20 STORIES’ Talisker Winter Terrace, complete with its snow globes,and WOOD on First Street’s returning pop-up Woodshack are the latest seasonal outdoor alternatives to the Christmas Markets, very much to be welcomed. Here are our five recommended casual ‘dens’ in which to be jolly…
CURIOUS TEEPEE AT THE OAST HOUSE
Almost an institution by now, this deluxe tent in the courtyard of the revamped Oast House, home to Budvar tank beer and hanging kebabs, delivers up a magical experience featuring fire pits, fur throws, festive fairy lights and warming drinks. Plus if you book it, they’ll set up a hog roast for you or pick off the main menu.
Oast House, The Avenue Courtyard . Spinningfields . Crown Square . Manchester . M3 3AY . 0161 829 3830. theoasthouse.uk.com
THE IGLOOS AT REFINERY
This rival Spinningfields bar, launched by Drake & Morgan, had great success with its debut igloos and is reprising the attraction in collaboration with Snow Queen vodka, which influences the seasonal cocktail selection. Each luxurious igloo accommodates up to eight people for dining or up to 10 for drinks and nibbles – and guests receive full table service. Igloos of four or less can be shared on the day, and treats available for diners to munch on include pigs in blankets, mini cheeseburgers, duck liver tarts, roasted chestnuts and wild mushroom Yorkshire puddings.
The Refinery Spinningfields, XYZ Building, 2 Hardman Boulevard, Spinningfields, M3 3AQ.
BAR HUTTE, SPINNINGFIELDS
This well-established Alpine ‘village’ has expanded its Spinningfields base into Crown Square this year. Otherwise the ski hut formula doesn’t need to be fixed – a large indoor Aprés Ski bar, three types of ski chalet hüttes, including carol-oke and disco themed. Little festive luxuries include hot water bottles, heated lamps and Christmas lights. All reserved hüttes come with table service from Bar Hütte’s fully licensed drinks bar.
If you haven’t got a reservation, guests will be able to enjoy a drink in the Aprés Ski bar, with live music throughout the weekends on the covered outdoor stage.
Reservations can be made for two-hour slots for groups of six to ten people, with a non-refundable deposit of £20. Bigger parties can reserve more than one hütte, with drinks bills settled on the night. Book here.
THE WOODSHACK IS BACK ON FIRST STREET
Masterchef winner Simon Wood has relaunched this outdoor shack outside his eponymous restaurant and, guess what, the drink on offer is a galaxy away from the dross being served up from similar wooden structures across the Christmas Markets. Check out their festive hot chocolate with all the Christmassy trimmings – pick from gingerbread, cinnamon and nutmeg flavours, or mulled wine and mince pies. The WoodShack will be open from Thursday until Saturday every week until Christmas; Thursday and Friday 4pm-8pm and Saturdays 2pm-8pm. And, of course, a quick aperitif here might lure punters inside to tackle WOOD’s full festive menu– two courses from £25pp or three courses from £32pp.
WOOD Manchester, Jack Rosenthal Street, First Street, M15 4RA. 0161 236 5211.
TALISKER WINTER TERRACE AT 20 STORIES
Manchester’s highest restaurant and bar has opened its Winter Terrace to the public in partnership with Skye single malt masters Talisker. The terrace holds two giant snow globes, keeping customers warm without losing the spectacular city panorama. And the snow globes are staying until the end of March.
There will be an array of winter warming cocktails on the menu including: Talisker Toddy (Talisker 10yr, Apple Juice, Lemon, Honey), Talisker Campfire Hot Chocolate (Talisker 10yr, Dark Chocolate Milk, Cream, Marshmallow), Nolet Mulled Wine (Ketel One, Red Wine, Pear, Cinnamon, Almond, Orange Bitters), and Cranberry & Ginger Spritzer (Tanqueray 10, Cranberry Juice, Ginger Ale, Thyme), priced from £11.
The two giant snow globes will both span 9.5 metres across and can be booked out for private parties accommodating groups from 8-70 guests. When they are not booked out, guests will be able to access them on a first come, first served basis. Various booking tariffs apply; check with https://20stories.co.uk.
The snow globes will be kitted out with cosy faux fur rugs, blankets, candles and heaters wiht one also featuring its own fire pit.
20 Stories, No 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3EB. 0161 204 3333.