Pubs: remember them? Those places where we’d exchange money for drinks surrounded by chatter and music. If you’re missing the feeling of clasping your hand round a freshly-poured, ice-cold pint surrounded by your mates in your favourite Manchester boozer, the wait is over. Manchester's drinking establishments have thrown open their doors and, just in time for summer, alfresco drinking is part of the new normal.
Bear in mind that things might look a little different when you return to your local pub garden. In most instances, you’ll have to book in advance and table service or ordering via an app may be in place. But the safest way to socialise these days is outdoors in the fresh air, which makes the beer garden our saviour for the summer months ahead.
So, from sunny canalside terraces to the platform of a heritage railway station, we’ve rounded up Manchester’s best beer gardens. Bottoms up!
It’s a far cry from the glass-fronted skyscrapers dominating Spinningfields and the Oast House’s outdoor area has ample seating where you can sample one of their hanging kebabs or wide range of craft beer.
It’s one of Manchester’s most beautiful pubs with its unique tiling, sloping floors and cosy atmosphere. But if you find the Victorian décor a bit overpowering for a warm day it also has an enclosed yard out the back with tables and chairs.
Blackjack will be back this spring with its excellent selection of beer and lip-smacking food provided by street food traders. From late April their beer garden will be open for alfresco bevvies, and because British spring and summertime is always delightfully unpredictable, their outdoor area is covered.
Located on the banks of the Rochdale Canal, this waterside pub makes the most of its outdoor space. With a two-level patio and a grassy bank next to the canal, it’s a popular place for a post-work beer in the summer months.
If you prefer to relax in the sun with a G&T rather than a beer, Atlas Bar is the ideal spot for you. Located within the old railway arches on Deansgate, its enclosed beer garden is the perfect place to sample one of their extensive range of gins.
In the summer months, MediaCity’s pub throws open the doors of its sister space DockBar – a converted shipping container located on the grass outside the bar. Grab a deckchair or just a spot on the grass and make the most of the Salford sun.
Not a beer garden in the traditional sense; Trackside offers outdoor seating on the platform of the heritage railway at Bury Bolton Street station. It has a unique atmosphere, especially on the days it is visited by steam trains, and they’re currently in the process of adding a canopy so the outdoor area can be enjoyed when the weather is less than glorious.
You can’t mention outdoor drinking spaces in Manchester without bringing up the two pubs at The Shambles. Moved from their original locations in the 1970s, The Old Wellington and Sinclair’s Oyster Bar share one of the largest beer gardens in the city. But, thanks to their central location and proximity to areas such as the Printworks, they get extremely busy at the first hint of warm weather. So look lively if you want an alfresco drink in this iconic setting.