The best terraces and beer gardens in Manchester

From multi-million pound terraces to leafy gardens to trusty pedestrianised pavement spots.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 4 June 2024

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Manchester may be known as the rainy city but it is nevertheless blessed with some truly excellent beer gardens and terraces, for when the sun appears every once in a while.

These are the best terraces and beer gardens Manchester city centre has to offer for a sun-soaked beer-fuelled afternoon. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Here is our round up of the best terraces and beer gardens in Manchester city centre...

20 Stories

If a beer garden on terra firma isn’t good enough for you and instead you require a terrace from which you can survey the entire city while sipping on a White Russian, then either you’re a cat or you’re just a person that would really like the terrace at 20 Stories. Perched on the top (aka 20th) floor of 1 Hardman Square in Spinningfields, 20 Stories is probably the place on this list you’re most likely to wear Balenciaga to go to. The terrace changes in style regularly depending on which high end drinks brand is the sponsor, so at time of writing, it’s all navy and red because Grey Goose is in charge. Expect photogenic cocktails, snackable small plates, and an elevated sense of your own importance.

Barca Bar

Situated in the heart of Castlefield, Barça occupies an enviable position on the canal-side. So one of the first things you’ll notice is the stunning decked terrace — one of the largest outdoor eating and drinking spots in town — which comes alive during warmer months. The addition of a separate bar specifically for those al fresco afternoons and evenings has only added to allure. A lush oasis of natural greens and brown woods that feels far removed from the urban sprawl beyond, nevertheless you’re still in easy walking distance of Deansgate’s railway, bus and tram links, and Cornbrook Metrolink.

Big Hands

Headquarters of anyone heading to – or partying after – a gig at Manchester Academy, Big Hands is the original indie punk hangout, kinda like an older sibling to the plucky young indie kid that is YES (also on the list, scroll down, it’s an A-Z). Big Hands has retro, Lynchian red decor, a cracking jukebox and regular DJs and bands on. But even if you’ve been there a million times swaying drunkenly to Where Is My Mind, you might not know about its rooftop beer garden. Head up past the loos and out onto the roof of the dive bar where picnic benches warm gently in the sun surrounded by potted plants and other shrubbery. There’s a top selection of European beers here. Perfect for drinking in the sunshine but be careful, they’re strong and combined with all that vitamin D, you’ll be half cut before you can say Mr Brightside.

The Black Friar

You’re going to have to give us a bit of creative licence on this one because it’s not in Manchester city centre, it’s in Salford. We’re including it here because it’s really good and if you stood on the bridge over the River Irwell that marks the border and frisbeed a copy of Hex Enduction Hour towards The Black Friar’s beer garden, it might well land in someone’s Aperol Spritz. Manchester loves claiming things born in Salford as its own, doesn’t it? Just on the inside of the ring road, The Black Friar is a story of rags to riches, having lain empty for decades before someone spent a wad of cash restoring and renovating it into one of the loveliest pubs around. Yes you can get a great pie or a fancy three course dinner here, but you can also sit outside in the absolutely glorious beer garden and soak up some rays with a bottle of Riesling on the table in an ice bucket, or several rounds of pints from the bar. It’ll be hard not to be tempted by some nibbles alongside though. See also great Salford beer gardens at nearby pubs The Eagle and The Kings Arms.

The Britons Protection

As Manchester develops upwards and things get ever more performative, it’s always heartening to head to one of the city’s proper old school boozers that are hanging on in the face of stiff competition from doughnut coffee sellers and 64-daiquiri megabars. The Britons Protection does have some superlatives to shout about tho. It’s the pub with the biggest collection of whiskies in the whole city – over 330 at last count. This over 200-year old pub also has a nice big beer garden out the back which gets the sun almost all day long.

Crazy Pedro’s Bridge Street

If you like a Monster Munch topped pizza with your beer, there really is only one beer garden for you in Manchester and that’s the one outside Crazy Pedro’s on Bridge Street. Known for its ever more eccentric toppings on its (actually very good) pizzas, bottomless pizza brunches, and sweary house rules, Crazy Pedro’s is not for quiet types. There is plenty of beer here but Ped’s also does a strong line in hard seltzers and obnoxiously coloured cocktails. The beer garden is sizeable, with large tables fit for groups and heaters for the nippier evenings.


