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City Guides

The best restaurants in Manchester for an extra special date night

The absolute best dining experiences you’ll find in and around the city.

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Photo: Finest Media

Ranging from no-fuss casual to fine dining Michelin Star cuisine, we’ve compiled this list based on what we reckon are the best spots you’re going to find in our fine city for an extra special date night.

Mana

Of course we have to start with the restaurant that gave Manchester it’s first Michelin Star in over 40 years. Everything on the menu is sourced from our rainy shores and all is prepared and delivered through an open kitchen. Gastronomic delights include dishes like wild trout roe, oysters poached in chicken fat, monkfish liver and a caviar and sea urchin chawanmushi.

Where The Light Gets In

Based in an unassuming loft space that was once an old coffee warehouse in Stockport Old Town, these guys don’t have a fixed food offering, but instead their guests are invited to experience their ever-evolving  menu which changes day to day – all results in how we respond to changes in the weather and conditions at sea.

Wolf At The Door

Spread over 3 floors this relaxed Northern Quarter spot takes a laid back approach to fine dining and delivers it at a cost that won’t break the bank either. The basement space houses their ‘Innovation Room’ right next to their kitchen where you’ll find chefs and bartenders exploring flavours and techniques alongside their guests.

Tattu

Taking a contemporary approach to Chinese cuisine with western flavours and techniques sprinkled in for good measure, Tattu has been Spinningfields’ best spot to dine by miles ever since they opened their doors back in 2015 . Theatre is very much present in this impressive space, with a huge cherry blossom tree taking centre stage, and an evolving wall of live tattoo art.

Bar San Juan

Hands down the best spot you’ll find for authentic Spanish tapas anywhere in Manchester. They don’t take reservations and other than its bright red and yellow facade, this tiny restaurant on the bottom of Beech Road in Chorlton is pretty low-key. This is one for the bucket list, if you don’t mind waiting for a table that is.

The French

Despite what the name might suggest, The French focuses on modern British cuisine with locally sourced produce. Set in a truly exquisite Grade II listed building , you’ll struggle to find a more appropriate setting in Manchester for a fine dining experience. 

Erst

A sophisticated but relaxed neighbourhood spot that concentrates on seasonal small plates and natural wines. It’s a place for all occasions – pop in for a drink or a couple of dishes at the bar or sit down in the restaurant for a special occasion with friends and family, neither scenario will leave you feeling out of place.

Hawksmoor

Widely regarded as Manchester’s number one go-to steakhouse, Hawksmoor’s reputation is well deserved and a tough one to beat. They source their meat ethically from carefully reared British cattle breeds and deliver an indulgent menu inside a stunning Grade II listed courthouse.

Baratxuri

This family-run tapas restaurant over in Ramsbottom serves up an ever-changing menu of Basque country delights. In recent years its been the driving force bringing an influx of foodie fans to the town.

Enxaneta

A fine dining experience located above Tast on King Street designed to take you on a culinary journey across Catalonia.

The Creameries

It’s all about bread, cheese and wine at The Creameries with a heavy zero waste policy. Expect carefully curated dishes using locally sourced ingredients fresh from the market at this Chorlton-based restaurant.

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City Guides

The best places to enjoy a gin & tonic in Manchester this Easter weekend

The perfect excuse to indulge in a couple of gins this weekend…

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@sevenbro7hers & @theatlasbar / Instagram

The Easter weekend is coming up and the forecast is for warm sunny weather, which calls for one thing and one thing only; a definitive round up of the best spots to enjoy a G&T here in Manchester.

Now, it’s no secret that here in Manchester we’re spoiled for choice on where to enjoy a tipple or two. And, if gin is your tipple of choice, you certainly won’t be left wandering the streets aimlessly in search of that perfect drink.

So, without any further ado, here’s our favourite Mancunian spots to enjoy a gin & tonic…

@threelittlewordsmcr / Instagram

Three Little Words

Because of course Manchester Gin’s very own distillery and bar was going to make the ultimate G&T list. The venue, located down Watson Street, boasts its own distillery, meaning every last drop of Manchester Gin is made there and then on site.

The Spirit of Manchester Distillery also also gives guests the opportunity to make their very own gin, as well as learn the ins-and-outs of distilling.

On the actual drinking side of things, their bar boasts every variety Manchester Gin has to offer, including their new Oyster Gin, as well as a whole array of other gins from across the U.K and beyond. 

