With England in al fresco mode, we don’t have the luxury of dark spots and plush sofas for a drink or three. That’s fine by us – Manchester’s rammed with amazing pubs, bars and beer gardens, some of which have sprung in the wake of lockdown #3 and might just stick around.
You’ll find the cream of the boozy crop below. Grab a friend, jacket and a taxi – the city’s outdoor drinking sensations are waiting for a catch up…
The Oast House
Spinningfields’ classic haunt for starting the night right (i.e. a martini beside a dog wearing glasses) is roaring to life again. Fruit beers, cocktails and more mingle on the vast rows of benches, topped with a famous tipi.
For years, Terrace NQ – tucked on Thomas Street – has held one of the city’s ultimate sun traps. Now that we’re back in action, expect their roof area to be rammed when the sun’s out. However, owners have set up a ‘side garden’ still linked to their super-fast wi-fi, taking pizza orders on top of their beer pitchers.
Canalside wine is one of life’s most potent pleasures. At Duke’s 92, you can sip contentedly beneath giant parasols, looking out at the water and the people who mill around the lock gates. The bar’s cushioned benches keep us coming back for the good kind of sinking feeling.
If you haven’t tasted a BrewDog yet, please rectify this with a cold pint at the brewer’s bar on Peter Street. Their menu is something to behold: 6.5% IPAs, blood orange beer and barley wine, stirred with the creativity that’s helped the brand go global.
We can’t just pick one establishment from Manchester’s rainbow neighbourhood – so rock up and see what grabs you! On Bar, Via, Oscars and Bar Pop have their own table setups which basically meld into one another, a long outdoor strip with the odd drag queen on waitressing duty.
A Northern Quarter staple, Common has launched a zero-reservation seating space on Edge Street from 1PM every day. Two signature beers – Common Pale and Common Lager – sit within a revolving craft menu. Try their Turtle Bay Sauvignon for a passionfruit/gooseberry wine.
Cocktails at the Alchemist are more like laboratory experiments than a quick chaser. We wouldn’t have it any other way, to be honest. Whether you’re into smoking Bubblebaths and Cherry Poppins or the skull-piercing blast of two-for-one Mad Hatters (citrus, vodka, St. Germain and summer fruits), they’ve made drinking a true event on New York Street.
“Meticulous detail in every drink.” That’s the Mecania pitch, and it aptly speaks to their 250+ cocktails featuring favourites and new flavours. We recommend the Key Lime Ramos, inspired by key lime pie with crème, vodka and tonka bean.
The Jane Eyre
One of Ancoats’ renaissance venues, this bar and kitchen knows how to pour a sizeable glass of world wine with your scallops. Elsewhere on the beers list, you can go for dark stout, IPA or the tart sting of Squawk Cursor Raspberry Sour. They’re a Sunday hangout as well, if you want to wash down a roast dinner.
We couldn’t leave this off the cards, simply because an evening at 20 Stories can revive a love of posh bars that court all types of people loosening their ties and cufflinks. The iconic terrace is open for bookings again. With ivy, sunsets and songbird sculptures, it’s easy to swoon as the view, never mind the gin in your glass.
Manchester watering holes keep doing great things around the corner from our city centre homes. Which have we missed? Let us know where you like to visit – or better yet, contact us to live amongst it all, toasting the big names and independents that drop genius into a bottle.