Glasgow now boasts its fair share of trendy bars – many of them serving up burgers on boards alongside hip craft beers or candlelight to go with that (hic) second bottle of wine.
That’s all well and good. But in a city with a towering reputation for holding its drink and, let’s face it, more than a few rainy days, there’s always a need for a cosy old-fashioned pub.
Here’s our selection of Glasgow’s top ‘proper’ pubs – the kind of places that don’t pretend to be restaurants or nightlife destinations, but just serve up a pint of the foamy stuff and a dose of warming cheer.
We know there are plenty more, so tell us your favourite over on Twitter @wow247glasgow – we might even have enough for a part II.
The Horseshoe Bar
The Horseshoe is a well-kept secret among adoring Glaswegians. The Victorian bar is supposedly the longest in Europe, despite being tucked away down a small city centre lane. But The Horseshoe’s real claims to fame, other than a dedicated band of karaoke singers, are Scotch pies served over the grand island bar and the three course lunch option for under a fiver in the lounge above. Diners will spot celebrities, grannies and office workers alike indulging in a lunchtime fruit cocktail – and a pint of the hard stuff, naturally.
17-19 Drury Street, G2 5AE. 0141 248 6368, thehorseshoebarglasgow.co.uk
The former borough of Partick isn’t short of pubs – in fact, more than one has made this list. But the Lios Mor (pronounced Lis More) towers above them, with a reputation as the finest whisky watering hole in the land. From old-school regulars to students avoiding the drinks promo dens, this folksy pub is always full of punters – but there’s usually still a dark corner seat, should you get philosophical after a dram or two.
206 Dumbarton Road, G11 6UN, 0141 576 0102
This Clyde-side pub isn’t short of history. Established in 1792, it was a popular port for sailors, ferry travellers and, with the Gallowgate not far off, perhaps the odd public hanging crowd too. Today, heaving crowds prove The Scotia remains as popular as ever. The bar has become a traditional music lover’s haunt, but it draws in crowds from all walks of life with a bar stocked with the traditional and the trendy in equal measures, from soothing drams to hip Camden Brewery or Brooklyn Lager stock.
112 Stockwell Street, G1 4LW, 0141 552 8681, scotiabar.net
The Three Judges
Drift towards Partick Cross on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll hear the sweet sound of jazz lingering in the air. One of the west end’s best loved pubs, The Three Judges trades on two plus points; great beers and great music. The traditional corner bar hosts regular drinks festivals and the specials board – filled with cask ales and unusual tipples on tap – changes so regularly that it’s a challenge to keep up. Students and old timers can be seen clearing space between the tables on Sunday’s free jazz sessions, taking a twirl together to the sounds of Muldoon’s Ragtime Band or The Witnesses.
141 Dumbarton Road, G11 6PR, 0141 337 3055, threejudges.co.uk
Out of towners could be forgiven for giving The Doublet a miss – but it’s a shame, given the pub’s reputation as an authentic Glesga watering hole. The mock Tudor exterior is more ’60s working man’s club trying to be cool – and that’s probably because the Park Road bar hasn’t changed much since it opened back then. The vibrant Woodlands population – from students to pensioners – keep going back thanks to a well-stocked jukebox and, let’s face it, a nostalgia for the Glasgow of yesteryear.
74 Park Road, G4 9JF, 0141 334 1982
The State Bar
This city centre haunt may trade on being a comedy venue, but its dark wood interiors and island bar dating back to the early 1900s draw as many drinkers for quiet contemplation as for giggles. The State is often overlooked in favour of Sauchiehall Street’s cut-price chain pubs or short-lived attempts at trendy bars, but those in the know will head there for a drink or two pre-theatre, or to escape the bustle of Glasgow’s infamous party street.
148-148A Holland Street, G2 4NG. 0141 332 2159, comedyatthestate.co.uk
The Ben Nevis
Finnieston has come up in the world in recent years as eaters and drinkers alike avoid the old hat Byres Road in favour of a grittier end of town. But The Ben Nevis remains an old fashioned pub, straddling the worlds of trendy and traditional. There aren’t too many seats, so standing against a stone wall is common – but the place is cosy and the bar is stocked with whiskies of all descriptions, not to mention more than a few good beers, Glasgow’s own West Beer included.
1147 Argyle Street, G3 8TB, 0141 576 5204, thebennevis.co.uk
Glasgow University students know that you’re not supposed to graduate without having had a few in Tennent’s first. The Byres Road pub is beloved of punters all ages, and remains abuzz with banter at all times of the day – especially when there’s sport on. A traditional big corner bar, there aren’t many seats to be had in Tennent’s – but for those keeping an eye on the score, it’s not exactly a dealbreaker. Cask ales are the best bet here, although the lounge’s well-portioned pub grub is a bit hit with the locals too.
191 Byres Road, G12 8TN, 0141 339 7203, thetennentsbarglasgow.co.uk
Pubs are few and far between on the student stretch of Great Western Road these days, with old fashioned bars and student dives alike giving way to trendy gastropubs. The Belle may lie on the hipper end of the scale, but with dark lighting and an open fire on the go, it’s easy to forgive the obligatory hipsters spilling out of the door on weekends. It may be a little cramped but there are Scottish and world beers on tap and, with that roaring fire on a winter’s eve, it’s hard not to be charmed by this bar.
617 Great Western Road, Lanarkshire G12 8HX, 0141 339 2299
Many pubs are considered a Glasgow institution – The Laurieston is the real deal. The ’60s throwback exterior is definitely a hint of what’s inside, and the nostalgic Bridge Street spot has something of a cult following as a good old Glasgow pub, but with drinks erring on a trendy enough side to keep the anoraks happy. It may not be a hip neighbourhood and outward appearances may make you wonder about stepping inside, but a go or two on the free jukebox and a chat with a friendly face behind the bar will make it all feel like a sitcom-esque step back in time.
58 Bridge Street, G5 9HU, 0141 429 4528
The vast corner bar next to the Western Infirmary may not be too old, and there’s no roaring fire in sight. But what Gallus has is a neighbourhood feel – a decent local for those who live in the sprawl surrounding Kelvingrove. There’s plenty behind the bar, from the obligatory Tennent’s on tap to more exotic beer offerings bound to please discerning drinkers. The weekly pub quiz draws regulars on a Wednesday, but the same punters are just as likely to be propping up the pool table come Saturday night, in between trips for another Bitburger and a quick one-to-one with the pub dog (another regular)
80 Dumbarton Road, G11 6NX, 0141 334 8012
WOW247Glasgow: more insider’s guides
10 of the best bars in Glasgow
A beer lover’s guide to Glasgow
14 of the best cheap eats in Glasgow
Glasgow Restaurants Guide – read the reviews, book tables
30 things to do for free in Glasgow
25 things you won’t know about Glasgow unless you’ve lived there
Neighbourhood Guide: Southside, Glasgow
Neighbourhood guide: The West End, Glasgow
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