We’re currently in the grips of the highest temperates ever recorded in the UK, and I simply find myself saying the words “It’s too hot” multiple times an hour.
For a city famed for its rainfall, we’re actually rather blessed with some truly excellent beer gardens, with everything from multi-million-pound terraces around the back of a hotel, to a makeshift garden on the top of one of the city’s most iconic boozers.
Escape to Freight Island
Escape to Freight Island has been a hit with Manchester folk and beyond since it opened its doors, with it’s mix of indoor and outdoor entertainment, cocktails, beers and eclectic food menu from an impressive selection of street food vendors. It’s hard to beat the sheer thrill of being here when it’s sunny, half-cut, dancing around like you’re in Ibiza. It’s a ‘vibe’ that we don’t usually get here in Manchester, so when we do – enjoy it.
Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring Street, Manchester, M1 2PZ
Ducie Street Warehouse
With a huge south-facing terrace around the back of Ducie Street Warehouse – this place is perfect when the sun is out. There’s even some huge umbrellas for you to sit under if you’re a bit scared of the sun – ginger people and vampires I’m talking about. Great beers, lovely cocktails and some fantastic dishes from Head Chef Andrew Green – all perfect enjoyed out on this beauty in the sun.
Offering up the city’s highest and most impressive terraces was never going to be an easy task – especially in Manchester, but the bods behind 20 Stories thought about all of that years ago – so we don’t need to worry. A fair whack of this high-up terrace is under cover to protect you from the Manchester elements – but when the sun comes out – those gazebos come down.
NO. 1, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
I should just put ‘Deansgate Mews’ on here – because this is probably the biggest beer garden / terrace in the city. Well, it’s close enough. Tucked away up some stairs just off Deansgate, the Mews is a long street with some great bars and restaurants on there – and it really comes alive when the sun comes out. The Mews have their cocktails and charcuterie boards, Another Hand for the food, and you’ll probably find some live music on atThe Lion’s Den.
The Black Friar
The historic Salford boozer has a truly magnificent terrace and beer garden out back, one which has been given a Didsbury Gin spruce up this summer, alongside a new menu of flatbreads and small plates – perfect for enjoying in this great little sun trap.
41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Salford M3 7DB
The second the sun peeks out from behind a particularly large cumulonimbus, this HUGE terrace gets packed with a crowd that can only really be described as ‘attractive’. The sun heralds a day of excessive Prosecco, loads of Balearic tunes, six packs, BBQ’ed meats and the kind of antics that would leave most people in bed for 5.30pm. Dukes also has the added benefit of being located in Castlefield, pretty much the centre of large outdoor beer gardens in the city – so if Dukes is busy – there’s plenty more places to choose from.
Dukes 92, 18 – 25 Castle St, Manchester M3 4LZ
Crazy Pedro’s Bridge Street
This is quite possibly one of the best beer gardens in the whole city. Not only does it benefit from the sun for pretty much the whole day, but you can drink margaritas and eat slices of pizza all bloody day and right into the night (and even until 4am if you can hack it). The only thing that is missing is a paddling pool – I’ll submit my recommendation to the staff as soon as possible.
Crazy Pedro’s, 55-57 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BQ
Even when the sun comes out for a measly 5 minutes on a Tuesday afternoon, Flok’s outdoor terrace gets busy. It’s as if people can smell the vitamin D from a mile off, and if you’re anywhere near Stevenson Square – there’s no better spot than the corner that Flok is on. Not only is it a brilliant place to watch all of the NQ’s weirdos go about their business, there’s loads of standing space so it gets pretty rowdy and a lot of fun.
Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN
What could be considered one huge outdoor terrace, the garden at KAMPUS is surrounded by the likes of Pollen, Nell’s and Beeswing, with upcoming additions including Great North Pie Co. and Cloudwater’s new pub – all adding to the perfect summer eating and drinking destination. There’s also a lovely little bit on the canal where you can sit with your feet in the water.
