We’re having some unseasonably hot weather in Manchester right now, so much so that we’re starting to run out of hot European cities to equate our (usually) rainy hometown with.
Beautiful weather such as this calls for a pint (or gin) in the sun, and maybe a spot of al-fresco dining too, so we’ve stuck out heads together and compiled all of our top picks into one list for you to peruse at your leisure.
Mr Thomas’s Chop House & Gin Garden, St Ann’s Square
Situated in a quiet spot behind St. Ann’s Church, Mr Thomas’s Chop House is an ideal choice for some relaxed early afternoon drinks and nibbles. The team have just released their summer garden menu with a choice of traditional snack options, and have teamed up with British craft gin heroes Sipsmith for the summer to turn their outdoor space into a very British gin garden for the season.
The Wharf Pub, Castlefield
When it’s not chock-a-block with sun-seeking crowds, this cracking custom-built canalside pub in Castlefield offers Mancs an oasis of calm away from the bustle of the city centre. The Wharf has a great selection of cask ales and wines as well as plenty of gins from Manchester and further afield to whet your whistle, plus some solid home-cooked grub too. Head in on a Friday between 5pm and 9pm to get £5 off any bottle of fizz.
El Gato Negro Terrace Bar, King Street
Head to El Gato Negro on King Street on a sunny day to catch some rays. The top floor dining area’s retractable roof makes the restaurant a popular choice in Manchester’s warmer months, however, if you’re just after a few swift ones then the King Street terrace is the place to be. With large doors opening onto the iconic cobbled street, it’s a fab spot for people watching with a G&T or sherry in hand.
Red Bank Co., Green Quarter
Tucked away in the arches of the Green Quarter, Red Bank Co. has long been a favourite of residents on this side of the city centre. Serving up great cocktails and tasty wood-fired pizzas in their backyard, this is a great chilled-out spot to wander over to with your crew. Next month, they’re teaming up with Manchester Three Rivers and Shindigger to throw a big Block Party too.
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.
Great John Street Hotel’s Rooftop Lounge & Playground, Castlefield
This elegant third-floor space is one of the most diverse areas within Great John Street’s Old School House. South facing with great views out over the city via Spinningfields, it is equipped with its own bar for handy drinks service and connects on to the Rooftop Playground. These spaces also make the perfect setting for private rooftop BBQs, launch events, cocktail parties and wedding receptions.
Albert Square Chop House, Albert Square
Situated on one of Manchester’s most iconic squares, Albert Square Chop House has a cracking view across the piazza: great for people-watching as you sip on a proper pint of ale or get stuck into their extensive wine list. If you love your wine, make sure to set aside a few hours to explore their cellars, too.
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.
Menagerie, New Bailey
Serving lunch, dinner and drinks from noon every day, Menagerie at the New Bailey is located between Spinningfields and Salford and has a sweet outdoor terrace area perfect for catching some rays whilst the sun’s still shining.
King Street Townhouse’s South Terrace & Infinity Spa Pool
The south-facing 6th-floor terrace at King Street Townhouse is equipped with an overhead canopy and comfy alfresco furniture as well as a bespoke wooden bar. Head over to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea or cocktails in the sunshine with views of the spires and clock tower of the Manchester Town Hall.
If you fancy cooling off in this summer heat, the 7th-floor infinity spa pool at King Street is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places to do so. Access to the spa pool is available via appointment only, but don’t worry you don’t need to be staying at the hotel to enjoy it.
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.
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.
Atlas Bar, Deansgate
The upstairs roof terrace at Atlas bar on Deansgate ticks all of our boxes: south facing, retractable roof, and heated (for when Manchester starts showing its true colours again). They also serve over 250 different varieties of gin.
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.
HOME, First Street
This summer, HOME at First Street will be at the epicentre of all the Wimbledon tennis action. In the amphitheatre the First Street team will be screening all of the tennis matches on their big outdoor screen, making HOME the perfect spot to pick up a beer and a pizza before you settle into your deck chair to enjoy the action.
The Living Room, Deansgate
Located at the top of Deansgate, The Living Room is a great spot for people-watching. Popular with those looking for a big night out on the town, they sent the internet nuts earlier this year by putting pornstar martinis on trees for the masses. Their latest thing, however, is G&T trees: perfect for this sweltering heat. Why not get nine G&Ts for £55 and settle down to watch the world go by? You know it sounds good.
Big Hands, Oxford Road
A favourite with mature students and nonchalant graduates alike, Big Hands not only has a stellar roof terrace perfect for catching some rays but also lays claim to a brilliant jukebox selection. If you’re keen to escape the madness of town, we highly recommend you stick your head in here.
The Refinery, Spinningfields
We’ve been seeing a lot of The Refinery on our TV screens of late as a result of their close proximity to the location of BBC’s Million Pound Menu. Head in on Fridays to make the most of their great cocktail selection, or indulge in their #FizzFriday offer with a bottle of prosecco for just £20. Then plonk yourself down in the sunshine for a good natter with your crew to dissect your week. Feeling peckish? Their summer menu is full of gorgeous fresh flavours to indulge in, plus specially-created dishes from acclaimed chef Peter Gordon.
Sinclair’s Oyster Bar & The Old Wellington, Shambles Square
One of the most popular spots in the city centre for boozing once the sun rears its head, Sinclair’s Oyster Bar and The Old Wellington are cult hits with Mancs looking to get their day drink on. Plus, it’s pretty cheap: you can pay less than £3 for a pint here.
The Corn Exchange, Exchange Square
Located on Exchange Square, this shopping centre-turned-drinking and dining destination has plenty of outdoor seating and a large array of establishments to pick from. From Salvi’s, Vapiano and Banyan to Wahaca, Zizzi and the Cosy Club, choose your position and grab a perch in the south-facing square.
Wood, First Street
MasterChef winner Simon Wood’s First Street restaurant has a beautiful little outside area for after-work drinking. The team have added a pop-up bar outside, too, where you can enjoy offers such as two hop house lagers for £5.
If you’re looking for a swanky night out, then you need to get down to Australasia in your finest glad rags sharpish. The canopied garden, formerly known as Grand Pacific, is a neat and sophisticated hideaway for refined cocktails and small plates of sushi.
The Liquor Store, Deansgate
Named the best late night party venue in Manchester last year at the Eat, Drink, Sleep Awards, The Liquor Store has a laid back atmosphere and a cute little terrace for sunshine drinking. What’s more, the team have brought back free food Fridays so if you get down before 8pm you can get your hands on some free BBQ with your bevs.
Head up to the level 12 lounge bar at Manchester House for stellar views across the city. The 4 AA Rosette restaurant first became well known as Aiden Byrne’s restaurant but is still well-esteemed under the stewardship of new head chef Nathaniel Tofan. There are four covered and retractable roof terraces for guests to enjoy cocktails or afternoon tea.
Sweet Diner, Denton
This converted pub still has all the amenities of a great beer garden, just without the beer. So if you’re more into milkshakes than gin & tonics and you’re happy to venture a little further afield, we’d have to recommend Sweet Diner in Denton. The guys don’t serve alcohol here but they do have an awesome range of cooling shakes and cheat-day treats ready to be devoured in their outside garden. Their new opening hours from 12pm-11pm every day mean that you can really make the most of the sun here now, too.