If you want to add the WOW factor to any restaurant, floor to ceiling glass windows and 360 degree views will do it. 20 Stories, Manchester is a swanky rooftop bar, terrace and dining room, and although it’s actually on the 19th floor of No. 1 Spinningfields, it’s the dishes, and people who have inspired them that the name refers to.
Having never been before, stepping out of the lift and into 20 Stories is a welcome surprise. There’s such a magnificent sense of space with its high ceilings and all that glass, and yet it’s nicely divided off into bar area, outside space (sporting giant winter igloos when we visited), and the fine dining restaurant which is somewhat partitioned off tastefully from the other areas.
You definitely can’t walk into 20 Stories and not marvel at the design courtesy of DesignLSM’s collaboration with CetraRuddy and D&D. Manchester’s industrial and agricultural inspiration is apparent, but it’s the fluidity of the elements all working together which really captures the attention, spacious banquettes set off by oak and metals, various statement art objects and the fabulous tree-like ‘shimmering illuminated canopy’ which creeps its way across the ceiling like a volcano spilling molten lava.
What’s more, there’s the opportunity to stray from the normal a la carte menu (where mains hover around the £30 mark give or take), with their Beat the January Blues set menu. Amazing value with a Tanqueray No. TEN aperitif and three courses for the bargain price of just £23.50, this menu gives you options like guinea fowl, mussels with fries or celeriac and black garlic risotto for the main course. If you can’t visit in January, you could always take advantage of the pre-theatre menu with a similar menu, or running during Chinese New Year, it’s two courses for £28.50 (including a mini Moet), or £33.50 for three.
From the a la carte menu we devoured chunky yet delicate scallops with a hearty veloute of cream, shallots, garlic and white wine (£15), followed by the most delicious French Beaujolais from Domaine de Collette – aromatic with subtle tannins and tonnes of juicy red fruit, it went down a treat with our mains – duck two ways (breast and as a confit patty) with a pile of crispy-on-the-outside-crispy-on-the-outside triple cooked chips (£28).
We decided to have a short break before dessert during which we devoured two perfectly made espresso martinis (which I only recently discovered tastes exactly the same as a decaf). The caramel pannacotta was a great choice (£7) smooth, creamy and light with a hint of spice courtesy of the ginger cake and some texture and crunch thanks to the honeycomb.
Yes, 20 Stories is an expensive affair, but the views are definitely worth it. It’s a whole lot of swank smack bang in the centre of Manchester – cosy in winter and a roof terrace hotspot in summer. Click here to book and here to read our reviews of other cool hangouts in Manchester.