From the front, Rain Bar just looks like your bog-standard boozer but take a little trip around the back and you’re greeted with one of the city’s best sun traps and the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon in the sun with your mates. A multi-levelled marvel that goes right down to the canal side, there’s always somewhere to sit here and you’re guaranteed to be in the sun for at least 5 hours a day – even in the winter.
Rain Bar, 80 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JG
The Oast House
A colossal beer garden right outside the entrance to the Crown Courts, you can drink cocktails and eat kebabs in the sun. This place is one of the city’s best sun traps, and most people in the city know it – so with a tiny bit of sun you should expect some big crowds. It can be a bit of a nightmare at the bar when it’s really busy so instead of buying one pint at a time, just order bottles of wine instead.
The Oast House, Crown Square, The Avenue Courtyard, Manchester M3 3AY
Ramona & Firehouse
If you’re still yet to visit Ramona, what have you been doing?! The majority of my time is spent daydreaming about their truffle potatoes. Anyway, alongside its amazing food offerings, both Ramona & Firehouse have fantastic outdoor terraces, which are perfect both in the winter and the summer. Firehouse in particular, if you fancy some serious Balearic & LA vibes – there’s no better place.
40 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JG
Not only do Atlas Bar have the outdoor terrace game pretty much sewn up, they also serve a whopping selection of over 300 gins – which when paired with tonic, ice and citrus fruit becomes the most perfect hot weather drink ever invented. The outdoor space gets sun pretty much all day, it’s massive and there’s always a friendly crowd in there. Pretty much perfect really.
Atlas, 376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY
Currently in the process of being completely pedestrianised, with some big concrete bollards and bottleneck pavements being installed, Thomas Street is a fantastic spot when the sun comes out. There’s loads of options for eating and drinking in the sun, including Fierce, Terrace (who are mentioned elsewhere here), Wolf at the Door, The Bay Horse Tavern, Cane & Grain and The Smithfield Social. It’s perfect for chilling and watching the weirdos of the NQ come and go, and occasionally some mad bastard pulls out a trumpet or other instrument and pegs it up and down regaling everyone with tunes.
The Briton’s Protection
A proper boozer which specialises in whiskey, The Briton’s Protection serve over 300 different types of the stuff, from bottles that you’ll have seen for years, right up to really expensive tipples that even Richard Branson would think twice about buying. Head round the back too and you’ll find a brilliant little courtyard which is always lively and seemingly always sunny.
The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE
0161 236 5895
Even though it looks like a miniature stately home from Brideshead Revisited, The Wharf is in fact a bustling pub that is pretty much heaving all year round. In the winter people flock to their doors to eat meat and gravy next to a fire with their dog while in the summer they descend upon the HUGE beer garden out front to frolic in the sun and drink too much Somerset cider. Just don’t get too hot and try to jump in either the small fountain or the canal. Both are frowned upon I’m afraid.
The Wharf, 6 Slate Wharf, Manchester M15 4ST
Zouk take supreme pride in the quality of their outdoor terrace – one which is commanded by a very impressive heavy-duty awning. In the winter it’s extended, protecting you from the rain and with about 15 heaters keeping you warm. When the sun comes out – that awning disappears and you’re treated to a great outdoor space that’s perfect for cocktails, curries and shisha.
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, M1 5QS
Cutting Room Square
The heart of the re-developed (and not rough anymore) Ancoats, flanked on all sides by eateries and apartments and a prime hotspot when the sun comes out. All of the places around Cutting Room Square have terraces on the public space, including Jimmy’s, NAM, Elnecot, Rudy’s, Jane Eyre and just a little further down, Edinburgh Castle, Canto and Mule. There’s definitely a vibe down here when the sun’s out and is the perfect city centre spot to lose a few hours on a lovely summer’s evening.
Sinclair’s Oyster Bar
The city’s classic beer garden and the one which most people getting off the train at Victoria will head straight for. Not actually just Sinclair’s but also the neighbouring Wellington, this beer garden is gigantic and whenever the sun comes out it gets seriously packed with people. It’s also worth noting that the booze in Sinclair’s is impressively cheap – but they’re CASH ONLY and you’re banned from using your phone and swearing in there.