One of Manchester’s newest restaurants but already one of its most lauded, people head in their droves to Climat for its Burgundy-heavy wine menu and modern small plates featuring things like cute prawn cocktail vol au vents and curried beef tartare. But it also happens to have one of the best terraces in the city with an enviable view across the top end of Deansgate and beyond.

The Crown & Kettle

One of Ancoats’ original pubs, The Crown and Kettle has a stunning interior (Those windows! That ceiling!) worth checking out before you head back outside to its sizeable on-street beer garden. There are always tons of events on at this huge corner pub from local or national beer and spirits brands as well as pop ups from indie food heroes.

Cutting Room Square in Ancoats

Cutting Room Square (whose name recalls Manchester’s textile past) is the epicentre of Ancoats. This area formerly pockmarked with dilapidated mills and boarded up pubs has undergone a staggering transformation over the past seven or eight years. Now probably the biggest foodie hotspot in the city, all of the places around Cutting Room Square have terraces where you can sit and enjoy their food and drink when the weather’s fine. Be warned though, it can get very busy on high days and holidays. The choice is vast and includes Jimmy’s, Elnecot, Rudy’s, The Jane Eyre, The Edinburgh Castle and Lucky Ramen.


With its matt black colour palette, Dakota Hotel’s bar is a place you can go to for all kinds of furtive activities. It’s always got a few flash cars parked out front and you are very likely to spot a celeb or two in here – if you can see them in the low lit murkiness. But what many don’t realise is that Dakota also has a fancy terrace that runs down the side of its jet black obelisk. The heated terraces has a retractable roof to protect from any of the inevitable showers, and glossy white tables with comfy Moroccan-style cushioned seating meaning you can settle down there for a long relaxing afternoon and a few nibbles form the terrace menu.

Dukes 92

In the battle of the trendy city centre neighbourhoods, the once hugely popular Castlefield often gets overlooked these days but it’s still a great shout for daytime bevvies in the sun. The biggie around these parts is canalside bar and restaurant Dukes 92. The people pleasing menu incorporates sarnies, burgers, pizzas and – the ultimate outdoor dining dish – hanging kebabs. But if it’s booze you’re after, the drinks offering is as massive as the outdoor seating area, and that’s one of the biggest beer gardens in the city. Pornstar Martinis are the most popular drink here.

Ducie Street Warehouse

If your beer garden needs are for somewhere very close to Piccadilly train station that’s not a grotty Wetherspoons, may we suggest Ducie Street Warehouse? This enormous warehouse is home to the lovely Native hotel, a massive co-working space and bar, a Blok gym, a restaurant, and one of the prettiest south facing beer gardens in Manchester. If the weather’s right, the black and white parasols, wooden bench seating with cushions, and outdoor BBQ will have you feeling like you’re in a bougie outdoor terrace in Italy or on a Greek island rather than round the back of Piccadilly station. Signature cocktails are fruity little numbers like Native Peach Spritz and a Raspberry Beret, and there’s a solid selection of wines and beers to enjoy alongside the grazing-style menus of roman style pinsa and small and big sharing plates.

El Gato Negro

Not only does El Gato have a reputation as one of the best tapas restaurants in Manchester, it also has one of the best rooftop terraces. With its retractable roof safely in place most of the year to protect the rioja guzzlers from the constant deluge, in summer, it rolls it back like a soft top on a BMW and is immediately booked up solidly for six weeks. If you’re lucky enough to bag yourself a spot, you can enjoy a chilled sherry, an ice cold pint of Estrella, or a jug of Cava sangria and pretend you’re Amancio Ortega for a few hours.

Freight Island

Looking for a music festival vibe without the portaloos or dubious burgers? Freight Island is the outdoor drinking and dining experience you’re after. This huge outdoor space includes table seating and massive steps with oversized beanbags to lounge on. There’s also live music and DJs at weekends, and some of the best indie food traders in the city (Tony’s Lasagne, Mia’s Arepas and Patels Pies to name a few). There are several bars including cocktails from the fantastic Jane Eyre, local craft beers in the tap room and natural and low intervention wine from Forever Changes. Freight is massively popular on sunny days with people looking for a party atmosphere.

