Beer Gardens in Manchester & Salford

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

Lockdown is gradually coming to an end and we’ve got a whole lot of catching up in beer gardens in Manchester to do – safely distanced, naturally. And what better place than the classic outside drinking spaces in the city and its near neighbour Salford? Outdoor drinking and dining is safer than indoor, so it makes sense that we’ll flock to the venues with the best beer gardens and outdoor drinking areas.

Reopening isn’t an option for every pub and bar, sadly, but certain venues either have a quality, spacious beer garden or have hit the location jackpot and discovered an outdoor space that can be repurposed for casual outdoor drinks. The Northern Quarter, in particular, has seen some forward-thinking relaxation of the rules, meaning roads closed off so we can drink outside, often underneath covering to protect us from the ever-present Manchester rain.

Many also come with heat lamps to combat the worst excesses of the unpredictable UK weather, but ideally, we want – nay, demand – the weather to be sunny and warm for as long as possible so we can make the most of outdoor drinking after over a year of social distancing and misery-inducing restrictions. If anyone knows the number of the Greek god in charge of weather, drop him a line.

Things open back up in a small way on April 12th, with further restriction easing in May, then the big day on June 21st, where if all goes well we’ll see an explosion of joy as we should have vaccinated the very worst of Covid away and most all hospitality businesses and venues open back up. If you’re looking for an outside drink this summer (and autumn too) then the pubs listed below come both with a top-quality beer garden and are highly recommended. Here are some of the very best beer gardens in Manchester, along with a few noteworthy entries from Salford.

Here are our picks

  • 1. The Briton’s Protection

    Ben Williams

    The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5LE - Visit now

    Ask anyone who knows anything about Manchester pubs and they’ll soon start waxing lyrical about The Briton’s Protection. It’s one of the oldest pubs in Manchester – if not the oldest pub – and it has a magnificent, sun-trapping outdoor space to sit and enjoy beers and whisky with friends. Highly, highly recommended for all you beer garden connoisseurs.

  • 2. Common Bar

    Common Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
    Ben Williams

    Common Bar, 39-47 Edge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1HW - Visit now

    Alan Partridge might not approve but we’re enormous fans of the pedestrianisation of the Northern Quarter, and Common’s area on Edge Street is one of the district’s very best. It’s quiet enough to avoid the Ibiza strip feel of nearby areas but full of trendsetting 20-30somethings, just like the early days of the NQ.

  • 3. The New Oxford

    The New Oxford

    The New Oxford, 11 Bexley Square, Salford, Manchester, M3 6DB - Visit now

    Bexley Square is at the heart of Salford’s most fast-growing and desirable area and it’s also home to The New Oxford. It’s a classic old-school pub with a vast range of drinks to enjoy on benches outside. Expect cheerful staff, friendly punters and enough open space to enjoy the sun when its out – plus protective umbrellas when it isn’t.

  • 4. The Corner Boy

    The Corner Boy
    The Corner Boy

    The Corner Boy, 21 Hilton St, Manchester, M1 1JJ - Visit now

    One of our favourite finds after lockdown eased last summer, The Corner Boy is a superb place for outdoor drinks in the Northern Quarter. Based at the entrance to Stevenson Square, the cocktail menu is one of the best in the city (the rum cocktail is a must-try), the staff are the friendliest around and the outside seating area is a perfect sun trap.

  • 5. The Eagle Inn

    The Eagle Inn pub in Salford
    Adam Bruderer

    The Eagle Inn, 18-19 Collier Street, Salford, M3 7DW - Visit now

    A great Salford pub, The Eagle Inn has greatly expanded its outside drinking area, both front and back, making it perfect for either popping in for a quick half or settling in for a session with like-minded pals.

  • 6. GRUB Manchester

    GRUB Manchester, 50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M4 4HF - Visit now

    The best venue in the Green Quarter, by some measure, Grub has plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy food and drink on a sunny day, and shelter when it’s wet. If you haven’t been yet, why not?

  • 7. Mr Thomas’s Chop House

    Mr Thomas’s Chop House
    Visit Britain

    Mr Thomas’s Chop House, 52 Cross St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 7AR - Visit now

    Mr Thomas’s Chop House first opened in 1870. Expect beautiful arches, Victorian-era fixtures and fittings, classic British cooking and an excellent wine list. Head around the back and you’ll find a splendid outdoor drinking area, right in the heart of the city centre.