Sinclairs Oyster Bar, 2 Cathedral Gates, Manchester M3 1SW
0161 834 0430
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 secluded, away from the hustle and bustle of city life in the heat. This summer they’re also serving up Gyros and award-winning ice cream from Saddleworth’s Grandpa Greene’s.
The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
One of the Northern Quarter’s most beloved terraces, Alvarium’s small (ish) spot on Dorsey Street was at danger of being taken away at the beginning of the year. All is fine at the moment though, meaning you can enjoy some great cocktails, a cracking happy hour and food from lasagne masters Lazy Tony’s (until the first week in August) – all out on the terrace in the sunshine.
Alvarium, 8 Dorsey St, Manchester M4 1LU
Down on Red Bank, or the Green Quarter, the team at GRUB have created an oasis of fantastic street food and drinks pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and it’s well worth the walk out there to visit. Out back there’s an excellent beer and street food garden – that get’s a load of sun and gets pretty busy on the weekends.
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.
Big Hands, 296 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9NS
0161 272 7309
The Ivy Rooftop Terrace
Technically inside, but also technically outside – essentially walking a velvet tightrope of sophistication and function, The Ivy’s Rooftop Terrace is actually one of the prettiest and most stylish spots in the city. When the sun comes out the windows get opened and it’s glorious up here – so splash out on a bottle of Champers and enjoy yourself.
The Ivy Spinningfields, The Pavillion, Byrom St, Manchester M3 3HG
The Con Club
Unbeknown to many, Altrincham’s Con Club doesn’t just have an excellent terrace out the front, but also offer up a secluded rooftop terrace – accessible up their stairs on the right when you walk in. You’re spoilt for choice when the sun rears its pretty little head, and it’s the same when it comes to the food and the drink here – there’s LOADS of both. Sushi and fizz out in the sun anyone?
They spent about £1m doing up their terrace at Dakota last year, money that has definitely paid for itself in spades now that places can only open up outside. Covered, heated and actually really rather pretty – there are few better places to go in the city – especially when the sun comes out.
Dakota, 29 Ducie St, Manchester M1 2JL
0161 674 9180
Everyone goes 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 hideout 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. They also have an outdoor bit downstairs and across the road too.
YES, 38 Charles Street, Manchester. M1 7BD
Terrace has been a staple of the Northern Quarter nightlife scene for years now, and come summer or winter, its beer garden is a divine retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city centre living. The bar offers a great list of cocktails and beer from around the world, as well as a menu full of wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and Sunday roasts, all of which can be enjoyed in the comfort of its heated terrace!
Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
0161 819 2345
Even though a large proportion of Hatch is, in fact, right underneath the Mancunian Way, so there’s no real chance that you’ll get any sunshine this week, there’s actually a lot that’s out in the open. Head down to where the street food vendors are and you’ll be out in the glorious sunshine with your sunnies on, and an ice cold lager in your hand.
Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
The Old Abbey Tap House
Probably the best terrace that you’ve not heard of – the Old Abbey Tap House have a cracking outside bit – with covers, DJs, pizza and loads of craic. Once you’re here it’s hard to leave – especially when the shots come out. One of the best sunny Spring/Summer afternoon jaunts in the entire city.
The Old Abbey Taphouse, Guildhall Close, Hulme, M15 6SY
0161 226 2052
Bar San Juan
Probably the very best tapas bar in the entire of Manchester, and a place where I managed to ensnare a wife – San Juan is just perfect for a date or romantic meal for two. There’s the flawless tapas, the friendly service and the boisterous atmosphere, coupled with jugs and jugs of Sangria and you’ll have the best time ever.
Bar San Juan, 56 Beech Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9EG
A massive rooftop terrace on the top of BrewDog’s new DOGHOUSE Hotel – there’s a bar up here, loads of seating and even a Taco Hut – serving up, well – tacos obviously. This is also a prime spot for looking through at people working away at their computers in their offices, and it’s a lot of fun to really rub it in that you’re not working and enjoying a few pints.
DogHouse Hotel, 18-20 Fountain St, Manchester M2 2AR