Greens Sale

From the pavement, you wouldn’t know that Greens in Sale had a terrace at all, let alone one this comfy and stylish. Head up the stairs, and there it is. Simons Rimmer and Connolly, founders of one of Manchester’s most-loved vegetarian institutions, have gone for the boho-California surf shack vibe here, with natural, sustainable materials and a shady, covered area, complete with shimmery festoon lighting. You can eat up there, or just head up for a glass of something nice.


A short amble from Victoria Station in the Red Bank area which is currently enjoying heavy investment, GRUB is an alternative street food market and friendly event space. Its line up of street food vendors rotates regularly so there’s always something new to try including plenty for vegans – once a month it goes fully plant based – and many of Manchester’s biggest food names including Rudy’s Pizza and Hip Hop Chip Shop had their start here. There is a quirky outside area here with colourful, parked food trucks, picnic benches and upcycled furniture but no gas heaters, they’re not great for the planet and GRUB is very much a sustainably minded project.

The Ivy

Sunny weather brings out a selfie impulse in even those normally averse. We tend to look and feel better in good weather and where better to use the front camera than in probably the most instagrammed restaurant (since Boujie packed up) in Manchester? The Ivy is not somewhere you go in your tracky bottoms for a post work pint. Dress up, embrace the selfies sticks and enjoy the OTT foliage fest of the Ivy’s roof garden.


Manctopia developers Capital and Centric’s big city centre project is now in full bloom after a few years in development. Top notch food and drink spots here include NYC style pizza from Nell’s, baked goods from Pollen and Great British Pie Co, and Mezcal and Mexican food from Madre. Central to the Kampus space is a lush, jungle-like garden with wrought iron chairs and tables nestled amid the shrubbery. Alongside the canal, there is a large beer garden which plays host to various pop up bars throughout the year. Head up the steps next to Nell’s to get to an upstairs terrace that is the ideal spot for catching late afternoon/early evening rays. Up here, you can choose from drinks and modern Chinese from Yum Cha or wine and elevated small plates from the Beeswing. A sure fire winner for good times in the sun.

The Lawn Club

If designer shops, high end restaurants, and a jug of Pimms are more your cup of tea than sitting next to blokes sinking pints with their tops off at a picnic table, head for Spinningfields. The Lawn Club is this area’s summer go to spot with a massive terrace – currently sponsored by Chase – that features little private wooden cabins as well as open seating areas decked with planters filled with colourful flowers. There’s an un-intimidating food menu with something for everyone here and it gets super busy so make sure you book to avoid disappointment. One for a special occasion.

The Oast House

The Oast House is another bar with a lively atmosphere which often features live music or various big brand takeovers. This is an oast with a roast, and you can even get your roast dinner in a Yorkshire pud wrap. A great outdoor spot to let your hair down.

The Mews

Known as Manchester’s secret street, Deansgate Mews is an elevated pedestrianised street that runs parallel to Deansgate alongside the Great Northern Warehouse. Not only is it a great sun trap with loads of places to pull up a stool and get a beer, it boasts some spectacular places to eat while you’re there. Another Hand is one of Manchester’s best restaurants and has its own designated outdoor terrace. Siam Smiles is a down to earth, family style cafe with some of the best and spiciest Thai food in the city. Dormouse is a great indie chocolatier (though be sure to keep your bar out of the sun). The Mews does good wine with cheese and charcuterie boards, and the Lion’s Den is a lively boozer which often has live music on.

New Century

Vintage venue that once hosted Jimi Hendrix, now you can come here for a drop of Hendricks. New Century reopened as a revamped bar, casual dining spot and music venue in 2022. One of the most stylish bars in the city with its 60s retro stylings, the music venue upstairs has a striking light changing ceiling. Food is served out of multiple kitchens from local indies that have made their names as pop ups. The statement bar has an impressive wine list and in summer, the outdoor terrace is a great place to pull up a chair and sip a summer cocktail or a cool glass of orange wine. It’s not as manically busy as some of the pavement terraces in the city, due to it being hidden away back from the road, so it’s one for a more relaxed affair.

