Despite being a city known for its rain, Manchester does boast occasional good weather. It also, more convincingly, boasts plenty of great food and drinks spots to cater for all budgets. So, when the going’s good, where do Mancunians head to enjoy the city al fresco eating and drinking?
For more places to enjoy the sunshine, take a look at our guide to the best beer gardens in Manchester.
Here are our picks
20 Stories, No. 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester, M3 3EB - Visit now
The new kid on the terrace bar block is 20 Stories – Aiden Byrne’s restaurant and bar at No 1 Spinningfields. A large proportion of this sky-high venue is dedicated to its outdoor terrace, which offers panoramic views of the city from an enviable 19th-storey setting. With an expansive cocktail menu, plus over 20 gin options and a cigar menu, it’s perfect for that special occasion.
El Gato Negro Tapas, 52 King Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 4LY - Visit now
While its main restaurant offers some of the best tapas in Manchester, El Gato Negro’s second floor is the place to be on sunny days. With a retractable roof, this King Street spot offers an extensive cocktail menu, as well as an impressive Spanish wine and sherry list. You can also order the likes of mini Catalan chorizo with Aspall cider, jamon Iberico croquetas and chacuterie boards – to help soak up the alcohol while soaking up the sun.
Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1NA
The clue’s in the name for this Thomas Street staple. Rise up above the dimly lit, elongated bar for one of most airy terraces in the Northern Quarter. Forewarning though: as soon as the sun is out, it’s standing room only.
Black Dog Ballroom NWS, New Wakefield Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5NP - Visit now
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 fancy 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.
Big Hands, 296 Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9NS
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.
Épernay, Great Northern Tower, Unit 1A, Watson Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4EE - Visit now
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.
The Deansgate Tavern, 321 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4LQ - Visit now
Often in the shadows of neighbouring Beetham Tower, this traditional pub can – at certain times of day – be the ideal place to soak up some rays while enjoying a real ale or pinot. You’ll find its roof terrace hidden away on the tavern’s top floor.
Great John Street Hotel, Great John Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M33 4FD - Visit now
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.
King Street Townhouse Hotel, 10 Booth Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 4AW - Visit now
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.