Whether we got this trend from our European cousins, or from the recent global pandemic forcing people outside – it doesn’t really matter – outdoor drinking and dining is here to stay.
Recent years have seen an influx in covered, heated outdoor spaces – spurred on with COVID-related restrictions but also the simple fact you can easily make some truly great terraces and beer gardens with a few planks of wood, some fairy lights and a couple of heaters.
Here’s our favourites in the city and beyond.
The Refuge Winter Garden & Terrace
The Refuge’s legendary Winter Garden is of course the perfect place to enjoy some cocktails over the colder months, and you won’t even need to venture outdoors. The inclusion of the stunning tree, and the surround conservatory manages to whisk you away into a sort-of Narnia wonderland just without any Turkish Delight or evil witches. There’s also their gorgeous new outdoor terrace too – which is fully heated and plays host to a variety of events and street food vendors throughout the year.
The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
The Black Friar
On the corner of two of Salford’s busiest roads sits The Black Friar, an idyllic gastropub serving an exquisite menu of food dishes; a menu that will make you go ‘WOW’. They’ve recently started cooking some seriously mean pies here, with a daily changing and rotating menu of pastry pleasures – perfect to enjoy next to their proper log fire with a pint of ice cold Leffe. Or you can go outside onto their heated igloo terrace and really get into the winter, cosy vibes.
The Black Friar, 41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Salford M3 7DB
Everyone goes crazy over YES – primarily because of its perfect mix of live music, street food, cheap beer and of course THAT rooftop terrace. Resembling something you’d find in the deepest, darkest parts of hipster Brooklyn, the rooftop terrace of YES is the perfect winter hideout, with half under cover, and the other half jam packed full of scorching heaters. Perfect.
YES, 38 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB
Escape to Freight Island
One of the very best venues in the city, perhaps even the world, to enjoy some street food and cocktails, alongside a carefully curated and exciting live music and calendar of performances – Freight Island is hard to beat. The entire place is full heated, meaning you won’t feel a single shiver whilst enjoying your Baratxuri pinxtos and Jane Eyre cocktails.
Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ
The Old Abbey Tap House
Probably the best terrace that you’ve not heard of – the Old Abbey Tap House have a cracking outside area that can get rather rowdy on the weekends and in the evenings. You’ll find plenty of cover, heaters, DJs, pizza and loads of craic. Once you’re here it’s hard to leave – especially when the shots come out.
The Old Abbey Taphouse, Guildhall Cl, Manchester M15 6SY
Alongside RAMONA’s amazing food offerings, including those truffle potatoes and some seriously good Detroit pizzas, it’s only really acceptable to enjoy copious cocktails with your food in the fully heated tepee or terraces, and with a brand-new music programme every week this Winter – you’re all set.
RAMONA, 40 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JG
You’re a little spoilt for choice when it comes to beer gardens and terraces in Chorlton, and the patio at Double Zero is a clear favourite of ours. It’s covered, it’s cosy, it’s heated and there’s loads of little fairy lights – creating the perfect atmosphere in which to enjoy your fresh wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, alongside your very own BYOB bottle. Or bottles.
Double Zero Neapolitan Pizza, 368 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 8AZ
Slap bang in the centre of Altrincham, Blanchflower is easily one of, if not the very best places for breakfast, brunch and coffee in Manchester, and, even better – there’s plenty of seating outside in which to enjoy your exceptional Eggs Benny. Everything is made in-house from scratch – and it just exudes class. It gets busy on a weekend – but it’s well worth any waiting you need to do.
Blanchflower, 12-14 Shaw’s Rd, Altrincham WA14 1QU
Bar San Juan
Certainly, one of the best restaurants in Manchester, and easily the best tapas place, Bar San Juan has gained an impressive reputation over the years – with one of its most attractive traits being just how laid back and relaxed it is. There’s nothing better than sitting outside here with a couple of jugs of sangria and plate after plate of outstanding tapas. Heaven.
Bar San Juan, 56 Beech Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9EG
The Ramsbottom favourites have been causing serious tremors in the Manchester restaurant scene over the last few years and once you sit down and try their dishes – you’ll see why. If you’re in Rammy you’ll see that you can now enjoy their delights outside, in their proper nice garden terrace. Just look at that board above and tell me you’re not salivating at the choice.
Levanter Fine Foods, Levanter 10, Square St, Ramsbottom BL0 9AT
Having the highest terrace in the city and the most sought-after view going, it would be criminal for 20 Stories not to keep their outdoor space open over the winter and as such they’ll have the roaring fire pits stoked throughout the cold, dark months to keep us drinking their cocktails and eating their food. There’s no denying the views are spectacular but they’ll be a whole lot better on a crisp, cold winter evening, wrapped up and enjoying a few dishes from their new food menu.