New Islington Marina

New Islington Marina is just over the bridge from Ancoats and its waterside location is so cosmopolitan and elegant that it’s sometimes hard to believe you’re in Manchester. Here you’ll find Pollen’s sourdough sarnies and pastries, a massive choice of beers at Cask, and nibbles and natty wine at Flawd. It’s almost a prerequisite to bring your dog.

The Old Abbey Tap House

Probably the best beer garden you’ve never heard of, the Old Abbey Tap House is a down to earth boozer hidden within Manchester Science Park on the edge of Hulme. It’s mostly frequented by artsy folk and students and has a low key, comfy vibe. This is one of the few grassy beer gardens in the city, which definitely adds to its appeal. But if you need further convincing, there are regular bands and DJs and a really good value pizza menu too.

The Old Nags Head

Another from the ‘proper boozers’ category, The Old Nag’s Head on Jackson’s Row is perhaps most famous for its George Best mural – so you can guess what colour the shirts on the walls are. This friendly, old school Manc pub also has one of the best beer gardens in the city and yet not a lot of people know about it. The rooftop garden was recently spruced up a bit and features a collage wall depicting Manchester born heroes from Emmeline Pankhurst to Frank Sidebottom.


Maray sits on the edge of the recently revamped Lincoln Square, a haven for skateboarders and solitary readers that sits between Albert Square and Deansgate and features a statue of ole Abe himself. Liverpool import Maray does a fine line in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean small plates including its signature dish disco cauliflower. Inside it’s airy and decked out in white and light features to give a distinctly mediterranean feel. But it also has a small but lovely outdoor terrace where you can head to after lunch or just park up in for a bottle of Zibbibo and a few nibbles on an afternoon.

Peveril of the Peak

One of Manchester’s oldest and most striking pubs, The Peveril of the Peak is famous for its lime green tiled exterior, and steadfast realness in a city full of modernisation and gimmickry. Inside, it’s genuinely like stepping back in time, with a curved bar all polished wood and stained glass, classic maroon pub carpets and vintage features. But we’re all about the outside right now and the Pev (as its mates call it) also boasts a small but lively beer garden. Even though it’s off Oxford Road, one of the city’s major highways, the Pev offers a calm spot to catch up with pals over a pint and put the world to rights away from the blaring music and hordes of party people.

Rain Bar

Hiding away just off Oxford Road and overlooking the canal, Rain Bar is another of the Manchester beer gardens that people flock to in the summer months because of its massive sunny space. From the front it looks like the classic JW Lees boozer you’ll find inside, but things can get really rowdy (in a good way) outside on a hot day. This multi level beer garden is also somewhere Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham’s been known to sink a few.

Ramona & The Firehouse

One of the greatest post-lockdown hits for Manchester beer gardens, Ramona bakes some of the best pizza in town and its neighbour The Firehouse is renowned for its incredible barbecued chicken and pillowy pita game. But this is also a very special spot for some sunshiney boozing. There’s a huge outdoor space out the front of the Firehouse, and Ramona is basically all outdoor with wooden cages fitted with comfy seating, DJs at weekends, and a massive bar knocking out beer, wine, and most importantly Margarita cocktails. If you’re not tequila or chilli averse, you can’t really come here and not get a spicy marg or two.

Thomas Street

Now totally pedestrianised, Thomas Street is a fantastic spot when the sun comes out. There are  loads of options for eating and drinking in the sun, including Evuna, Fierce, Wolf at the Door, The Bay Horse Tavern, Cane & Grain, The Smithfield Social and loads of great rice and three caffs. It’s a perfect street for people watching and there’s always a character or two wandering up and down to keep you entertained.

Sadler’s Cat

Cloudwater’s city centre bar Sadler’s Cat sits in the NOMA area just opposite New Century (mentioned above). This wooden pub was built from scratch by a community of Mancunian volunteers back when it was called The Pilcrow. It was taken over by Cloudwater in 2022. Sadler’s Cat serves a really good range of beers and there is a food hut outside that has been manned by a few different local food brands – currently Mira with its oozing Italian style sandwiches. It sits on Sadler’s Yard where there is a large outdoor space with tables and chairs to sit and sip a Schofferhoffer in a bucket hat.