Three Little Words, 2-13 Watson Street, Manchester, M3 4LP
threelittlewords.co.uk

@theatlasbar / Instagram

 

Atlas Bar

Found at the bottom of Deansgate, Atlas Bar is definitely one of the better known gin bars in the city. Boasting a massive collection of 560 gins – both local and global – guests are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting their tipple.

Atlas Bar also features a heated outdoor terrace, perfect for both summer evenings and those chillier winter nights. 

Atlas Bar, 376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY
atlasbarmanchester.com

The Old Bell Inn

The Old Bell Inn

A little bit further afield in the village of Delph, Oldham, stands The Old Bell Inn, which is an actual world record holder thanks to its vast collection of gin – all 1,100 of them.

You can’t compete with that, can you?

And, as well as it’s extensive gin offering, The Old Bell Inn is also well loved for its classic ‘countryside pub’ vibes and dazzling views of the Saddleworth Moor – the perfect place to sit back and relax with an ice cold G&T, if you ask me.

The Old Bell Inn, Huddersfield Road, Delph, Oldham OL3 5EG
www.theoldbellinn.co.uk

Seven Bro7hers

Seven Bro7hers 

Yes, I’m well aware that I’ve included a taproom on this list but hear me out; the iconic Salfordian brewers have recently dabbled in the world of distillery by launching their very own gin brand, Sis4ers Distillery. 

Their distillery has produced a number of different botanical blends with tasty flavours such as strawberry, lime and thyme, espresso and passionfruit. 

Seven Bro7hers, 39 Blossom Street, Ancoats, M4 5AF | Lockside Lane, Salford, M5 4YP
sevenbro7hers.com

@lonocove / Instagram

Lono Cove

Having only opened recently, the Northern Quarter’s newest tiki bar Lono Cove features two floors of ‘contemporary’ tiki fun, including treasure chest cocktails and an abundance of greenery… Oh, and plenty of gin.

While tiki bars are usually associated with rum (there’s plenty of that, too), Lono Cove boasts an impressive selection of gins that can be enjoyed with tonic or in their many cocktails. 

Lono Cove, 14 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1DH
lonocove.com

@theblackfriarsalford / Instagram

The Black Friar

G&Ts taste better in a lush green beer garden, so of course The Black Friar had to make the list, with its stunning outdoor space.

The iconic Salford boozer recently reopened after eighteen years of no action and a massive transformation, and it is now the place to enjoy some gourmet pub grub and a couple of gins, either with tonic or in the form of a tasty cocktail.

The Blackfriar, 41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Salford M3 7DB
theblackfriarsalford.co.uk/ 

 

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City Guides

CITY GUIDE: The best rooftop bars Manchester has to offer

Who’d have thought rainy Manchester would have so many options?

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@20storiesmcr / Instagram & @theivymanchester / Instagram

The Easter bank holiday weekend is here and it’s set to be a sunny one, so we might as well make the most of it with a couple of trips to Manchester’s rooftop bars.

Rooftop bars?! I hear you ask.

Yes, it turns out that Manchester actually boasts an admirable selection of venues that offer a rooftop experience while you enjoy your drink. 

Here’s some of our favourites…

@20storiesmcr / Instagram

20 Stories

Let’s start with an obvious one, shall we? 

This venue is arguably one of Manchester’s most Instagrammable spots with stunning views of the city from, you guessed it, the twentieth floor. I wonder where they got their name from?

Anyway, 20 Stories offers impressive food and cocktail menus, a whole array of greenery and trees, and an outdoor fire pit.

20 Stories, No 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB
0161 204 3333
20stories.co.uk

YES

Believe it or not, one of Manchester’s most popular music venues has an actual rooftop bar. 

If you make it past the suitably dark and dingy music basement, all the pizza and beer on the first floor and the pink room on the second (yes, this venue has an actual room dedicated to the colour), you’ll find yourself out on the third floor in their makeshift rooftop bar.

Though it doesn’t boast the views from twenty stories high, it makes up for it with beautiful decor, holiday vibes and, most importantly, £3 pints.

YES, 38 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB
www.yes-manchester.com

@theivymanchester / Instagram

The Ivy

This up-market Spinningfields spot offers a unique twist on a rooftop bar with their ‘roof garden.’

Guests can enjoy food and cocktails amongst an abundance of florals, foliage and colourful fabrics, all creating an enchanting oasis in the heart of Manchester’s city centre.

And thanks to its retractable roof, The Ivy Roof Garden is open seven days a week, come rain or shine.

The Ivy Spinningfields, The Pavilion, Byrom St, Manchester M3 3HG
theivymanchester.com

Terrace NQ

It says it in the name, doesn’t it?

