Top Beer Gardens and Terraces in Manchester

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Priscilla Du Preez

OK so it’s not the sunniest spot in the UK, but Mancunians are well accustomed to just crackin’ on with their plans, whatever the weather. We tend to hunker down in the pub during the winter months but unashamedly get those shorts and sunnies on as soon as the sun makes an appearance. It’s no surprise that as the summer months roll out, Manchester’s outside spaces, beer and wine gardens fill up and there's a real buzz about town. There are some great spaces to discover across the city nestled in between old mills, new skyscrapers, at the side of canals and on top of office blocks. Here are’s low-down on where to head to on a sunny day. But we recommend you take your umbrella, just in case!

20 Stories

Terrace with sofas, chairs and umbrellas with large glass windows
20 Stories

No 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB

20 Stories is an iconic restaurant and bar in the heart of Spinningfields and many people head to it to soak up some of the best views of the city.   The central bar serves up a great mix of cocktails , and the terrace changes its look regularly depending on which alcohol brand’s sponsoring it.  20 Stories has got an Ibiza and New York vibe all wrapped-up together and is one of the places to be seen in the city.

Alternatively, whizz up the 20 Stories escalator and indulge in some lunch and a glass of fizz.  The restaurant serves up seasonal dishes and Executive chef, Daniel Scott, has created a small plates menu for the terrace.  The lunch set menu is an affordable alternative at £27.50 for 2 courses and £32.50 for 3 courses.

You can book a table here

Dakota Bar & Grill

Dakota Bar & Grill

29 Ducie Street, Manchester, M1 2JL

The Manchester Bar and Grill is located in the centrally located Dakota Hotel on Ducie Street.   It’s a cool hotel and most people are unaware of Dakota’s roof terrace which is in-keeping with the rest of the hotel - with its white tables, comfy cushioned banquettes and draping plants to frame the edges. Dakota’s alfresco dining is meticulously curated of small plates or brunch offerings including king prawn curry, salt and pepper squid and shortrib mac & cheese. There’s also the option to indulge in 30grams of Exmoor Beluga Caviar if you’re in the mood – of course! The cocktail list is creative and we liked the nod to the city in a Taste of Honey mixing Dakota Manchester Gin, Cocchi Di Torino

Campari, Beesou and Hone.  Dakota’s a great place to savour summery cocktails with friends and enjoy some laid back glamour.

Worth noting that the heated terraces have a retractable roof to protect from any of the inevitable showers,

You can book a table here

Escape to Freight Island

Escape to Freight Island

11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ

This cool open-air venue in the centre of Manchester is a summer haven with its large outside eating and drinking area, tables and oversized beanbags to sink into. It’s not hard to see why this place has become so popular since it opened.    The Depot has an assortment of eateries where you can sample anything from Indian street food, pies, pizza, slow cooked beef and a ton more. They also do a mean roast from the Seconds Sunday Roast Carvery which is worth noting if you’re there on a sunny Sunday.   There’s live music and DJs most weekends and plenty of bars to keep you topped up during your visit.

To check out what’s on and what to eat, click here

The Ivy Manchester

Ivy roof Garden

The Ivy Spinningfields Manchester, Byrom Street, Manchester M3 3HG, UK

The Ivy Manchester opened to much fanfare 3 years ago and it’s now tricky to get a table. But we think the two-story building in the heart of Spinningfields is worth the effort. It’s got a lively atmosphere and a great place to get dressed-up and get noticed; so get your heals and red lippy at the ready! Needless to say, it’s also a good spot for a cocktail on top of the Ivy Roof Garden.  The Ivy’s mixologists serve up Seasonal Classics such as The Ivy Martini, Honey Bee Margarita and a rather special Rose & Rhubarb Negroni.  There are three restaurants to choose from at Ivy Manchester including:  The Ivy Asia; The Brasserie or The Ivy Roof Garden – depending on how you’re feeling and which choice of outfit you’ve plumped for.   We strongly recommend you keep an eye on the weather forecast and book well in advance for the Roof Garden to avoid disappointment.

