Wine-focused rooftop restaurant is coming to Manchester

Principal contractor Dragonfly is transforming the roof of Bruntwood Works’ Blackfriars House into the home of Climat, a new venture from the team behind Chester’s Michelin favorite Corvino restaurant.

Middleton-based Dragonfly has been on site since January on the project. The aim is for Climat to open its doors this autumn, offering diners the chance to enjoy 360-degree views of Manchester city center while sampling a daily changing menu of seasonal dishes and a collection of 250 wines. . Climat will share Luke Richardson as executive chef with Corvino.

Christopher Laidler, owner of Climat and Corvino, said the opening of a restaurant in Manchester “represents a big step forward” for the restaurant group.

“The site has so much to offer and we’re going to add something special to a great city,” Laidler said. “The space will be unique to others with its panoramic views and we look forward to sharing our progress during construction leading up to opening in the fall.”

Bruntwood retail and leisure manager Charlotte Wild says the time has come for a new dining space in Manchester city centre.

“Climate will bring a unique experience to this exciting part of town,” said Wild, later describing the restaurant as an “inspirational addition to Manchester”.

Wild continued: “We are delighted to welcome Chris and his team to our Blackfriars community – they have incredible vision and will complement this magnificent building perfectly.

“For us, hospitality is very much at the heart of the workplace of the future and so having such a high quality offering at Blackfriars makes perfect sense.”

Construction is underway to build the Climat. Credit: PNW

Building on the roof of a 1920s building came with technical challenges, especially in terms of weight. For example, Climat will have a fully enclosed glass wine cellar that weighs five tons.

Building directly on the roof was not an option. Dragonfly therefore opted to build a steel superstructure that floats above the original roof and connects to the existing parapet walls.

Other challenges included working at height, the changeable Manchester weather and getting the sequencing right for the project.

“It was really tricky,” said Joe McKenna, chief executive and founder of Dragonfly.

Dragonfly also had to be flexible.

“Because of the nature of the building — the fact that you’re working with an existing structure — it’s only when you start to open up that existing structure that you find things that you have to be adaptable to,” McKenna said.

“There are going to be changes and adjustments, but we’ve been really lucky because we have great partners in the steelwork and glass fabrication.”

These partners were able to make quick changes, including when news came that a wine cellar would be needed – something that was not originally planned.

The rooftop view of Blackfriars House. Credit: PNW

McKenna noted that changing technology and ways of thinking also helped make the project possible.

“In the past, developers were traditionally nervous about adding a structure like this to an older building,” McKenna said. “But the square footage value of a roof is immense. You need to maximize that. This has pushed technology to come up with solutions that will maximize this area.

Dragonfly was aided in the project by her knowledge of Blackfriars, having worked on the building to some degree since 2015. This has included fitting out services from Dragonfly.

Working with Bruntwood, Dragonfly helped upgrade the elevator lobbies and create a coworking center, podcast studio, and ground floor cafe in the space. It was part of Bruntwood’s £200million Pioneer scheme, which aims to transform existing buildings into thriving workspaces filled with biophilia and amenities.

In addition to the rooftop restaurant, Dragonfly also incorporates a Blackfriars rooftop space for community events and yoga classes.

“It won’t be the typical Manchester rooftop,” said Tess McKenna, business development manager at Dragonfly. “It will be something a little different.”

McKenna said she and the Dragonfly team are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of her labor when the restaurant finally opens.

“What we have done will be quite impressive, given the challenges and climatic circumstances at the time,” she said.

“I’m delighted to sit up there with a glass of wine and enjoy it and the view.”

Joe McKenna and Tess McKenna on the roof of Blackfriars House. Credit: PNW

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