Manchester’s summers might be notoriously unreliable, but when the sun’s out and skies are blue, we know how to make the most of it. This summer, if you’re dreaming of soaking up the rays while enjoying a drink or dinner, here’s some of the city’s finest alfresco eating and drinking options.
Just on the edge of the canal in Castlefield, you’ll find a hub of fashionable, fun-loving people enjoying cocktails, wine and beer out in the spacious terrace of Dukes 92. Dukes has a classy feel to it, but at the end of the day it’s simply a wonderful place to enjoy a drink with friends while you sit back and enjoy the warm weather.
Salvi’s Mozzarella Bar
Looking to enjoy a Mediterranean summer on the streets of Naples? You can find almost the next best thing at the Corn Exchange. Salvi’s offers ample outdoor seating – the perfect destination to enjoy a handmade pizza or selection of bread and cheese from the deli counter, and cool yourself down with a chilled Peroni or Aperol Spritz.
Hanging Ditch Wine Merchants
Hanging Ditch is the city centre’s finest wine shop – stocking a vast range of wines, liqueurs and spirits from across the world. Take a bottle home, or enjoy it in the sun outside the front of the shop. Whatever it is you’re looking for, the team are incredibly knowledgeable and always happy to help – making it a destination for adventurous wine-lovers. And if you’d like a snack with your Rioja, Sancerre or Malbec, they serve a small selection of classic bar snacks.
If gin’s your thing, at the other end of Deansgate you’ll find Atlas, boasting the city’s widest range of gins. Right now, it’s the spirit on everyone’s lips, and at Atlas you can browse their extensive Gin Bible to find a blend that suits you, served with a tonic or other mixer of your choice. Perfect for after-work drinks, Atlas’s balcony is a spectacular sun-trap – high-walled and comfortable, with long tables and cushions for enjoying a sociable tipple.
Mr Thomas’s Chop House
The Chop Houses offer some of the city’s most popular and authentic drinking experience, not to mention serving up some excellent food to suit any appetite. In summer, you can watch the city go by from their outdoor seating area by St Ann’s Church while enjoying a cold pint of beer. Seasonal dishes such as The Spring Salad and ˜Devilled” Whitebait are the perfect accompaniment to sunny afternoons in Chop House garden, and there’s also a lighter range of snacks and sandwiches.
One of the Northern Quarter’s favourites for those in the know, Thomas Street’s Terrace is a lively little bar which, when the weather’s fine, opens up its wonderful roof terrace – hence the name. If you’re looking to enjoy the long, bright evenings it’s the ideal destination for a buzzing night.
Due to reopen ready for May’s second bank holiday, the Oast House is one of Manchester’s most iconic places to enjoy a summer drink, and potentially the busiest – but there are many reasons to spend an afternoon in the generous Spinningfields space the Oast House is blessed with. Pick a long table or concrete step to settle on, sip on freshly-poured tank beer and enjoy a famous hanging kebab. It’s no wonder it’s so popular!
The Northern Quarter Restaurant & Bar
You can experience some of the city’s finest locally-sourced, freshly-cooked meals at this NQ institution, with regularly changing seasonal menus. And – while the Northern Quarter tends to struggle for outdoor space – when the mercury rises, you can dine, drink and relax in style next to the spectacular arches of the old Wholesale Fish Market.
Old Wellington Inn
As soon as there’s even a suggestion of sun in the city, crowds begin to form in Shambles Square as revellers enjoy a pint at Sinclair’s Oyster Bar. Just next door, the Old Wellington offers a slightly more relaxed choice of city centre pub, serving affordable real ales – and offering a great outdoor area in the Cathedral Quarter that catches the sun and attracts crowds of anticipatory drinkers.
It might not be the destination for an affordable afternoon in the sun, but the recently-opened 20 Stories at the top of No. 1 Spinningfields offers a spectacular open-air section where guests can take in the breathtaking aerial views of the city and spend summer in style. Enjoy the glorious weather from the city’s newest vantage point, surrounded by tall trees and just a short step from their brilliant bar and grill.
El Gato Negro
A flawless choice all year round, when the sun’s out, El Gato Negro flexes its muscles. They open the roof to turn their top floor bar, The Black Cat, into a lavish terrace, and throw open the glass doors that face out onto King Street. You’d be hard pressed to find a better spot than The Black Cat, enjoying one of their exciting cocktails and a selection of gorgeous tapas.
King Street Townhouse
This luxury baby grand hotel in the heart of the city has a stunning terrace to enjoy a few drinks. With comfy alfresco furniture, you can take in views of the spires and clock tower of Manchester Town Hall and the chimneys and rooftops of the city while enjoying a cocktail. A beautiful location as the sun goes down.
Gin fans will love Impossible’s mezzanine level, which features a hidden ‘gin palace’, with 84 gins from around the world, while a cryogenic freezer will freeze spirits to minus 74 degrees to form edible frozen cocktails. There’s also a lovely outside area with a BBQ and easy access to the bar.
For carbs and cocktails on a sunny south facing terrace, head to The Laundrette on First Street. A range of original cocktails includes Laundrette with Love – featuring Portobello Road gin, rose vodka, apricot, rhubarb bitters and whites, served with a pink fizz chaser.
Situated in historic Castlefield, The Wharf is a magnet for summer sun-seekers. A vast selection of drinks includes six cask ales, a decent wine list of some 50 bins and over a hundred malts, which you can sample while taking in the views over the canal basin from the sun terrace.
Slip into summer in Spinnigfields with The Refinery’s seasonal food and drinks menu. With a range of summer salads, sharing platters and light, fragrant spitzes to enjoy in the sunshine, the attractive outside seating area is sure to be packed as soon as the sun comes out.
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill offers an outside terrace and shisha lounge complete with authentic Egyptian tobaccos in addition to a vibrant range of Indian seafood, steak and grill dishes perfect for the summer months. If you’re looking to start early, take a look at the brunch menu which includes sweet and savoury dishes alongside fresh juices and smoothies – or a mimosa if you fancy something stronger.
This former warehouse and umbrella factory is now a popular bar offering pub food and views over the lock. Enjoy a selection of cask ales and traditional pub grub, including a seasonal picnic sharer with Lancashire cheese and Manchester Star Ale chutney, overlooking the Bridgewater Canal.