You can book a table here

El Gato Negro Tapas

Outside roof terrace with deep red sofas, wooden bar and tables
El Gato

52 King St, Manchester M2 4LY

El Gato Negro is one of the best, if not the best, tapas restaurants in the heart of Manchester.  It’s wonderful Spanish interior immediately transports you another place and the roof top bar on a balmy day is one of the best rooftop spaces in the city. Chef Simon Shaw and his team use what’s fresh and in season to serve up modern and traditional Spanish dishes such as: crispy baby squid with lemon alioli, traditional tortilla and harissa spiced chicken thighs. There’s crisp Cava, a jug of Sangria, chilled sherry, Estrella or red wine to while away a Saturday afternoon and into evening. Between

Monday to Friday between 12pm-5pm you can eat 3 dishes for £18 which, when you’re sharing, isn’t going to break the bank at £9 each.  

You can book a table here


Kampus Manchester

Aytoun St, Manchester M1 3GL

Kampus is a brand new residential complex in the heart of Manchester which is proving hugely popular and attracting a lively crowd to its bars and restaurants. It has some great outside spaces as the warmer weather arrives, especially if you live in the city or decide to pop in after work. Central to the myriad of apartment block is a luscious tropical garden complete with tables and chairs peppered throughout. There’s also canal side dining – try Nell’s delicious pizzas and focaccia-based snacks – which is an ideal spot for catching some late evening rays.  Get your Chinese fix in Yum Cha which serves great dim sum, roast meats and deep fried small plates in bamboo steamers.

Hankering for an early morning croissant? Kampus’ on-site bakery, Pollen, serves delicious treats throughout the day to satisfy cravings of all kinds.  

There’s always an event running at Kampus and you can keep up to date with it here

Dukes 92

Dukes 92

18 - 25 Castle St, Manchester M3 4LZ

Dukes 92 was one of the original and best outside spaces in Manchester. And we think it still is today. Tucked away in Castlefield by the side of the canal, the large terraced bar is in an enviable position when the sun comes out.  It boasts a large number of tables and chairs and we recommend you get there early to grab one as its first come, first served. People keep coming back to Dukes because they serve up good food and drinks. There are some nice sharing platters including – crispy beef lettuce cups, truffle and parmesan crispy potatoes and Popeye Nachos with minced beef and nduja oil. Plus, all the usual burgers, salads and pizzas. There’s the usual drinks line-up and some summery cocktails to sip on in the sun.  We like the sound of their summer cocktail list including - New Amaretto Blush Melonberry Gin Peach Spritz Manga, Chilli Margarita Cucumber and Mint Margarita for those hot days.

You can book a table here

The Lawn Club

Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3HG

The Lawn Club is what it says on the tin – a large lawned area (well, fake grass) and a terrace right in the heart of trendy Spinningfields.  It’s usually packed and so we recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.  There’s a whole host of events running during the season which you can check out here and also keep an eye on their deals which currently include – Chicken Wings Wednesday for just £10pp in a variety of flavours; Cocktail club with 2 cocktails for £12 running Sunday to Thursday; and Lunch for a Tenner Monday to Friday.  On fine Sunday’s, enjoy acoustic music and ‘banging’ roasts with all the trimmings, on the terrace.

It's a great party venue and you can make an enquiry here.

You can make a table booking here  



8th Floor, Blackfriars House St Marys, Climat, Parsonage, Manchester M3 2JA

Climat is a brand new rooftop restaurant in Manchester offering incredible views of Manchester.  It pitches itself as a wine-led restaurant driven by the team behind Covino based in Chester which has forged a reputation both regionally & nationally as a fiercely passionate wine-led restaurant with exciting changing menus.  As the name ‘Climat’ suggests, the glass fronted wine cellar houses over 2,500 bottles of wines with a slight lean towards Burgundy.  The menu is Parisian inspired, simple and exudes quality and experience.  We enjoyed the monkfish tail, fennel, paprika & mussel velouté,

beef keema tartare & poppadom, and tiramichoux, pear & jerusalem artichoke for dessert.  Whilst you soak up the views from Climat’s outdoor terrace, it’s worth knowing that the diverse range of plants are ‘bee-friendly’ and intended to feed the bees housed in the hives on the rooftop. Not only will there be a hive of activity during your visit, but you’ll also spot the honey is being used in the cooking. Neat!

You can book table here