Sinclair’s Oyster Bar

Situated in the charmingly named Shambles Square, this is the city’s classic beer garden and the one which many people getting off the train at Victoria will head straight for. Not just Sinclair’s but also the neighbouring Wellington, this beer garden is gigantic and whenever the sun comes out it gets absolutely packed with people. It’s also worth noting that Sinclair’s is a cash only bar and you’re banned from using your phone or swearing in there as per the rules in all Samuel Smith brewery pubs.


Another Manchester beer garden that’s slightly off the beaten track, Society sits just opposite the Bridgewater Hall, accessed via some amphitheatre-like steps. There is a large lily pond right next to it which brings a real sense of calm and a touch of nature that is rare to find in other beer gardens in Manchester city centre. Inside, Society is a large canteen-style food hall with six different kitchens selling fast food faves like pizza and burgers alongside sushi, Indian food, and Korean fried chicken. Its Vocation Brewery managed bar boasts a very impressive 44 beer taps that change all the time so you will never run out of new lines to try.

Stevenson Square

The lockdown years made many city dwellers see the graffiti-daubed Stevenson Square in a new light, as a utopia of outdoor drinking bliss. There are many bars on the square with outdoor seating so you can take your pick. Flok is our pick for a decent pint and also does a good cocktail. Also head to Quarter House for cracking BBQ food and Eastern Bloc for coffee and vinyl (though keep those out of the sun whatever you do). This is definitely one of the livelier spots for outdoor drinking in Manchester.

Track Taproom

The area around Manchester Piccadilly, heading east, has become a hotbed for microbreweries and tap rooms over the last half decade or so. What was once a forgotten corner of the city’s old industrial centre, and more latterly something of a no man’s land, has evolved into a go-to for any fan of exceptional pints made with love, care and fine ingredients. Track Brewing Co. is one of the most respected in terms of its product, and can’t help but leave a lasting impression with its premises, too, boasting an excellent sun-trap beer garden alongside the indoor space.


There’s a clue in the name of this NQ institution and yet still so many people have never been up to its rooftop terrace. A popular bar in its own right, Terrace is classic NQ with reasonably priced drinks and a pizza menu coming from fellow indie Noi Quattro. With plenty of trees and plants, strings of fairy lights and er, kegs nailed to the walls, the surprisingly large rooftop garden is a glorious spot for a bit of daytime drinking in the sun. There’s also outdoor seating in the adjacent courtyard as well as on both sides of the bar which has entrances on both Edge Street and Thomas Street.

Tony Wilson Place

First Street and Tony Wilson Place with their imposing Engels statue are tucked away behind the arches of Whitworth Street West right opposite the old Hacienda site. Down here you’ll find a few outdoor dining and drinking spots, including a decent sized terrace outside Indian Tiffin Room, a raised deck outside Gasworks, a large beer garden at Bunny Jackson’s and loads of outdoor seating on the patio in front of HOME arts centre which also has a nice upstairs terrace for those in the know. This area also rolls out the deckchairs in the summer months and erects a big screen so people can watch things like Wimbledon and Glasto with a beer in the sunshine. There are big wooden steps where people can sit and enjoy drinks from the various outlets around there too. Gets really busy so try and get there early to grab a seat.

The Wharf

If you’re after a Manchester beer garden so big it even has a fountain in the middle of it, The Wharf in Castlefield is your gal. This huge pub aims to be like a country pub but in the city centre and has a homely, all encompassing menu. Even though the outdoor seating area is huge with plenty of good sized tables with parasols, it can get very busy so it’s a good idea to book. This one is ideal for a family lunch in the sun.


Indie darling YES offers the perfect mix of the hottest live bands, great value fast food, reasonably priced 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 hangout no matter what time of the year. Half under cover, and the other half open to the elements, this terrace is fantastic for when the sun is out. The venue also has a boxed off outdoor area downstairs and across the road.


One of Manchester’s favourite curry houses, Zouk also features an impressive terrace that runs right along the front of its large restaurant and is open 365 days of the year – there’s an awning and heaters for when it’s not cracking flags. At the centre of the terrace is a huge flower wall feature which changes with the seasons and as the sun goes down, the fairy lights glow to give a warm and cosy feel to the outdoor space. You can order food out here or just stop by for shisha with mates. While kids are welcome in the restaurant, this terrace is for over 21s only.