Summer – we’ve got it covered when it comes to drinking, with our guides to Manchester’s best rooftop bars, its wonderful beer gardens and plentiful wine bars. But what about when it’s your stomach that’s after the attention? Well, despite being a famously rainy city, the restaurants and cafés in Manchester have still managed to sneak a fair few tables and chairs outside. Risk the weather – here are the best places for outdoor dining.
Here are our picks
Facing onto the relatively quiet surrounds of Stevenson Square, Rosylee Tea Rooms boasts a good few tables hemmed in by planters on the wide pavement outside. Serving everything from breakfast through to Inka skewers, sandwiches, ‘comfort food’ and afternoon tea, you’re pretty culinarily covered here. It’s also a good place to enjoy a sip of something.
A few wooden tables are clustered in a sun spot at the front of the Manchester Craft and Design Centre – order from the Oak Street Café inside and you can sit beneath a glass awning (handy for when the weather is warm, but drizzly) and enjoy homemade soups, salads, quiches, stews and tarts surrounded by hanging baskets and pot plants. The cake is moreish, too.
Over in the new foodie mecca of Spinningfields (surrounded by the likes of Iberica, The Alchemist and Thaikun) is a 16th century hop kiln – otherwise known as The Oast House pub. Transported brick for brick from Kent, it’s a pretty unusual structure to be stuck in the middle of a city, made all the more so by the massive tepee outside. It does, however, have plentiful outdoor seating, and a good, if not terribly inspiring, menu to be enjoyed.
Bag yourself one of Proper Tea’s outdoor tables and you’ll be right across the way from the magnificence of Manchester Cathedral. A relation of Teacup in the Northern Quarter, this elegant little café serves up the same carefully presented teas (you’ll often be passed a timer to regulate the brewing with) and cakes, alongside toasted sandwiches, soups and salads. They also serve afternoon tea and alcohol – what’s not to like?
Slice does one thing, and does it well – order a big, flat rectangles of pizza from the counter inside and they’ll pop it in the oven for you until it’s warm and salty and moreish. Served up on a wooden board with a handful of salad, pizza (with a range of well-chosen toppings) is a wonderful thing to enjoy outside; lounge around Slice’s outdoor tables, facing out onto Stevenson Square, and you can almost imagine you’re in Italy.