Nestled down the Northern Quarter’s Thomas Street, Terrace NQ offers a little solace to those desperate for a bev in the rare Mancunian sunshine. 

Its secluded rooftop terrace is adorned with fairy lights, unique furniture and a fantastic atmosphere, so makes for the ideal spot to enjoy some sunshine.

Terrace NQ, 43 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
0161 819 2345

@conclubrestaurant / Instagram

The Con Club

All the way over in Altrincham, The Con Club offers a fantastic sun spot complete with a tipi for those impromptu spells of rain – we do live in Manchester, folks.

The Con Club’s rooftop remains relatively unknown, and the restaurant is only accepting walk-ins, so your chance of getting a seat are high!

The Con Club, 48 Greenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1RZ
0161 696 6870
conclubuk.com

Atlas Bar

Okay, this Deansgate staple might not technically have a rooftop bar… but it has an outdoor bar around the back that’s suspended in the arches below the roof, so that definitely counts.

It’s easily one of the best terraces in the entire city centre, and with a choice of more than 500 gins, it’s certainly one of the more desirable locations in town when the sun comes out.

Atlas Bar, 376 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY
0161 834 2124
atlasbarmanchester.com

@hatchmcr / Instagram

Hatch

Okay, we’re pushing it a bit with this one, considering that the Oxford Road foodhall is literally plonked directly under Mancunian Way.

But we have to give it to the staff over at Hatch – they’ve been brilliantly creative with their use of space and have somehow managed to make a couple of rooftop bars that get a lovely dose of sun for most of the day.

Grab a few beers, order some food and enjoy.

Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
hatchmcr.com

Big Hands

Another unexpected one, this staple part of Manchester’s music scene actually offers a small and secluded roof terrace for guests to sit and enjoy the sun with a can of Red Stripe.

Expect naughties leather sofas, film posters and an epic dance floor if you fancy a few drinks in this haunt over the weekend.

Big Hands, 296 Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9NS
0161 272 7309

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City Guides

The best beer gardens in Manchester to enjoy in summer 2022

We’re spoiled for choice here in Manchester…

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@escapetofreightisland & @theblackfriarsalford / Instagram

It’s that time of the year; the temperature has surpassed 10C, we haven’t seen rain for at least two days and the evenings are definitely getting lighter.

And that means one thing and one thing only – the beer gardens are officially back open.

Yep, us Brits only need one glimmer of sunlight for us to immediately flock to our closest pub to soak up the (admittedly a bit chilly) rays with a nice refreshing pint.

@summerbeerthing / Instagram

And, with temperatures expected to reach highs of 20C this week, these beer gardens are definitely going to be the places to be after work.

But where’s the best place to enjoy a pint in the sun in Manchester?

Well, to save you trawling around town while you could be supping your drink and enjoying a bag of crisps in the sun, we’ve put together our own list of some of the best beer gardens Manchester has to offer.

Without further ado…

@flokmcr / Instagram

Flok

You know that massive beer garden with the orange tables and benches in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter?

That belongs to Flok, and it is undisputedly the place to be whenever the sun comes out. Anyone who frequents the area will confirm that Flok’s beer garden is immediately heaving at any sign of sunshine and, with its impressive selection of lagers and craft beers, it makes for the perfect spot to soak up those rays.

Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN
flokmcr.co.uk

@dukes_92 / Instagram

Dukes 92

Right in the heart of Castlefield sits Dukes 92, which is guaranteed to be absolutely rammed whenever the weather surpasses 10C.

The atmosphere is nothing short of vibrant in the summer, something that can be mainly credited to its expansive drinks menu containing beers, wines, and tasty cocktails. Dukes also offers a vast food menu including cheese boards, pizzas and even roast dinners on a Sunday. Perfect in the sun with a glass of vino.

Dukes 92, 18-25 Castle Street, Manchester, M3 4LZ
dukes92.com

@osheasirishbar / Instagram

O’Shea’s Irish Bar

There’s nothing quite as good as a pint of Guinness Extra Cold in the sun, and Manchester’s very own O’Shea’s is the place to enjoy it.

O’Shea’s has held a prominent legacy in the city since it opened back in 1994, and has built a reputation for pouring some of the best Guinness outside of Ireland, so the recent reopening of its legendary beer garden is certainly something to celebrate.

O’Shea’s Irish Bar, 80 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6NF
osheasirishbarm1.co.uk

@theblackfriarsalford / Instagram

The Black Friar

This historic boozer reopened after eighteen long years out of action last year thanks to a massive investment by property giants Salboy, who transformed the building back into the iconic pub it once was.

