D&D plan to open 20 Stories on the rooftop of No.1 Spinningfields in February 2018

With the sky glowing an ominous Saharan red and the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia due to throttle the west coast of Britain at a moment, only a moron would scale twenty-storeys of an unfinished tower to have a nose around a restaurant four months before there was even any sniff of lunch.

So up we went.

What you’re looking at is the shell of 20 Stories (although we’re not officially supposed to call it that yet, despite it appearing on the website), the first Manchester venue from D&D – the 40-strong global restaurant group owned by Des Gunewardena and Dave Loewi (the guys who led a management buy-out of Conran Restaurants a decade ago and never looked back).

20 Stories is located some 100 metres (twenty storeys) up on the very top floor of Allied London’s new seventy-something-million-quid No.1 Spinningfields tower, ending, when it opens, Cloud 23’s eleven year reign in Beetham Tower as the highest point in the city in which to order a drink. 

(By the way, both towers were designed by the same architect, Ian Simpson, who, we hear, was instructed to make sure 20 Stories at least one metre higher than Cloud 23 – despite being three storeys lower.) 

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20 Stories will feature a 200-capacity open-roofed garden terrace with a bar and fire pits
Sushisamba Restaurant Bishopsgate London
Designers CetraRuddy are also behind SushiSamba - 40 floors up Heron Tower in London

We were shown round on the day by D&D’s charming new business development manager, Becky Wilkes, who cut her teeth across the square at Manchester House. 

Wilkes told us 20 Stories would in fact feature two restaurants – a high-end restaurant (‘without Michelin aspirations’) and a more casual grill, and two separate bars, one inside and one out on the rooftop terrace. 

And the terrace is the thing, with views out west to the coast, east to the peaks, north to the moor, and with the city scuttling away below, this really is some view. 

As with the architect’s own pad on the top floor of Beetham, there’s a clear desire to bring the outside in, with silver birch trees frolicking in the wind, plans for fire pits out on the open-roofed terrace, plus an interior ‘green living wall’ designed to separate drinkers and diners.

New York-based architect and design firm CetraRuddy have been drafted in to finish the 440-capacity space off, with credentials including SushiSamba and Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor of London’s Heron Tower suggesting they're good with heights.

Let's hope D&D are too.

20 Stories is expecting to open in February 2018.

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A view of Beetham Tower from twenty storeys up
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The restaurant bar is expected to open in February 2018