The essential guide to Glasgow's best pubs and bars
One of Glasgow’s modern ‘super pubs’. To the uninitiated it may seem a little pretentious, situated as it is in the converted building of the old Kelvinside Parish Church, standing on the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road, directly opposite the Botanic Gardens.
It boasts no fewer than two restaurants, two bars, a nightclub, the famous ‘a play, a pie and a pint’, as well as the remains of two former ministers interred somewhere within in the walls, and you might even bump into the resident ghost, apparently… though there’s certainly been unsettling spirits involved whenever I’ve been drinking there.
In reality there’s nothing pretentious about this quirky late night bar. The fact that the church’s crypt has been turned into a nightclub (not as Scooby Doo as it sounds, mores the pity) means that the complex has a late licence, they are able to keep their main bar open long after all but the nearby night clubs have shut up shop. In fact this is when the main bar truly comes alive: you know the sign of a good pub when there’s no music but plenty of atmosphere generated by the buzz off the mix of patrons, from students and lecturers to business types and local celebrities – just take a look at the portraits on the wall – you never know you’re going to meet.
On more than one occasion I’ve bumped into old uni mates ten years after leaving; I once shared a pint with a Tory MSP, arguing the cause of independence with him, can’t remember his arguments now, or maybe don’t care to remember, but he seemed jovial enough at the time.
All in all it’s a solid member of my ‘top ten pubs in Glasgow’ list – an atmospheric place for a tipple, where guaranteed two nights will never be the same. Because you’ll never know who you’re going to meet.