  • 8. The Pilcrow

    The exterior of The Pilcrow
    The Pilcrow.

    The Pilcrow, The Pilcrow, Sadler’s Yard, Hanover Street, NOMA, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 0AB - Visit now

    Now back in action, beer gardens don’t get much better than The Pilcrow Pub’s. Based in Sadler’s Yard in the fast-developing NOMA district of the city, around Victoria Station, this is an elegant space, with a relaxed Scandinavian feel.

     

  • 9. The Bay Horse Tavern

    The Bay Horse Tavern

    The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester, M4 1NA - Visit now

    The Bay Horse is another lucky beneficiary of the wise decision to close various Manchester streets to vehicles, meaning Thomas Street is now peppered with tables and benches, safe for socially-distanced drinking and a great way to catch up with friends.

  • 10. Port Street Beer House

    Port Street Beer House Father's Day
    Ben Williams

    Port Street Beer House, 39-41 Port Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2EQ - Visit now

    Port Street Beer House is open again for drinks, inside and out. But it’s the out that shines: a great sun-splashed beer garden, cosy enough to be friendly but spacious enough to feel safe and relaxed. And let’s not forget the beer. You’ll struggle to find a better choice of ales in Manchester.

  • 11. Terrace NQ

    Terrace

    Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1NA

    High above Thomas Street, Terrace NQ offers a beautiful rooftop beer garden. When the sun is shining, this is easily one of the most pleasing places to sink a pint in the Northern Quarter.

  • 12. Marble Arch Pub

    Ben Williams

    Marble Arch Pub, 73 Rochdale Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 4HY - Visit now

    It’s not the biggest outdoor drinking space in the world, but it’s an exceptionally nice one and the beer here is so good that we’re willing to overlook it.

  • 13. The Beech

    The Beech Inn Chorlton
    BW

    The Beech, 72 Beech Rd, Manchester, M21 9EG

    If you fancy moving out of town, jump on the Metrolink and head to Chorlton. While the residents are often lampooned as the “liberal urban elite”, you cannot argue with the choice of watering holes on offer. Post-lockdown, The Beech is a grand choice if you fancy switching seats to chase the late evening sun.

  • 14. The Kings Arms

    The King's Arms pub in Salford.
    David Dixon

    The Kings Arms, 11 Bloom street, Salford, Greater Manchester, M3 6AN - Visit now

    One of Salford’s finest establishments, with a history that involves a reliably excellent series of live shows and ownership by Paul Heaton, one of the North’s greatest songwriters. They also have a small but perfectly-formed outside drinking area – get there early for a guaranteed seat.

  • 15. The Whiskey Jar

    The Whiskey Jar

    The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2FF - Visit now

    Tariff Street has been closed off to cars and now you can sit outside and enjoy a drink safely, with minimal exhaust fumes. The Whiskey Jar is a great intimate, darkly-lit bar but it’s not ideal during hot sunny days, so sit outside when the weather is balmy.

  • 16. Mary & Archie Chorlton

    Mary & Archie Chorlton

    Mary & Archie Chorlton, 111 Manchester Rd, Manchester, M21 9PG - Visit now

    On the other side of Chorlton, you’ll find Mary & Archie. Here, the outside seating area is small but perfectly formed and soaks up plenty of sun.

  • 17. Flok

    Ian Jones

    Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN - Visit now

    Starting life as a highbrow wine bar, Flok has become more of a catch-all destination lately, welcoming all kinds of drinkers to its space on Stevenson Square. Expect a great selection of drinks, likeable staff and a great outside atmosphere.

  • 18. Duke’s 92

    Duke’s 92, 18 Castle Street
    Castlefield, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4LZ - Visit now

    The Duke’s 92 beer garden is legendary across the city. This canalside bar is well worth a visit, assuming you can get in – its reputation can mean lengthy queues for a table. But it’s well worth it, the outdoor space is one of Manchester’s best and everything is executed safely, without sacrificing the simple pleasure of a summertime drink with friends.

  • 19. The Woodstock Arms

    Courtesy of The Woodstock

    The Woodstock Arms, 139 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester, M20 2DY - Visit now

    The Woodstock is a beautiful, traditional old pub with a wonderful beer garden. If you are over Didsbury way and in search of some post-lockdown outside drinking, you’ll struggle to find much better.