With a wealth of stylish bars and restaurants, it offers visitors the chance to enjoy the outdoors, even when it is raining.
Here’s our pick of the best outdoor bars in Manchester, all offering shelter from even the rainiest British summer.
Rooftop Lounge and Playground
The outside of this handsome Edwardian building belies what’s inside (and on top) of the Great John Street Hotel. In bygone days, it was Manchester’s County Municipal School. Being city-centre based, the only place for the boys’ playground was on the roof. Fast forward 105 years and you’ll now find a sumptuous hotel with a range of plush bars and eateries.
Head for the roof-top lounge and the first thing you’ll see is the muted décor of the inside bar area. This is an inviting enough space as it is, but glance through the glass panel doors and you’ll see the roof-top oasis that is the Rooftop Lounge and Playground. Out there you will find a place of calm, sheltered by a glass and steel canopy, with plenty of covered seating and a BBQ area. If you need more inspiration to add this one to your list to visit, flick through their gallery online. This one even features in the Guide to the World’s Best Rooftop Bars! Find out more about the Rooftop Lounge and Playground here.
El Gato Negro Tapas
For those who love tapas as well as enjoying a refreshing drink in the outdoors, you can’t beat El Gato Negro’s roof terrace. Situated in another of Manchester’s graceful old buildings, this time in the Palazzo-style, the restaurant and bar façade now has a modern twist.
You might be forgiven for thinking that the terrace is completely outdoors if you arrive on a sunny day and glance up to the blue sky above. But imagine this: you’ve just sat down for drinks when the sky clouds over and you feel a drop of rain. No problem! The funky retractable roof canopy shelters the bar and restaurant area from the elements. This means that you won’t miss out on the alfresco dining experience, even when the elements try to stop you. Check out the El Gato Negro Tapas gallery here and see for yourself, or read more about that retractable roof here.
If you can’t get a spot on the roof terrace, though, don’t despair. Down at street level, customers also benefit from the restaurant awning out front. It protects the lovely café-style seating area and gives shade during the height of summer on this sunny side of the street.
Sky Lounge at DoubleTree Manchester
From the more traditional architecture of industrial Manchester to the sleek and modern glass and steel of the Sky Lounge at DoubleTree. Right in the heart of Piccadilly, Doubletree nestles in amongst other imposing modern buildings and reflects in its windows the Gothic grandeur of the Manchester Crown Court which is just across the street.
Step inside and you’re instantly enveloped by the cool, relaxed atmosphere as you leave the bustle of Piccadilly behind. Make your way up to the 11th floor for the Sky Lounge and enjoy the fabulous views of the city below you. Outside, the covered terrace area is protected from the elements by a glass and steel canopy which sparkles with ambient lighting after dark. Perfect for a small private event to celebrate a birthday or other special occasion. Can’t picture yourself under the star-like lights shining down from the canopy above? Check out more pictures here.
The Restaurant Bar and Grill
‘Drink or dine, rain or shine’ is one of the captions for The Restaurant Bar and Grill. To find out why check out their video here. Located in the Spinningfields district of Manchester, this area has developed over the years to become the financial and business district of the city. But it’s not just business that people visit Spinningfields for. Thanks to places like The Restaurant Bar and Grill it’s a destination of choice for food and drink.
If it’s outside drinks or dining that you’re looking for, The Restaurant Bar and Grill offers them aplenty. Providing visitors with a relaxed atmosphere and heat lamps for the terrace on cooler evenings, the reviews are excellent. Customers particularly love the outdoor space that’s accessible even on rainy days thanks to their retractable restaurant canopy. Flick through the photos here and see how inviting this versatile outside eating space is. And just in case you were wondering, the alfresco terrace is open all year round!
King Street Townhouse Terrace
If you love Manchester’s mix of old and new architecture, this is another one for you. Located a stone’s throw from Manchester Piccadilly Gardens and built in the Italian Renaissance style way back in 1872, it’s a lovely setting for drinks or dinner.
