Cloud 23, Beetham Tower, Deansgate. (c) cloud23.
Overrated but still impressive bar above the Hilton Hotel and below the Beetham Tower apartments. It offers views of both the delights of the Manchester suburbs (Hulme, Moss Side, Old Trafford, Salford) and the city centre. It's a place to bring the missus or out-of-towners to impress them, but not one to frequent that often. For a start it's a bastard to actually get into. If it's the weekend then unless you're willing to needily queue on the red carpet in the Hilton foyer for half an hour or so, then book ahead. Well ahead - three months is recommended to get on the weekend guest list. Midweek it's not so bad but they still make you wait a few minutes before you take the rapid lift up to the 23rd floor and are greeted with a half-empty bar. Table service tends to be slow and it's not cheap either; a couple of bottles of standard plonk and some nibbles coming to £65, and I imagine you'd not get much change out of four quid for their bottles of poncey lager. However, every proud Mancunian should come up here at least once so they can show off their tremendous knowledge of the city centre buildings, which take on a new dimension from up here. The big glass hole in the floor that looks straight down onto the street below is also a great feature.