We recently counted down some of the best old fashioned boozers Glasgow has to offer – the cosy, cheerful nooks and crannies away from trendy beer, burger joints and sleek nightspots.
Our original list got you talking and suggesting some we’d missed out.
City centre nook Sloans is the go-to destination for a festive tipple – but nestled in among the high street shops, it’s hard to resist at other times of the year too. Claiming to be the oldest bar and restaurant in Glasgow (clocking in around 1797), the dark wood interior and island bar give it away as old school. Nowadays its claims to fame are heavenly macaroni cheese and an all-events ballroom above – but for hardened drinkers, there’s plenty to love down the lane at Sloans.
62 Argyll Arcade, 108 Argyle Street, G2 8BG, 0141 221 8886, sloansglasgow.com
The Allison Arms
Southside neighbourhood Strathbungo has seen something of a renaissance in recent years – and the Allison Arms stands out as a pub which has gone full circle from old timer hangout to the trendier side of the scale. It’s not much to look at on the outside – other than to question those park benches plonked in the middle of the street – but step inside and you’ll find a cosy old U-shaped bar flanked by prettier décor. It’s a friendly place, well-stocked and a cut above the old man pubs and upmarket bars within walking distance.
720 Pollokshaws Rd, G41 2AD, 0141 423 1661, facebook.com/TheAllisonArmsPub
Does a pub opened in the ’70s count as a good, old-fashioned boozer? We’re going to go with yes on this one. With Sauchiehall Street an ever declining neighbourhood of come-and-go stag do bars and student clubs, it’s nice to see that some things never change – and The Variety is one of them. Grungy, unpolished and perfect for those who like their music, this place is a long-favoured haunt of the art school crowds, and will often attract Glasgow music royalty for an off-the-cuff DJ set.
401 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3LG, 0141 332 4449, facebook.com/pages/Variety-Bar-Glasgow
Fancy a swatch at the Stone of Destiny? Legend has it that Woodlands bar The Arlington holds the one, true stone – the seat of coronation for Scottish kings and queens and a symbol of Scottish nationalism since four Glasgow Uni students stole it from Westminster Abbey in 1950. The story goes that the stone returned and now on display in Edinburgh is a fake, and that the real one was passed off as a replica and hidden beneath a boxed pub seat. History or hooey, The Arlington is one of the few remaining traditional bars on this stretch of uni territory, and well worth a visit on any pub crawl, patriotic or otherwise.
130 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, Glasgow City G3, 0141 332 9782, facebook.com/TheArlingtonBar
The Pot Still
Whisky lovers of the world unite – and in Glasgow, it’s often at The Pot Still, a cosy pub keeping the faith in an area of town populated by interchangeable trendy bars. This Hope Street bar is famous for drams of every taste and colour, and boasts a clientèle of dedicated regulars, many dropping in for a quick drink after work. Ed Sheeran caused a stir when he hosted an MTV EMAs after-party there last year – but visit on any given night and you’ll see crowds, ages ranging from baby-faced Ed-alikes to those greyer in the whiskers.
154 Hope Street, G2 2TH, 0141 333 0980, thepotstill.co.uk
This old fashioned boozer is a bit out the way – and yet within touching distance of the city centre. Few out of towners will cross the M8 at the Mitchell Library on foot, and if they do it’s to take a leisurely stroll towards Kelvingrove. But turn left and head downhill towards Anderston (or what’s left of it) and you’ll soon come across the Bon Accord. Its name is synonymous with cask ale, its interior is old world Glasgow and the hipsters are nowhere to be seen. Bliss.
153 North St, G3 7DA, 0141 248 4427, bonaccordweb.co.uk
All jokes aside, heading to the north of the city isn’t quite the daunting experience some would have it. Areas like Kelvindale and Maryhill may have a reputation to them, but there are pretty canals and winding pathways to walk or cycle – and herein lies the beauty of Lock 27. A stop-off for those tackling Scotland’s waterways, this traditional bar has some picturesque scenery to look out at, and a well-stocked bar within. Picture cosy leather armchairs within and a beer garden worth looking out from on sunnier days.
1100 Crow Road, G13 1JT, 0141 958 0853, lock27.com
Macsorley’s Music Bar
A pub with a bit of history to it, Macsorley’s has been on the go for more than 115 years – but with an emphasis on food and music of all genres, it’s hard to tell. This classic Glasgow boozer is all about the live music, and has been known to host even reggae nights, accompanied by foodie pop-ups and delicious doses of curried goat. Look beyond that and you’ll see a many and varied clientèle and a decent bar, one fit for every generation of Glasgow drinker.
42 Jamaica St, G1 4QG, 0141 248 8581, macsorleys.com
An old fashioned bar reinvented, The Admiral tries to be lots of things at once – and succeeds, for the most part. Waterloo Street may be the haunt of office workers clocking off and not many more, but dedicated regulars make a point of stopping off at this city centre bar for drinks, food and sometimes more. Head there on the weekend and you’ll find gigs and club nights going on downstairs – everything from regular burlesque shows to Madchester – and all behind a traditional, friendly frontage.
72 Waterloo Street, G2 7DA, 0141 221 7705, theadmiralbar.com
The Sparkle Horse
This west end bar has come a long way since the days of The Dowanhill – and yet not much has changed, other than the horse ornaments and indie kid records adorning the walls. What was once an old man pub to a tee has, in recent years, become the beloved haunt of hipsters galore, all paying homage to its owners – including former members of indie band Bis – and to life in the beard-and-glasses brigade. Don’t let it put you off. The Sparkle Horse is a lively bar with good beer, decent music and interesting pub grub – all with a vague hint of the boozer before it.
Dowanhill St, G11 5QR, 0141 562 3175, thesparklehorse.com
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Main image: Sloans Glasgow
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