St to enjoy the best of the morning sun. I’d opt for a bottomless boozy brunch down at Elnecot which is currently opening up at 11:15am (but staying open until 11:30pm!). We reckon the sun beams down on this section of the road for a whole seven hours so it’s a pretty good all-dayer if you get too sloshed after your bucks fizz breakfast. If you fancy more of an early lunch, head to NAM for smoothies, pandan waffles and Breakfast Banh Mi – there’s plenty of cocktails too!
I don’t doubt you already know Flok is the place to be when the sun is out, and rightly so. The sun starts beaming in Stevenson Square pretty early but actually hits the outside seating area from around 10:30 am. This is another spot you could pretty happily spend all day getting sunburnt as Flok is open til 2am and basking in the sun’s warm glow pretty much until it sets. There are a few brief moments in the shadows when it goes around some buildings, so for best results, we reckon going down in the morning before you have to sit on the pavement when everyone and their Gran head down. No bookings, grab the first free table you see (remember to check-in and all that). There are plenty of other options in Stevenson Square so take your pick!
Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN [walk-ins only]
Afternoon Rays: 12 pm – 4 pm
Thomas Street; Cane & Grain, Terrace NQ, The Bay Horse, Wolf at the Door
Walk 5 mins down the road in the glorious sunshine and pull up a pew at any of Thomas Street’s wonderful bars. The freshly pedestrianised Street gets a good few hours of the sun between 12-6pm. The lightweights can get some ribs and chips off the grill at Cane & Grain or a dead good pie from Bay Horse, the rest of you lot can carry on to the next watering hole. Terrace is perfect for an all-day boozer, Wolf at the Door at the end of the road serves up £1 tacos and bao buns and has Aspall’s on tap baby!
Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1NA [walk-ins only]
Wolf at the Door, 30-32 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1ER [walk-ins only]
Cane & Grain, 49, 51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA [walk-ins only]
Almost Famous / Lust, Luck, Liquor & Burn
They’ve both got a brand new seating bit just over the road which is fortunately in the sun from 10 am until around 3 pm. Big old burger from Almost Famous and mint tacos from Liquor & Burn. You know the drill.
Lust, Luck, Liquor & Burn,100-102 High St, Manchester M4 1HP [walk-ins only]
Shambles Square is a bit of sunspot and unfortunately, it’s no secret. This place gets rammed. So jump on a seat as soon as one gets free and get a cheap pint. There’s some pub grub too in case you get a little bit peckish. The sun beats down in this area from around 12-4pm so you’ve got a good few hours of basking to enjoy.
Shambles Square, 2 Cathedral Gates, Manchester M3 1SW
Old Nags Head
A proper Manchester local pub with roof terrace full of murals of Manchester icons is a bit of a hidden gem. There are a good few hours of sunbeams between 12-4pm. It would be sacrilege to order anything other than a decent beer or ale at this place – so bear that in mind when it comes to ordering your tipples.
The Old Nags Head, 19 Jackson’s Row, Manchester M2 5WD
Castlefield is home to Dukes 92 which has the sun all day and a MASSIVE terrace that fills up pretty quick as soon as you lot get a glimpse of the sun. The Wharf is just on the other side of the canal and has about 6 hours of sunshine until 3 pm with a lovely patch of grass to the right which is great for a bit of lounging or even a picnic. We definitely recommend booking although both are leaving some tables aside for walk-ins if you want to risk it.
You can’t have a pub crawl without Bunny Jackson’s and the outside area (which is now MASSIVE) gets a good hour of the sun between 4-5pm. If you’re ready to call it a day, 10p chicken wings start at 5pm which will sort you right out. If you carry on and enjoy happy hour, hot dogs are served 10pm-2am for 50p to help you soak up the day’s drinking. No bookings – just turn up and have fun.
Bunny Jackson’s, 1 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA [walk-ins only]
Evening Sundowners: 2 pm – 8 pm
Crazy Pedro’s Bridge Street
If you’re doing this in order, I’m gonna guess everyone might need to get an Uber to Pedro’s from Bunny’s, but if you’re stumbling on down, credit to ya! It should take 15 mins to walk but maybe add a minute for every pint you’ve had so far. I have meticulously calculated a pretty mega 6-hour shining beacon of glorious sunbeams outside Pedro’s, between 1-7pm. You can get a massive Strawberry Daquiri Sharer for 15 quid and a few slices of pizza to help keep you going on to the next sunspot.
Crazy Pedros, 55-57 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BQ [walk-ins only]
The Oast House/Lawn Club
Both of these wonderfully pretty places get absolutely rammo and are soaked in the sun between 12-6pm by my calculations. Lawn Club has a brand new food and cocktail menu while Oast House has plenty of cocktails, good food and dancing on tables.
The beer garden on the canalside tends to overflow with people but this is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. The garden is coated by the sun pretty much all day, I reckon from 9 am till sundown. Good luck getting a spot, if you can’t, grab your glass and go and sit on the side of the canal. I wouldn’t recommend dipping your toes in though – who knows what beasts might lurk beneath the murky water.
Rain Bar, 80 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JG [walk-ins only]