We’ll admit it. With a moniker like ‘the Rainy City’, there’s always an element of risk involved in committing yourself to a day of outdoor drinking or alfresco dining in Manchester.
You’re never far away from a soaking in this town. It’s what brings us together under one, big collective umbrella of positive spirit, right?
But in the rare event the elusive Manchester sun does make an appearance, you’re going to want to make the most of it and you’re going to want to know where’s the best place to eat and drink outside in Manchester?
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.
Which means everyone makes a beeline for the nearest beer garden or rooftop bar, which means it can be tough to find somewhere with a bit of space.
Once upon a time, enjoying the fine weather in Manchester meant heading down to one of the waterside venues at Castlefield to catch a few rays.
And although it’s very much still a favourite destination for when it’s ‘cracking the flags’, these days it’s got competition from plenty of other places where, for a few days at least every year, you can eat and drink outside, and get some vitamin D, too.
Here’s our top picks for places to eat and drink outside in Manchester this summer, in no particular order…
We’ve selected some places where you can raise your glass to sunny afternoons and where you can spent your summer nights – as well as your chances of finding a seat.
And don’t forget to slap on the Factor 30. Factor 50 if you’re ginger.
The best places eat and drink outside in Manchester City Centre
Atlas Bar, Deansgate
And it’s not just G&T’s. Atlas also stocks a great range of beers and wines, and its wonderfully exotic, award-winning garden area is one of the very best places to enjoy them all.
The legendary Deansgate bar has recently been refurbished and not long ago launched a tasty new Spring menu.
Plus they’re refurbishing the outdoor terrace at the end of April. A solid gold choice for anyone wanting to soak up some solid gold rays.
376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY
Green Arches, Green Quarter
The brewery bar in Green Quarter has opened its garden for summer.
The venue is hosting events all summer long with fresh beer brewed on-site, a new cocktail menu, live music and DJs, and a great, new, fresh BBQ by the guys at ISIT Kitchen.
The sun-trap garden is the latest addition to Green Arches which alongside their brewery offering has a variety of natural wines and new summer cocktails, including a mango habanero daiquiri, a pineapple and peach margarita and more to be announced.
The newly opened BBQ will have a rotating menu of specials such as Oaxacan chicken, apple and mint pork steaks and oyster mushroom skewers on scallion pancakes.
Open now right through the summer, there will be a number of events to get guests in the feel-good, summer spirit.
They are located less than a 10-minute walk from Northern Quarter and offer a secluded sun-trap for you to spend your summer days and evenings.
Albert’s Shed, Castlefield
Fully refurbished in late 2021 with a brand new look, Albert’s Shed is a stylish city-centre restaurant at the centre of the Castlefield Canal basin.
18-20 Castle St, Manchester M3 4LZ
Port Street Beer House
Port Street Beer House has been serving craft beer and real ales from here, there, and everywhere since they opened back in 2011. We’ve got 18 keg lines and 7 cask lines – as well as hundreds of rotating cans and bottles from the world’s best breweries to either drink or take-away.
39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ
Ramona is a relaxed, industrial-style option with a patio serving housemade Detroit style pizza, cookies & great value cocktails.
It’s also complete with a tree-lined forecourt, and a campfire beer garden as those long afternoons close into the sometimes chilly evenings.
40 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JG
Located on Great Bridgewater Street, Rain Bar is an amazing place in town for the best cask ales, craft lagers and perfect pub grub.
Home of one of the most idyllic beer gardens in Manchester to enjoy on a sunny afternoon with a pint of Manchester Craft Lager, or cosy up by the fire on chilly days in the warm atmosphere of the pub with a pint of Manchester Pale Ale.
The new menu offers small plates, perfect for a bite to eat to share with friends over a bottle of wine or a few gins before a night out, as well as our favourites including the Brewery Tower Burger and MPA battered fish and chips.
80 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JG
Deansgate Mews has an amazing selection of bars and restaurants and a beautiful sun trap garden for you to soak up those fleeting summer rays.
From Holy Grain with its sourdough baked on site, Another Hand restaurant, with its exquisite small plates, The Mews Bar with its cocktails, wine and charcuterie platters, Dormouse mixing its artisan chocolate, to Siam Smiles with its authentic Thai treats, live music joint The Lions Den and axe throwing at Whistle Punks!
