Best Hidden Beer Gardens in Manchester

Now that the sun has made an appearance I thought it prevalent to do a roundup of the hidden beer gardens around the City Centre which are ripe for getting sloshed in while slowly burning your head throughout the day.

By Ben Brown | Last updated 16 April 2019

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Of course, on a sunny Saturday, the entire population of Sale gets in the Mini convertible that their dad bought them and descend upon the likes of Dukes 92, Rain Bar and Oast House. Well here’s some places that might be a little quieter…

To be fair, the Atlas outdoor terrace is pretty well known; and although it seems smaller than it used to be – it’s still pretty big meaning you’re pretty much always guaranteed a seat in the sun. On top of this, a quick trip in the shade to the bar will reveal a selection of gin that would bring a tear to the notoriously stoic Queen Victoria’s eye with its sheer variety and majesty.

Atlas, 376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY


Big Hands
Headquarters of anyone heading to some weird gig at Manchester Academy, Big Hands not only has a rather decent (and hidden) beer garden, they also have a very impressive range of beers in which to drink while you’re up there. They’ve got a top selection of Belgian beauties which are perfect for drinking in the sun because they’re so strong that you get drunk much quicker. Just don’t fall asleep and end up with a burnt face looking like Freddy Kruger’s arse cheeks.

Big Hands, 296 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9NS
0161 272 7309


The Crown & Anchor
There must have been two decorators employed by The Crown & Anchor, located on the corner of Port Street and Hilton Street in the NQ. Inside the bar looks like it has been kitted out by a bloke who found 1000 blue neon bulbs down Cheetham Hill and needs to get rid of them in his garage to make room for his mam’s double bed. Outside however, looks like it’s been designed by Charlie Dimmock, off her tits on too much Miracle Grow – and it looks fantastic. The perfect hidden beer garden to waste a Saturday afternoon while your bird is spending 220 quid in Primark.

The Crown & Anchor, 41 Hilton St, Manchester M1 2EE


The Refuge
Slap bang right in the middle of The Refuge is their courtyard which okay, doesn’t get much sunlight at all really, but is still a great place to sit and enjoy the heat and the great outdoors. It also benefits from being so secluded that you don’t get annoyed every time a bus drives past or when a tramp walks past and tries to sell you a Manchester’s Finest magazine (which are free everyone). Oh, and you’re always guaranteed some cracking tunes and some decent food at The Refuge – so who needs the bloody sun?

The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA


The Deansgate Tavern
Although The Deansgate could be considered a very standard boozer, it does benefit from a fantastic roof top beer garden where I can always guarantee you will find someone to chat and banter with while enjoying the views of Beetham Tower literally looming directly above. The pub is one of those places that could be located anywhere in the UK – inoffensive and very safe – but brave the corporate shrill and you’ll be rewarded with a great terrace.

The Deansgate Tavern, 321 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ


The Bay Horse Tavern
Sitting in the Bay Horse with one of them ale glasses with a handle, log fire on and dog at your feet you’d probably not notice the beer garden hidden down the back – unless you decide to pull out your pipe that is. Their beer garden is a great place to rock up with some bevvies, some packets of their massive selection of crisps and spend the day chatting shit in the sun. They’ve also got an often-overlooked bit at the front on Thomas Street where you can watch the people of the NQ walk past in their weird gear and bad haircuts.

The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA


The Lower Turks Head
This place stood derelict and sagging for years – overlooked and overtaken as the rest of the NQ was renovated, wooden furniture was installed and exposed brickwork – exposed. But since being bought and spruced up, The Lower Turks Head has become a firm favourite in the NQ – especially amongst visitors arriving to Shudehill or Victoria from the outer ‘burbs. They have a great selection of booze, but more importantly – a fantastic beer garden on the top floor which stays in the sun longer than Dale Winton’s bikini line.

The Lower Turks Head, Shudehill, Manchester M4 1EZ


Terrace NQ
For a place called Terrace I think it’s pretty obvious that they’ve got themselves a terrace. The problem is though that pretty much everyone I know has never even been up there – mostly because they didn’t even know it was there. I only went up myself a few weeks ago and once you’ve found the stairs to get up there you’ll find a Narnia-esque space which gets the sun pretty much all day and is a lovely little space to enjoy the pleasures of booze, food and good company.

Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
0161 819 2345


Bar Fringe
If you are an absolute legend, with impeccable taste then you are just like me and would enjoy nothing more than sipping on a strong Belgian beer while chatting shit in the sun with some mates. Bar Fringe effortlessly provides all these things, with a large garden at the back rammed with plants and punters enjoying the great ales and booze.

Bar Fringe, 8 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JN


The Briton’s Protection
This traditional boozer should be the first port of call for anyone who enjoys a tipple of whiskey. They have over 300 different types of the stuff, and even run regular whiskey tasting sessions so you can distinguish between your Jack Daniels and your Kwik Save No Frills varieties. In addition, they have a brilliant beer garden round the back – which is obviously why it’s in this list. Expect some lively banter.

The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE


The White Lion
To be perfectly honest, I think only Mr Magoo could call The White Lion’s beer garden ‘hidden’ – but I’ve added it here in a more figurative sense as opposed to physical. Anyone walking down Liverpool Street will not fail to notice the garden, but I don’t think many people would think of heading here if they woke up at the weekend and it was sunny. Which is a shame because this is a great traditional boozer, with tables outside big enough to hold up to 6 pints and 6 bags of Seabrook crisps at any one time.

The White Lion, 43 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NQ


Dive NQ
Anyone reading this who is a bit of a goth, or an emo, or whatever you’re calling yourselves now will probably know about the beer garden at Dive – it’s right next to one of the entrances to Afflecks. The rest of us though might have missed it, but now that they’ve put a bit of nice turf down it’s a good place to sit in the sun and tuck into some booze. Perhaps the building site opposite isn’t ideal but if you drink enough Jack Daniels it will all go blurry anyway.

Dive NQ, Oldham St, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1SH


The Courtyard
A dependable student favourite, the beer garden round the back of The Courtyard is big enough to hold about 1000 young lads and ladies with fad haircuts and empty lecture schedules. There’s even heated sofas and big screen tellies near the front in case it gets a bit nippy. Expect great value drinks and cheap food which may both equally contribute to your sudden onset of diabetes – but who cares when it’s this sunny and this cheap.

The Courtyard, 2 Chester St, Manchester M1 5SH


Burton Arms
It seems as if all of these hidden beer gardens are located in old traditional boozers – and the Burton Arms is no exception. Pop in, head to the bar for a fizzy lager, grab a packet of Chorizo Pipers crisps and take a stroll to their large beer garden round the back for some banter and experience the ‘characters’ that you just don’t get in those posher places elsewhere.

Burton Arms, 31 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ


Okay so this is another one which isn’t exactly ‘hidden’. It’s right there on Stevenson Square next to Eastern Bloc and Flok – of which this whole area gets all day-sun and all-day busy when it’s hot. Slice is excellent though because there always seems to be at least one table and chairs outside for you to sit on and you can tuck into some lovely pizza, (preferably the sausage, broccoli and chilli one) while drinking too many Campari sodas. oh and GELATO!

Slice, 1a Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN