Despite our best efforts to pretend otherwise, the fact is that Manchester is a rather rainy city. Sales of suede shoes are probably at their lowest in the country. And yet, in the summer, the city does occasionally start to heat up. So begins the hunt for the perfect beer garden, the ideal wine bar and, best of all, a roof terrace on which to kick back with a mojito (or whatever’s your poison). Which brings us, neatly, to this guide.
Here are our picks
One of Manchester’s most beloved roof tops can be found at Black Dog Ballroom, the New York inspired speakeasy and eatery best known for its upmarket fast food, cocktails and pool tables. Take a peek upstairs and you’ll find a light, airy space, with atmospheric fairy lights and squashy sofas dotted alongside a BBQ area in the corner. Big screens at either end can usually be found showing the football, or films. Best of all, most of the terrace is part-covered – creating a warm greenhouse effect and the possibility of staying dry sipping a cocktail in the rain.
You’ll probably spot Big Hands’ roof terrace a few minutes before arrival, with a huge advertising billboard on its back wall, and tall leafy plants camouflaging the seating area. This is shabby chic at its finest – white plastic seating with eclectic plant pots at every step. Sit in the wrong seat and you may find yourself enjoying one of a selection of craft beers from the bar downstairs whilst overlooking a car park, and yet there’s something unassuming and laid-back about this roof terrace which means you’ll always feel at home.
Technically more of a balcony than a roof terrace, champagne bar Épernay is a sophisticated affair, with candles in wine bottles creating a romantic, almost Parisian, atmosphere. The balcony is a great spot for people watching, overlooking the comings and goings from the Great Northern Warehouse. Definitely one of the pricier options, this is a perfect weekend date night, or when treating yourself.
A converted Victorian school house nestled on the edge of Spinningfields, the Great John Street Hotel has perhaps the biggest terrace in Manchester, with its Roof Garden Playground offering one of the best views across the city. The atmosphere is relaxed and decadent, with large lanterns littering the floor and clusters of cocoon shaped wicker seats. Book ahead where possible, as weddings and parties take over during summer weekends.
Despite an already healthy roster of roof gardens in Manchester, there are still more to come. Boasting Manchester’s first rooftop infinity pool, the King Street Townhouse Hotel offers visitors panoramic views across the city.