Head up the painted steps half way down Deansgate Terrace, or up those fabulously decorated steps opposite the Hilton Hotel on Great Bridgewater Street and discover this independent oasis in the city centre.
The days are getting longer and the temperature warmer so it’s the perfect time to join team GRUB in the GRUB garden for street food, frozen cocktails, hazy pints, bee and dog-spotting, tunes, vibes and a healthy dose of El Sueno tequila!
50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M4 4HF
Station South, Levenshulme
Station South is a community interest company (CIC, not for profit)It’s a destination cycle cafe, bar and workshop operated for and by the community as a place to meet, eat, drink and dance.
And – most importantly- has a gorgeous beer garden which is an absolute sun trap!
It’s in Levenshulme, right on the Fallowfield Loop, and just a five-minute walk from the train station / right on the 192 bus route.
One of the best beer gardens in the city, you can’t miss Courtyard if the sun is out. They have a huge 50+ capacity beer garden, with outdoor heating for the evening sessions.
Outside, they also have a cocktail bar with sheltered seating, and huge screens to watch live sports.
If you’re lucky, they might even spark up the BBQ while you’re there!
2 Chester St, Manchester M1 5SH
Hatch is an amazing selection of Inndependnent Traders in the heart of Oxford Road, with a beautiful sunntrap area to enjoy the sunshine in too.
They always have plenty going on, and you can check out their listings here.
You can find the, on Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7ED
Society is another great shout amongst Manchester’s amazing selection of brilliant places to have a beer and some great grub in the sunshine.
The all-day space is a hub for street food, featuring towering burgers of Slap & Pickle, pan-Asian specialists Manzoku Street Food, flavoursome Indian street food from Chaat Cart and experts in Korean street food, Yoki Social Table.
They also have a class cocktail bar and specialist taproom by craft brewery Vocation.
100 Barbirolli Square, Manchester M2 3BD
El Gato Negro
The top floor terrace of the award-winning tapas restaurant makes a stunning location for a drink. The tables are reserved for diners, so with patrons focused on the tapas, there’s a good chance you can grab a bar stool. Otherwise, there are a few tables at street level, which is a great place to soak up the sun while you watch the world go by.
52 King St, Manchester M2 4LY
The Deansgate Tavern
Deansgate might be one of the busiest areas in Manchester but the pub that shares its name has a secret roof terrace which can provide some much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle on scorching days.
321 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ
The White Lion
This old-school pub is a far cry from the showier bars of nearby Spinningfields, but that’s part of its charm. Just down the road from the Science and Industry Museum, it boasts an ample-sized beer garden, so you’d have to be pretty unlucky not to find somewhere to sit on a sunny afternoon.
43 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NQ
Push the heavy door at the back of the pub and you’ll find the new-look Gin Garden, an intimate little space adorned with fairy lights that’s been created to celebrate the launch of its own branded gin. It might not be the biggest outdoor space, but there’s a definite secret garden vibe about it that’s hard to resist.
35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
Crown and Anchor
This pub in the Northern Quarter boasts an impressive-sized beer garden out the back and it’s not what you might expect, given the traditional interior. Spread over two levels, there’s plenty of seating, including astro turf benches, while the graffiti art on the wall lends a cool, modern vibe.
6 Cateaton St, Manchester M3 1SQ
It might only be two minutes from bustling Victoria Station, but Sadler’s Cat enjoys a tranquil setting over in Sadlers Yard. There’s a certain Scandi look to this wooden pub surrounded by high rises and plenty of seating out the front to catch some rays on sunny days. It also sells some amazing beers from Cloudwater too.
Hanover St, Manchester M60 0AB
The Lowry Hotel
Manchester’s first five-star hotel sits comfortably upon the meeting point of Manchester and Salford and boasts the longest bar terrace in the city.
The hotel’s prestige means the chefs have access to some of the best produce in the country, and eating al fresco here is a delight. Overlooking the River Irwell, the open-air terrace is a pretty special place for a bottle of sparkling in the sparkling summer sunshine.
50 Dearmans Place, Salford M3 5LH
The Wharf, Castlefield
The Wharf is an al fresco heavyweight in Manchester, and with very good reason. The Castlefield canal basin is a sight to bold when it shimmers under the sun and The Wharf’s large outside terrace area is right at the heart of it.