20 Stories, 1, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
A brand-new addition to the streets of Stretford, Bakehouse 32 serve up delicious New York style pizza, loaded bagels, and some dead good cocktails too. Head round the back and you’ll be greeted with an excellent, covered and heated terrace – one where you can enjoy their huge cheese-topped pizzas and watch the world go by.
Bakehouse 32, 1116 Chester Rd, Stretford, Manchester M32 0HA
The Briton’s Protection
A proper boozer which specialises in whiskey, The Briton’s Protection serve over 300 different types of the stuff, from bottles that you’d find in a homeless fella’s hand right up to really expensive tipples that even Richard Branson would think twice about buying. Head round the back too and you’ll find a brilliant little courtyard which is always lively and super cosy.
The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE
The Oast House
With one of the city’s biggest and most impressive terraces, it would be criminal if The Oast House just left it to the elements over winter, so, naturally – they erect a couple of huge, heated terraces for your eating and drinking pleasure. Why not enjoy one of their legendary ‘Hanging Kebabs’ in the cosy tepee – and don’t forget the cocktails!
The Oast House, The Avenue Courtyard, Manchester M3 3AY
The Ivy Manchester
One of Manchester’s ultimate winter destinations, The Ivy Spinningfields features a colossal rooftop terrace adorned with fire pits, lush foliage and loads of heating. It straddles the line between being inside and outside – and there’s no way you’ll get cold in here, even if there’s a storm belting about outside, you’ll be nice and toasty and, even better, perfectly placed to ride it out with cocktails.
The Ivy Spinningfields, The Pavilion, Byrom St, Manchester M3 3HG
The Con Club
Con Club recently unveiled a transformed, heated winter rooftop terrace, and it’s managed to become the go-to destination in Altrincham for those looking for some great dishes, and strong cocktails surrounded by brand-new heaters, thick blankets and glittering lights. The terrace out front is a fantastic winter destination also, and can get very busy on the weekends.
The Con Club, 48 Greenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1RZ
The Marble Arch
The original home of the Marble Brewery and home to some incredibly good food is The Marble Arch. The inside of this cosy boozer is notoriously stunning – plastered in Victorian tiles and featuring a show-stopping floor. They’ve also introduced a set of fully covered and heated sheds outside in the beer garden – perfect for these winter months.
The Marble Arch, 73 Rochdale Rd, Manchester M4 4HY
The (award-winning) concrete monstrosity that is the Mancunian Way provides the perfect covering for the many delights, sounds, tastes and textures of Hatch – which is now one the city’s driest and warmest outdoor venues. Perfect for a cosy dinner and drinks, Hatch offers up a dazzling array of food options, from 100% vegan, Brazilian, wings, and, my personal favourite – the delightful Neapolitan pies at I Knead Pizza.
Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
They spent about £1m doing up their terrace at Dakota, money that has definitely paid for itself in spades – it looks absolutely stunning. Covered, heated and actually really rather pretty – there are few better places to go in the city for some cocktails and to enjoy something from Dakota Grill’s extensive menu of dishes.
Dakota, 29 Ducie St, Manchester M1 2JL
Nothing warms you up more than a big, hot, spicy curry and so getting your face wrapped around a big Lamb Nihari down at Zouk is the perfect remedy for a cold, dark winter day. Add to this an extensive outside terrace, which is heated, and you’ve got yourself one of the city’s best winter garden experiences – one you can even enhance with a bit of shisha – if that’s your thing.
Zouk, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester St, Manchester M1 5QS
Porta Wine & Tapas Bar
Porta’s Salford venue, over on Chapel Street, has a huge terrace outside – which gets very popular indeed – and it’s not hard to see why. A bunch of tapas out here on the terrace of Porta should certainly be on your ‘to-do’ list this winter – an exceptional Spanish food and drink experience that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.
Porta Wine & Tapas Bar, 216 Chapel St, Salford M3 6BY
The Church Inn
If you happen to find yourself in Mobberley, then you just have to visit The Church Inn. In fact, it’s so good here that most people are only actually in Mobberley to go here. The pub itself is a quintessentially British boozer – with all wood beams, open fires and slightly damp border collies. Outside is a brilliant beer garden too – one which you can tuck into their exceptionally well-done pub grub alongside a few pints of local ales.
The Church Inn, Church Ln, Mobberley, Knutsford WA16 7RD
Terrace has been a staple of the Northern Quarter nightlife scene for years now, and come the terrible weather, its beer garden is a divine retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city centre living. The bar offers a great list of cocktails and beer from around the world, as well as a menu full of wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and Sunday roasts, all of which can be enjoyed in the comfort of its heated terrace.
Terrace, 43 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA