Manchester may be known as the rainy city but it is nevertheless blessed with some truly excellent beer gardens and terraces. When the weather is good, Manchester swaggers like Liam Gallagher – and you’d better make the most of it because it’s inevitable that the clouds will be back in their rightful place soon enough.
From an oasis on the top of a bar frequented by rock royalty to a massive beer garden surrounded by excellent restaurants near Canal Street. 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.
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.
1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
Perfect for parched times before or after a train journey as it’s on the corner right next to Deansgate station, Atlas Bar is an institution. Not only does it have the rooftop terrace game sewn up, it also has a global selection of over 300 gins including the myriad ones from Manchester. The outdoor space gets sun pretty much all day, it’s massive and there’s always a friendly crowd in there.
Atlas, 376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY
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.
Big Hands, 296 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9NS
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.
41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Manchester M3 7DB
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.
50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE
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 Pedros 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.
55-57 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BQ
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.
8th Floor, Blackfriars House St Marys, Climat, Parsonage, Manchester M3 2JA
The Crown and 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 sizable 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.
2 Oldham Rd, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5FE
Cutting Room Square
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, NAM, Elnecot, Rudy’s, The Jane Eyre and just a little further down, The Edinburgh Castle, Canto and Mule.
Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF
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.
29 Ducie St, Manchester M1 2JL
The Deansgate is that pub with all the fairy lights on it down at the station end of Manchester city centre’s main artery. At one point threatened with closure as skyscrapers encroached upon its territory, it instead was bought by the Greene King group and spruced up. This Manchester pub has not one but two roof terraces that now come with a retractable roof, are heated in the cooler months, and have a great view of the glittering skyscrapers of Deansgate Square across the way. The Deansgate remains a great spot for a beverage in the sunshine.
321 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ
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.
Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
The DogHouse hotel from the folks behind “punk” beer brand BrewDog is not just a place for beer-loving visitors to the city to stay. It also has a massive rooftop terrace with colourful furniture and plenty of plants. Just a short walk from Primark, it’s still not as well known as a lot of other beer gardens and terraces in Manchester so it’s a good one to impress your friends with. Alongside the bar which serves the whole BrewDog range including limited edition brews, there is a taco hut serving fish, chicken, birria brisket and plant based chicken tacos as well as birria fries, loaded nachos and more. It’s dog friendly too.
18-20 Fountain St, Manchester M2 2AR
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.
18 – 25 Castle St, Manchester M3 4LZ
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.
Ducie St, Manchester M1 2TP
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.
52 King St, Manchester M2 4LY
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.
11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ
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.
50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M4 4HF
Another quirky mixed food and drink vendor spot made entirely of shipping containers and tucked underneath the Mancunian Way. Hatch is hugely popular with students but this means that over the summer it’s not as busy as some places as many of the student population head home then. Even though a large proportion of Hatch is right underneath the Mancunian Way, there’s a large space that gets the rays all day as well as a couple of rooftop bars if you can find a space. Beer comes from various bars but our favourite is the original craft beer microbrewery OL. We’re also big fans of current tenant Caroline Martins’ tacos and burritos but the food vendors change fairly regularly so there is always something new to try.
Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
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.
The Pavilion, Byrom St, Manchester M3 3HG
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.
Aytoun St, Manchester M1 3GL
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.
Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3HG
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.
34 Hanover St, Manchester M4 4AH
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.
Keepers Quay, Manchester M4 6GL
The Oast House
Also in Spinningfields, 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 Avenue, Courtyard, Manchester M3 3AY
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 Abbey Taphouse, Guildhall Close, Hulme, M15 6SY
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.
19 Jackson’s Row, Manchester M2 5WD
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.
14 Brazennose St, Manchester M2 6LW
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.
127 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JQ
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.
80 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JG
Ramona and 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.
40 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JG
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.
39-41 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW
Cloudwater’s city centre bar Sadler’s Cat sits in the NOMA area just opposite New Century Hall (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.
Hanover St, NOMA, Manchester, M4 4AH
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.
Sinclairs Oyster Bar, 2 Cathedral Gates, Manchester M3 1SW
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.
100 Barbirolli Square, Manchester M2 3BD
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 Quarterhouse for cracking BBQ food and Eastern Blok 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.
Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DB
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.
Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
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.
Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN
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 featuring things like fish and chips, wild boar pie, and king prawn curry. 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.
6 Slate Wharf, Manchester M15 4ST
Indie dahling 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.
YES, 38 Charles Street, Manchester. M1 7BD
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.
5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, M1 5QS