It gets extremely busy in the summer months, but there are few better places to spend an afternoon. The fantastic pub grub, extensive wine list and old-fashioned charm make for a pretty formidable combination when the big yellow ball does decide to poke its head out from the clouds, and mean that any boats mooring up for the day will be greeted with a lot of smiling faces.
6 Slate Wharf, Castlefield, Manchester M15 4ST
Dukes 92, Castlefield
Another Castlefield favourite, Dukes is Manchester’s original bar & grill and the perfect choice for informal and infectiously friendly al fresco in the daytime hours.
The huge canalside patio area is legendary amongst locals, and a 40 cover balcony just above ensures that if you’re looking for some genuine Mancunian atmosphere to go with you sun tan – you’re in the right place. As a grill, Duke’s reputation speaks for itself, and the jewel in the seamlessly diverse menu’s crown is probably the sumptuous cheese board – even better in the warm summer glow.
18 Castle Street, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4LZ
The Oast House, Spinningfields
When it comes to eating and drinking outside, the Oast House needs no introduction. But it’s getting one anyway. In its own words, The Oast House ‘turns the cosmopolitan Spinningfields on its head’, and its not wrong. This authentic, rustic pub is a haven away from the hustle and bustle of the high street, but still offers everything you want and more from a pub. Fantastic ales, a simply sublimely tasty deli, BBQ and rotisserie, and one of the best social hubs anywhere in Manchester.
You probably already know about the beer garden, but rest assured the Oast House’s outdoor summer events and live music will guarantee a great time whenever you choose to go. It’s busy for a reason.
The Avenue Courtyard (Spinningfields), Manchester M3 3AY
The Lawn Club, Spinningfields
After being closed since the start of the year, The Lawn Club is reopening this month just in time for the (fingers crossed) arrival of the sunshine.
A fusion of glamorous surroundings and traditional Northern charm make this quirky bar a brilliant, very modern retreat. The new-look venue will include an outside decking area complete with more seats, all-weather parasols and an outside BBQ. The shiny, green lawn is more enticing than ever before.
Priding itself on seasonal food and drinks, the bar will offer creative twists on summer cocktail favourites, fine wine, craft beers and specially selected soft drinks. Uncomplicated small plates and sharing platters will all be locally sourced and ready to indulge on those toasty summer afternoons.
Byrom Street (Spinningfields), Manchester M3 3HG
Yet another Castlefield nomination enters the list. It must be something in the (canal) water.
Barca’s decked terrace is one of the largest in Manchester, and they’ve got a giant new BBQ ready for the sizzling, summer rush. It’s central Castlefield location means you’re right in the thick of the action, and they even have live music on the terrace. If you just squint your eyes you might even start to believe you’re on holiday.
8-9 Catalan Square (Castlefield), Manchester M3 4RU
20 Stories, Spinningfields
Since 20 Stories opened earlier in the year (with a completely open roof no less), the people of Manchester have been patiently waiting for a heat wave of this ilk to make the most of the new restaurant/bar. What with the majority of its floor space being outside, this is the time to head down and make the most of its stellar views over the city. Reservations aren’t necessary for the bar, but if you’re looking to dine you will need to book in first.
1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
Terrace, Northern Quarter
For a long time, Terrace was the bugbear of many Northern Quarter hipsters who just couldn’t get their head around the fact that whilst the bar called itself Terrace, you couldn’t get on to it. Thank goodness this is no longer a thing. Last summer they finally opened to the public and it’s a sweet little spot: great for grabbing a beer with your colleagues after work and soaking up some rays.
43 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
Impossible, Peter Street
Backing on to the Great Northern square, the outside terrace at Impossible is the perfect sun trap for post-work drinking and casual dining. The team are screening all of the football matches as well as operating extra outside bars throughout the summer to ensure speedy drinks service for everyone. They’ll also reserve you a table in advance to save you trekking around with your team at the end of a long day.
6 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR
Mackie Mayor, Northern Quarter
With so many delights in one place, you’ll be hard-pressed to not find something you like at Mackie Mayor. With its own dedicated beer, wine and coffee bars (and a great selection of natural wine on offer to take home too), there’s lots of tasty Manchester produce to choose from too. This outside space has been a long time in the making and we’re happy it’s here in time for this blistering weather.