And, as well as a brand new fine dining restaurant, the pub now boasts its very own beer garden around the back, complete with an abundance of foliage, greenery and sunlight. A must visit during the warmer months.

The Black Friar, 41-43 Blackfriar’s Road, Salford, M3 7DB.
theblackfriarsalford.co.uk

@escapetofreightisland / Instagram

Escape to Freight Island

Manchester’s biggest open air food hall is a real cracker all year round, but definitely makes better use of its grounds when the sun is shining.

Promising ‘Balearic vibes, Beers and great food’, Escape to Freight boasts both a massive beer garden and their iconic Plant Room, a real sun trap full of plants and greenery. The venue plays home to nine independent food vendors and a massive bar, making it the ideal spot to enjoy the warmer weather with your mates.

Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring Street, Manchester, M1 2PZ.
escapetofreightisland.com

@serene_wonderland / Instagram

Sinclair’s Oyster Bar

When it isn’t overrun with lairy European football fans, Sinclair’s Oyster Bar is one of the best places to catch some much-needed sun here in Manchester.

Standing directly next to the historic Old Wellington pub near the Corn Exchange, the beer garden at Sinclair’s is famously huge and always absolutely rammed, which is probably down to the pub’s wonderfully cheap alcohol selection, something that’s hard to come by in Manchester these days.

Sinclairs Oyster Bar, 2 Cathedral Gates, Manchester, M3 1SW.
0161 834 0430

@theoasthousemcr / Instagram

The Oast House

Undoubtedly one of the most famous beer gardens in the whole of Manchester belongs to The Oast House, situated in the centre of Spinningfields.

The Oast House has become well loved for its craft beer selection, extensive wine list and those city-famous hanging kebabs, all of which can be enjoyed together in the courtyard (which houses very festive tipis in the winter).

Though it is recommended to book in advance to avoid disappointment, and to order your drinks in bulk as the wait times can be lengthy.

The Oast House, Crown Square, The Avenue Courtyard, Manchester M3 3AY
theoasthouse.uk.com

@thebritonsprotection / Instagram

The Briton’s Protection

While the beer garden over at The Briton’s Protection isn’t the biggest in Manchester, it is definitely one of the more hidden gems in the city.

The Briton’s Protection is one of Manchester’s oldest and most historic pubs, and specialises in a vast selection of whisky, with over 300 bottles to choose from. These can all be enjoyed round the back of the building in the courtyard, which is always bustling with a fantastic atmosphere.

The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5LE.
0161 236 5895

@thefirehousemcr / Instagram

Ramona & The Firehouse

(Kind of) new kids on the block Ramona & The Firehouse have made quite the name for themselves since their 2020 opening, mainly thanks to their margarita list and gigantic slabs of pizza.

But both restaurants – which sit back-to-back – boast fantastic outdoor terraces, both of which are perfect in the winter and the summer. Firehouse, in particular, is ideal if you fancy some Ibiza vibes in the heart of the city.

Ramona & The Firehouse, 40 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JG.
www.takemetoramona.com

@old_pint_pot / Instagram

The Old Pint Pot

A student’s haven, the Old Pint Pot pub down Adelphi Street in Salford is known best for its cheap booze, pub grub and live music.

But in the summer, the Old Pint Pot’s massive beer garden overlooking the River Irwell comes to life, with students and 9-5ers alike coming together to enjoy the summer. It’s guaranteed good vibes in this place, so make sure to pay it a visit (especially when the sun’s shining).

The Old Pint Pot, Adelphi Street, Salford, M3 6EN.
www.oldpintpotsalford.co.uk

@wharfpub / Instagram

The Wharf

Another Castlefield gem to add to the list, The Wharf provides good times all year round with its seasonal roast dinners and its impressive gin selection.

And in the summer, its beer garden fills up nicely and provides stunning views of the canal, Beetham tower and the surrounding new builds sprouting up around the area. Castlefield is undeniably one of the best places to hunker down for the day when the sun’s shining, so make sure to pay a visit to The Wharf when you’re next in the area.

The Wharf, 6 Slate Wharf, Manchester, M15 4ST.
thewharf-castlefield.co.uk

@rainbar_mcr / Instagram

Rain Bar

Round the front, this little pub doesn’t look like it boasts much of an outdoor space (unless you enjoy the sound of angry traffic at the bottom of Deansgate).

But round the back, Rain Bar boasts a massive – and wonderfully secluded – beer garden which proves to be a lovely little sun trap on warmer days. Perfect!

Rain Bar, 80 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5JG.
rain-bar.co.uk

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