Where to eat outdoors in Manchester this summer
A guide to dining al fresco in the city
Here, in the infamously rainy Manchester, it is essential to choose your beer garden wisely when the sun finally comes out to play.
These suggestions for your al fresco dining occasions are keeping in mind the student purse strings, as well as good food and ample opportunity for some artsy Insta pics in the sun.
The Metropolitan, Didsbury
This large Victorian railway hotel is now the place to be on a sunny day in West Didsbury, with its large outdoor terrace trapping the rays from dawn ‘til dusk.
There is also a separate terrace area – the “Stable Bar” – where the outdoor pizza oven is continuously rolling out freshly made pizzas, separate to the inside pub kitchen. T
here’s even an open air bar in operation on busy days, so you can get away with not stepping a foot inside to get as much of that glorious Vitamin D while you can.
One of Manchester’s most popular Mediterranean restaurants, with a very strong accent on Greece, Dimitri’s is a must for some early evening tapas on the traditional, continental-style terrace.
Off the tapas menu I can recommend the Chorizo Bravas (a meaty take on patatas bravas) and the Melinzanes Tiganites (spicy aubergine and hummus). Located at the top end of Deansgate, open until 2:30am and with live music at the weekend, this place is perfect for a sticky summer’s night.
Most of Manchester, however, will be thinking the same thing, so be prepared to wait for over an hour – outdoor tables are in high demand. Don’t despair: their classic cocktail menu and lively bar will provide you with sufficient distraction to ease you through any wait.
Albert’s Shed, Castle Street
Slightly more expensive, but still very reasonably-priced considering the high quality food, this is more of a date or “catch up with old friends” venue.
The large terrace overlooks the canal and is an ideal spot for a bit of nostalgia as the sun sets. Shade could be in short supply so make sure to take a big sun hat! The varied menu has something for everyone, from slow-roasted duck with orange sauce to chilli king prawn and avocado salad.
Oast House, Spinningfields
If you head to Spinningfields there’s no shortage of outdoor eating spaces to accommodate every budget, right down to lunch on a shoe string, sat on a wall with sandwich.
Oast House falls somewhere in the middle, with the iconic succulent hanging kebabs, drenched in sweet chilli and ginger, ranging £11 to £15. BBQ comfort food is the order of the day here, with a superfood salad also on offer for those of us conscious of the approaching swimwear season.
Zouk, Oxford Road
Last but not least, Zouk is the best place in Manchester to have an Indian complete with a breeze to take the heat off their fiery, Rajasthan-inspired Railway Curry.
The menu is everything you would want from curry house, with the added bonus of a fresh take on many of the dishes with the more health-conscious diner in mind.
Shielded from the busy Oxford Road with copious amounts of shrubbery, the retractable roof, patio heaters and the offer of blankets allow you to stay here long into the evening, enjoying the range of cocktails and shisha on offer. Definitely a curry night with a difference.