36 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill’s shisha lounge and terrace, Oxford Road
Tucked just behind Oxford Road, Zouk Tea Bar & Grill have a great outdoor terrace on their ground floor – cleverly shrouded in shrubbery just as you enter the restaurant. Newly decorated with a huge floral wall for the summer, the terrace is perfect for al fresco drinking and dining in this weather. It is also one of the few places in the city centre you can enjoy a spot of shisha, too.
Bunny Jackson’s, First Street
Tucked into a quiet avenue on the First Street estate, New Orleans-inspired juke joint Bunny Jackson’s is a great spot for chilled after-work drinks in the sunshine. There might not be many tables, but provided you don’t take too long to get down you’re likely to get a seat. Other perks to getting your sunshine beers in here include free hotdogs for every drink (to help keep your day drinking in check) and they are also showing the football… if that’s something you’re after.
1 Jack Rosenthal St, Manchester M15 4RA
Beer gardens in Greater Manchester
Worsley Old Hall, Worsley
Nestled in Northern Manchester, Worsley Old Hall is a stunning, grade II listed building with a gigantic outdoor terrace and garden area that is heavenly in the peak of July.
They have an excellent brunch menu and a Sunday roast that changes each week. It often feels like there are precious few green areas in Manchester City Centre, but Worsley Old Hall has postcard-perfect, golf course views, plenty of grassy spaces and it’s a real winner for a family day out.
Worsley Park, Worsley, Manchester M28 2QT
The Laundrette, Chorlton
Trendy Chorlton’s The Laundrette has a cherished history. Once a famous greengrocer and until 2010, naturally, a laundrette, this restaurant bar is proud of its industrial past, and also happens to be rather good when the sun’s out.
The roomy and very comfortable terrace area is the perfect place to enjoy one of their artisan pizzas or commendably inventive cocktails. Another suburban haven for the summer.
32 Beech Road, Manchester M21 9EL
The menu is modern British with an eclectic mix of Albert’s favourites and dishes from around the globe.
120-122 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M20 2PU
The picturesque Albert’s Standish can accommodate dining for 200 guests, with a covered and heated outside terrace perfect for al fresco dining.
The Wigan restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and every Saturday and Sunday mornings for breakfast.
School Ln, Standish, Wigan WN6 0TD
The Old Boat House, Astley
This canal-side, traditional pub nestled in the heart of Astley village in Wigan boasts a scenic beer garden.
Higher Green Ln, Astley, Manchester M29 7JB
The Lower Turks Head
A stone’s throw from the Northern Quarter, The Lower Turks Head is easy to get to, and unlike many of the bars along nearby Thomas Street, you don’t have to jostle for space. Head to the small terrace with its retractable roof and a large screen for sports. There’s also a bar upstairs that’s open at the weekends, so it’s easy enough to get the next round in.
36 Shudehill, Manchester M4 1EZ
The Metropolitan, Didsbury
We’re all in agreement that central Manchester is packing its fair share of wonderful suntraps, but for those preferring their processo served suburban, Didsbury is even more charming in the summer. The popular village has numerous outdoor grazing spots, but for our money one of the best is The Metropolitan.
With a huge terrace that is as generous with sun as it is with shade, The Met is packed to the rafters in the summer months. It’s a great choice for families as there are always kids whizzing around and the lunch menu is pub grub with a touch of class.
2 Lapwing Lane, Manchester M20 2WS
The Thomas Egerton, Bolton
With an enviable location, right in the centre of the busy village of Egerton and surrounded by breathtaking moorland countryside, The Thomas Egerton in Bolton offers freshly prepared food plus cask-conditioned beers, guest beers, lagers and ciders as well as wines and spirits.
272 Blackburn Rd, Egerton, Bolton BL7 9SR
Volta, West Didsbury
This neighbourhood restaurant and bar on Burton Road, West Didsbury, offers a menu of small plates inspired by international travels, with a cosy terrace to the front.
167 Burton Rd, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2LN
The Old School BBQ Bus, Oldham
The Old School BBQ was born in 2016, using a freshly imported 1982 Bluebird International American school bus from Arizona as a mobile kitchen.
Then the bus was converted from a traditional seated bus to a fully functional kitchen, with smokers and griddles to cook low and slow BBQ food.
Alford St, Hollinwood, Chadderton, Oldham OL9 7LP
The Black Friar, Salford
Now, it has launched a new garden bar, where the new state-of-the-art Gozney wood fire oven will serve up British inspired (and wallet-friendly) dishes all day long.
41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Manchester M3 7DB