There’s nothing in the city more sacred or more indicative of the local culture than the hallowed walls of a traditional Glasgow boozer.
But with the shift towards a more cultured, cosmopolitan vibe to our Dear Green Place, comes the inevitable change of some old fashioned establishments. And with change, comes resolve – so we’ve picked out some of the best pubs that we hope can continue to be true to their original ways.
The Horseshoe Bar
If you ever fet to Glasgow have a visit to the horseshoe bar. pic.twitter.com/9npx5ae5Ko
— Chef John Higgins (@haggisracer) February 4, 2015
The Horseshoe Bar is a resolute monolith of Glasgow’s pubbing scene. It’s one of the only pubs in the central area which has managed to maintain its high level of business without having to sell out to a chain pub aesthetic. If you pop in, you’ll be sure to meet many an interesting Glaswegian character – and the pints are some of the cheapest in the city.
17-19 Drury Street, G2 5AE – thehorseshoebarglasgow.co.uk
The Pot Still
If the glowing warmth from a fine malt whiskey is what you’re after then The Pot Still is the place to go. Offering up well over 100 whiskeys from all over the world, this charming old place is a classier affair than you might think looking in from the outside, and brings in as many tourists as it does colourful locals. Don’t miss it.
154 Hope Street, G2 2TH – thepotstill.co.uk
The Park Bar
The Park Bar is now the most Christmassy pub in Glasgow. pic.twitter.com/lYYbroLU
— Iain Smith (@iainedwardsmith) November 26, 2012
The Park Bar is so embedded in Glaswegian culture that to change it would likely incite some form of riot in the area. Situated at the trendy end of Argyle Street – but by no means succumbing to trendiness itself – this saltire adorned boozer is as atmospheric as it is essential to the city.
1202 Argyle Street, G3 8TE – facebook.com/TheOfficialParkBar
The Ben Nevis
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The Ben Nevis is such a perfect microcosm of Scottish life and culture that you feel as though the tourist board should be paying them for their services.
Hosting lively folk music nights and showcasing the finest beers and whiskeys Scotland has to offer, The Ben Nevis is a place to go if you’re feeling proud of this fine country and its people. We think that sounds like a good enough excuse to go to the pub, right?
1147 Argyle Street, G3 8TB – thebennevis.co.uk
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Tennent’s Bar is one of those rare and fascinating social oddities – it’s a place where hipsters and older generation bar-proppers collide to form one friendly swell of inebriation.
Its rough-around-the-edges look mixed with the fact that it’s situated in one of the coolest areas in the city makes us worry that the place is constantly under the threat of change. Thankfully for the bar – and its eclectic range of punters – it has managed to resist all forms of gentrification that has befallen many pubs nearby.
191 Byres Road, G12 8TN – thetennentsbarglasgow.co.uk
The 78 might not have the extensive history of some of the pubs that have already been mentioned on this list, but it does hold a unique and unaffected charm which harks back to the good-time old-time drinking holes of the West End.
The music nights held here are some of the best in the city, and have become a thing of legend over the past few years. Lucky for all of us, the things that made this bar great in the first place are still firmly in place – a cosy atmosphere, a good pint and some interesting regulars.
10-14 Kelvinhaugh Street, G3 8NU – the78cafebar.com
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The Bon Accord has a near perfect formula for success which is based on giving the punters what they want, and in Glasgow that often takes its guise in the form of some good grub alongside a decent selection of drinks. But to say that the food here is merely ‘good’ and that the drink selection is ‘decent’ is doing it a massive disservice, as the full gantry and empty plates will no doubt quickly attest to.
153 North Street, G3 7DA – bonaccordweb.co.uk
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It’s more than a little ironic to add a pub to this list whose very existence is founded on change and transformation, but it’s almost impossible to think of the church-spired, stained-glassed Oran Mor as having been anything else but one of the best drinking spots Glasgow has to offer. The thought of this institution changing would be an act of near blasphemous proportions.
Byres Road G12 8QX – oran-mor.co.uk
The Three Judges
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One of the true proper pubs of the West End, The Three Judges has everything a great drinking establishment should have. Along with a great selection of ales, drams and spirits, the Judges is also one of the only places in Glasgow to host a dedicated jazz night. Quirks like this show that The Three Judges simply can’t be changed by time or trends, but proudly always does its own thing.
141 Dumbarton Road, G11 6PR – threejudges.co.uk
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Tucked away in the corner of the Merchant City, Babbity Bowsters is an oft overlooked treasure of a pub. With its Gaelic folk nights, poetry clubs and one of the most beautiful beer gardens in the centre of Glasgow, the bar is a place which holds a unique, unparalleled charm – one that certainly shouldn’t (nor indeed couldn’t) be replaced or changed.
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Main image: Adam Bruderer / Flickr / CC