Who doesn't love a rooftop bar? Once reserved for those wanting to enjoy cocktails and canapes, and closely resembled something out of a Bond movie or Sex and the City, rooftop bars have now diversified. There are a range of different bars across Manchester to suit all your alfresco drinking needs; those partial to casual day drinking as well as a tipple under the stars are able to find the perfect spot in Manchester. We're a whole lot more than underground clubs and dingy pubs.
Acting as perfect sun-traps, they're flocked to as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer. There's a perfect rooftop bar for everyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, whilst taking in that beautiful skyline we all know and love! Here are our picks of the best in Manchester, whether you're looking for casual pints with pals or glam weekend cocktails. The choice is yours.
What’s the vibe? Picture chilled pints with friends, decking and simple furniture; it’s the balcony your flat doesn’t have! Clue is in the name here, Terrace has an actual Terrace, perfect for summer day drinking. There isn’t a view, but it’s a tucked away spot that provides privacy from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the Northern Quarter.
Price range: Around £5 a pint – standard Northern Quarter prices.
What’s the vibe? Located inside an old auction house on Charles Street, YES is a basement club, street food kitchen, gig venue and most importantly, has a roof terrace perfect for drinks in the summer. The roof terrace is spruced up with potted and hanging plants, it’s a house plant lover’s dream!
Price range: The roof terrace bar specialises in vermouth, there’s a dedicated vermouth and tonic list, along with Negroni and Old Fashioneds on tap! And pints start from £2.90, what a bargain.
What’s the vibe? Situated next to Manchester Academy, Big Hands has been a staple venue for pre and post gig drinks for as long as we can remember. There’s a jukebox in the bar downstairs and a beautiful little beer garden upstairs that offers calm away from the storm of Magic Buses on Oxford Road. It’s the perfect casual spot to hang out with some pals.
Price range: Cheap as chips, there are plenty of guest ales and cans of Red Stripe on offer!
What’s the vibe? Sitting pride of place on top of No. 1 Spinningfields, 20 Stories rapidly made its way to be the most Instagrammable rooftop bar in Manchester. The beautiful space has actual trees, outdoor fireplaces and lots of seating to take in the 360- degree views of the Manchester skyline with a cocktail in hand! It's absolutely stunning!
Price range: This is a classy place, and worth every penny. It’s the perfect spot to get dressed up and enjoy a classic cocktail or a glass of champagne. Cocktails are around £11-12 a pop, definitely worth it for the spectacular views.
What’s the vibe? A tapas restaurant that not only delivers an authentic taste of Spain, but successfully provides a true Spanish experience. There’s a retracting roof, enabling you to be transported to the land of Paella in a flash. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a spot of tapas and Spanish wine when the sun is out. It’s a holiday without leaving the city.
Price range: Grab a Sangria for £9.50, cocktail for £9 or bottle of red wine for £23. Much cheaper than the airfare!
What’s the vibe? A landmark Manchester restaurant on John Dalton Street known for its fine food, fabulous cocktails and city centre energy. The alfresco terrace and bar is open all year round and is the perfect spot to soak up the view, and the rays in the summer. It's a well loved spot by Mancunian's everywhere!
Price range: Gin and Tonics are around £8.50, cocktails £9 and wine for as low as £19.75. All very well priced!
What’s the vibe? Runaway Brewery have created a rooftop craft beer taproom above Honest Burgers. Sound like a match made in heaven? We can assure you it is! Although small, the rooftop is perfectly formed and acts as the perfect sun trap that will be amazing in the summer (whenever that will be). After opening in April, it's already extremely popular. There's even 30% off for students!
Price range: Craft beers are around £5/£6, and they’re delicious. Try the Honest Pale, it has been brewed especially for the collaboration.
What’s the vibe? A landmark Manchester restaurant in the heart of Spinningfields, The Ivy plays home to an impressive roof garden. With a retractable glass roof, the Roof Garden is open all year round so you can dine under the sun, stars or rain seven days a week. Guests can enjoy food and cocktails amongst an abundance of florals, foliage and colourful fabrics, all creating an enchanting and weather proof garden oasis in the heart of Manchester.
Price range: Splash the cash! Around £12 a cocktail but totally worth it.