The South Terrace at the King Street Townhouse Hotel boasts, unsurprisingly, a south-facing terrace. It’s sheltered by a swish cantilever canopy that just seems to float above you. The stylish steel and glass finish is replicated in the glass panel balustrades that enable uninterrupted views of the clocktower at Manchester Town Hall, and across the rooftops to the iconic Beetham Tower.
With a relaxed and informal feel, this sixth floor venue is a great outdoor setting for summer evening drinks, or perhaps as a stop-off for refreshments during a busy afternoon’s shopping at the nearby Arndale Centre.
The Deansgate Tavern
Deansgate Road is believed to date back to Roman times, and if history and tradition are your thing, you’ll love The Deansgate Tavern. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Deansgate Station and the Manchester Central Convention Centre it’s ideally located and offers home-cooked food and specially selected ales.
The roof terrace is what Deansgate Tavern call their ‘secret garden’. Secluded and cosy, this outside space is protected by a purpose-built bar canopy where you can sit and enjoy a drink and a chat with friends before catching the train home. Check out these pictures on the Tavern’s website here to see why this ‘secret garden’ and its covered pergola are so popular.
Staying on Deansgate, Atlas Bar is nestled away in the railway arches and is definitely one for the gin lovers amongst us! Boasting a host of awards, Atlas Bar offers upwards of 500 different gins. With a south-facing beer garden, this is, indeed, a great place to sit and enjoy a gin and tonic, safe in the knowledge that their retractable awning is on hand to shade or shelter you. The sectional canopy frame means a mixture of shade and sunshine during the height of summer when the evenings are long and the sun is at its hottest.
Atlas Bar’s terrace also features in the Craft Gin club guide as one of the best bars in the UK for alfresco gin and tonic, find out more here.
Scene Indian Street Kitchen
Manchester offers something for everyone, and with food and drinks from across the globe, you’re spoilt for choice. When it comes to combining Indian food with outside dining, Scene Indian Street Kitchen is the place to go.
And for outside eating, the choices just keep coming at this restaurant. Their menu is designed around traditional Indian street food, and by their own description, the restaurant is all about enjoying food alfresco. The abundance of outside space here is, therefore, no accident. With the option of either The Veranda or the Riverside Terrace, you’re sure to find space to sit outside and enjoy great food or drinks. With the River Irwell at the back and a quiet Spinningfields side road at the front, both offering covered outdoor seating, there’s room for everyone. With fixed structure canopies over both spaces, you’ll find sun, shade or shelter wherever you choose to sit in this vibrant restaurant.
Sunset by Australasia
From Indian inspired street food to the beaches of Australasia. If you’re wanting sunshine and outdoor living, a trip to Sunset by Australasia will be just the job. Sunshine and the great outdoors inspire everything that is Sunset. From the food and drinks to the décor, gentle hues of pink greet you everywhere, creating a serene and relaxed atmosphere.
With a chilled-out terrace, providing a sheltered eating and drinking space with fixed awnings, the theme of sunset is all around. The beautiful summer-inspired finishes of the terrace include exotic flower arrangements to complement the food and drink on offer. The pretty terrace with retractable roof panels is reminiscent of a summer garden meaning that you can kick back and relax whatever the weather. Imagine yourself sat there, cocktail in the hand, and allow yourself to be transported to the other side of the world without even leaving Manchester. Find more about their exotic outside space here.
A trip around Manchester would not be complete without a visit to Media City. Hang out at The Botanist for alfresco drinks or dining and soak up the vibrant atmosphere on their terrace. Just sit back and watch the hustle and bustle below of what has now become home to big named media companies like the BBC and ITV.
Shelter is provided under the fixed canopy over-hanging the side of the building, or you can soak up the sun’s rays on the patio area. Sip a cocktail from the extensive range available while you enjoy the views of the Salford Quays. You might even spot a celebrity in Media City Village below! Find more pictures of the lovely covered terrace and patio area here.
So there you have it! Regardless of the time of year, and in spite of the worst that the British weather can throw at us, there are plenty of reasons to explore the options for outdoor drinks and dining in Manchester.