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A drink with a view: five Manchester rooftop bars offering stunning city views

Written by
Emma Campbell

Forget basement bars - why not enjoy the views Manchester has to offer the next time you sip cocktails on a Saturday night? More and more bars in Manchester are now coming complete with an al-fresco terrace or floor to ceiling windows, showcasing amazing views of what the city has to offer.

There are more landmarks to the city than you may think, from the iconic Beetham Tower, the waterfront destination of MediaCity, and the urban skyline of northern Manchester, with the bright lights surrounding the Etihad Stadium. From some pretty spots, you can even take a glimpse at the Pennines. So there may not be a world class attraction in sight such as the Brooklyn Bridge or The Opera House, but Manchester can sure look wonderful at night too, and here are some rooftop bars to enjoy the views.

Manchester House

Manchester House lounge

A very classy affair for a weekend evening, offering the finest of cocktails and wines on the 12th floor venue overlooking Spinningfields. The interior is impressive in itself, so you might be tempted to stay inside and admire the plush cream chairs and lamps, plus the array of spirit and liqueur bottles all lined up in glass casing along the walls. However, the terrace is a sophisticated area worth taking your Espresso Martini out onto. The seating areas are quite generous, where groups can gather and sit under heaters in the winter. Manchester House faces out onto the business district of Manchester and the Courts and offers more built up industry views of the city.

Hilton DoubleTree SkyLounge

The SkyLounge at the Doubletree Hilton is more of a private Penthouse set-up, with a small bar area cased in floor to ceiling windows, leading out onto a lovely rooftop terrace bar. Decorated with deep purple seating and large lit fires, it's the perfect place to admire views of Piccadilly and northern Manchester in a cosy atmosphere. This terrace has a secret feel, like you are set away from the best of the crowded bars in the city, and can admire the views under the stars in peace. 

Club Brass at Hotel Gotham

Hotel Gotham Club Brass

A luxury bar on the top floor of Hotel Gotham, Club Brass is a seventh floor rooftop bar boasting views of the city from the prestigious King Street area of Manchester. Nestled in the middle of the old banking heritage with grand, art deco style buildings, this exclusive terrace has a slight cheeky twist - it is a private members club. Worth enquiring to have a visit, as this place is described as the 'sexiest hotel in Europe' - so what better place to enjoy a rooftop bottle of fizz? If you have the money to spend, this could be the ideal location for a special occasion.

Great John Street Hotel

Great John Street rooftop garden playground

Named the Rooftop Garden Playground, which makes it sound very appealing for the summer, this venue allows drinkers to overlook views of the city from the Deansgate end, and branching out into Salford Quays and MediaCity (depending where you are stood.) There is an array of sleek and stylish seating areas to relax and enjoy the outdoor atmosphere of this boutique hotel, or you can up it a notch by booking the VIP area - giving you your own bit of terrace with a hot tub and stunning views which is ideal for a private party. 

Cloud 23

Cloud 23 Manchester

Last but not least, and one which doesn't actually offer a rooftop but is seen as the ultimate place for city views, is Cloud 23 at the Hilton Deansgate. This venue beats the rest due to it's offering of breathtaking panoramic views and little glass floor area, meaning you get to look down from the 23rd floor at the busy road underneath, or circulate the bar to experience the city from various different angles. From one angle you can explore the Pennines and countryside, from another it's Castlefield going into The Quays and MediaCity. The drinks menu is extensive as well as a lovely food menu offering afternoon tea. But let's be honest - the views are the main reason people come here. 

See Time Out's guide to Manchester's best cocktail bars.

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