‘Tis the season to get wobbly’ I mean, jolly… But seriously, what’s better than getting wrapped up warm and getting pissed on mulled wine?
Manchester is getting a little bit frosty now, which means the Christmas season is upon us. Usually that means saying goodbye to our favourite beer gardens and outdoors bars and replacing them with overcrowded, claustrophobic pubs.
But not this year people, not this year- Manchester is hosting an amazing catalogue of beer gardens and pop-up bars that will allow us all to enjoy the fresh, brisk air for just a little longer.
The Refuge Winter Garden
The clue is in the name isn’t it? The Refuge’s Winter Garden is of course the perfect place to enjoy some cocktails over the colder months, and you won’t even need to venture outdoors. The inclusion of the stunning tree, and the surround conservatory manages to whisk you away into a sort-of Narnia wonderland just without any Turkish Delight or evil witches.
The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
The Oast House
Since its recent refurbishment, The Oast House in Spinningfields has become even more charming than before and is well and truly set for the coming winter months. Whilst there have been a few changes, one thing that has remained the same is The Oast House’s iconic Christmas tipis- which are just as gorgeous and cosy as ever! The giant tipis are kitted out with a large fire place in the centre of the room; benches and tables occupying the outer rim. Whether you’re on a first date or just want to come out for a couple of drinks with your pals, you won’t have to barge your way through the crowd to get a drink from the main bar – there’s one already in the tipi, to save you some hassle. How convenient?
The Oast House, The Avenue Courtyard, Spinningfields, Crown Square, Manchester M3 3AY
People (me) are eagerly awaiting the return of Spinningfields’ karaoke Bar Hütte’s which will be available for hire as of the 8th November. The ‘Carol-oke’ huts can be rented out for an hour and 45 minutes and you’ll receive table service from a fully licenced bar which will be serving plenty of yummy Christmas drinks including advocaat and brandy with whipped cream, i.e. Bombadino. If you’re not a fan of karaoke, their main après-ski bar – decorated with wood carvings and sheepskin furnishings which will be open too – if you fancy a spur-of-the-moment bev.
Bar Hütte, Spinningfields
You certainly won’t have failed to miss the new addition to Spinningfields’ burgeoning list of bar/restaurants and this one looks like it’s going to be the biggest (and certainly highest profile) opening of last year. This 4 story behemoth features a huge Rooftop Garden featuring fire pits and lush foliage, alongside a fully retractable roof should you find yourself shivering on a particularly cold December evening. This year they’ve split their terrace into the North and South Pole complete with giant snow globes and indulgent Moët & Chandon cocktails.
The Ivy Spinningfields, The Pavillion, Byrom St, Manchester M3 3HG
The Lodge on First Street
The perfect place to get in the festive feeling is the new Nordic-style Tipi pop-up on First Street. Doubling up as a festive event space hosting arts, crafts and loads of sustainability-themed workshops and also a yoga studio. There’s plenty of Nordic-style beers, hot drinks and food including everybody’s favourite thing to happen each year the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap.
The Lodge, First Street, Manchester, M15 4FN
Igloos at The Refinery
Now you’ll get the chance to experience life inside of your very own private bubble with the return of The Refinery’s most anticipated feature, the Christmas Igloos. You can rent the domes out for up to 10 people as of the 8th November which will come furnished with tables, chairs, candles and soft faux-fur throws to get nice and snug under. Guests will be able to choose from a selection of delicious foods and drinks to devour in their igloo making it the perfect unique experience in Spinningfields for you and your friends.
The Refinery, 1 Hardman Boulevard, XYZ Building, Manchester M3 3AQ
There’s rather a lot of nice little hidden outdoor areas in and around Chorlton, mostly featuring plenty of smokers and those great heaters that give you a little tan after being sat under them for 25 minutes. Electrik is no different, with a brilliant terrace at the front (where you can watch the world go by) and a nice little courtyard round the back. Sitting under a heater with an obscure beer in your hand while listening to some tunes on a Wednesday night – brilliant.
Electrik, 559a Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, M21 0AE
Giant Gin Bar Snow Globe
This year marked the opening of the Christmas Markets in Piccadily gardens for the first time. Although there are only a few actual stalls, they’ve gone all out in upping the state of the gardens, adding giant light-baubles, Zippy 2.0 which is a hell of a lot bigger and even a sample of Lightopia. But what’s most important is the gin bar. Tucked away in the corner is a giant Snow Globe, pretty nondescript from the outside, the inside is a gin haven serving up hot toddies, decorated with plenty of cosy lights and even a L.O.V.E sign. Instagram eat your heart out.
Christmas Markets & Ice Chalets
If you weren’t already aware, Manchester’s Christmas Markets this year are basically going above on beyond anything you could ever imagine. Not only will there be the usual bars in which to sip some mulled wine, this year sees the introduction of Britain’s first ever Ice Village. This winter wonderland will consist of ice sculptures, ice cavern, ice rink and more importantly, an ice tavern. Serving all of your favourite hot and cold drinks, the ice tavern is the perfect place to venture for an authentic winter experience.
Christmas Markets, throughout the city centre
Nothing warms you up more than a big, hot, spicy curry and so getting your face wrapped around a big Lamb Nihari down at Zouk is the perfect remedy for a cold, dark winter day. Add to this an extensive outside terrace, which is heated, and you’ve got yourself one of the city’s best winter garden experiences – one you can even enhance with a bit of Shisha should you want to partake.
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, M1 5QS
Having the highest terrace in the city and the most sought after view going, it would be criminal for 20 Stories not to keep their outdoor space open over the winter and as such they’ll have the roaring fire pits stoked throughout the cold, dark months to keep us drinking their cocktails and eating their food. There’s no denying the views are spectacular but they’ll be a whole lot better on a crisp, cold winter evening, wrapped up with a glass of warm mulled wine in your hands.
20 Stories, No. 1 Spinningfields 1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
Sunset by Australasia
An absolute terrace revelation when it opened this Summer, Sunset in Spinningfields looks set to continue its alfresco offerings this winter, meaning endless hours of cocktails and prosecco – mainly frequented by the city’s most glamorous individuals. You also can’t forget the food on offer here – with a Japanese inspired sushi and bento box menu from Australasia, although with it being cold I’d recommend their Shabu Shabu, a granite bowl filled with a lovely hot broth-noodle concoction.
Sunset by Australasia, 1 The Avenue, Manchester M3 3AP
This is probably the only time you’ll ever see The Courtyard in a list with The Ivy, but it’s hard to ignore this long-time student favourite when it comes to outdoor spaces. The area in which it gets its name from is massive, and features a whole section that is both undercover and heated – perfect for enjoying a few cheap, cheap cocktails and scoffing some dirty burgers. It’s a no frills experience but one that ticks all the boxes you could ever want.
The Courtyard, 2 Chester St, Manchester M1 5SH
Ever since opening its doors a couple of months ago, everyone has been going crazy over YES – primarily because of its perfect mix of live music, street food, cheap beer and of course THAT rooftop terrace. Resembling something you’d find in the deepest, darkest parts of hipster Brooklyn, the rooftop terrace of YES is the perfect winter hideout, with half under cover, and the other half jam packed full of scorching heaters. Perfect.
YES, 38 Charles Street, Manchester. M1 7BD