Glasgow’s bar scene is bustling with everything from sophisticated to quaint, laidback to lively, craft brew to cocktail.
From glamorous hotspots to trendy off-the-beaten-track haunts full of trendsetters and specialist watering holes dedicated to artisan gins, you will be spoilt for choice when choosing where to go.
From ladies luncheons to couples retreats, there are plenty of bars in Glasgow that will meet your expectations.
Situated on Glasgow's Style Mile, the main shopping promenade in the city centre, The Ivy makes a welcome pitstop for a cocktail whilst enjoying some retail therapy.
Enjoy a cocktail in the Instagram-worthy October in Princes Square, whilst overlooking the stylish spiral staircases. Or head to Metropolitan Cocktail Bar within Merchant Square and enjoy your favourite tipple overlooking the indoor courtyard which sits elegantly under a canopy of twinkling fairy lights.
Also set under a ceiling of fairy lights is the charming cobbled lane that is full of character, Ashton Lane. Popular throughout the day and also as a late night stop, the lane in the city’s west neighbourhood is home to an array of bars and restaurants, including Brel and The Ubiquitous Chip.
For somewhere off the radar, check out Swing. The underground bar and club captures the atmosphere of the roaring 20s and 30s, offering an evening of opulence, cocktails and live jazz music.
Hotel bars always offer some of the most elegant spots in any city for a cocktail or two. And none more elegant than The Salon at Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel – rated by Class magazine as one of 'the best bars in the world'. For a super contemporary vibe, CitizenM offers a range of cocktails within its funky Scandi design-inspired bar. The Dakota Hotel features an exclusive Champagne Room and Cigar Terrace, offering an extensive drinks list of classic cocktails and wine from around the world. Or head to the River Clyde and relax with a cocktail in the stylish surrounds of the new Radisson RED Sky Bar while enjoying unrivalled views across the city skyline.
Named as 'the UK's hippest strip' the Finnieston neighbourhood is a must visit.
To begin, head to the venue that takes its title from the neighbourhood itself, The Finnieston. The gastro-fish pub prides itself on being Glasgow’s premier gin cocktail bar with an astonishing range of gins on offer. Or there’s the Kelvingrove Café, where you can kick back in the restored Victorian surroundings, enjoying cocktails made using traditional techniques.
In the city centre, there are plenty of off-the-beaten track hangouts. Down lanes and under canopies of lights reside a number of the city’s most exclusive and best kept secret bars. Mitchell Lane, just off the city’s number one shopping location, Buchanan Street, is home to uber-cool venues like Tabac and Bar Soba.
Meanwhile, just a stone’s throw from George Square is Miller Street, where favourites The Spanish Butcher and The Spiritualist reside. Wander through the archway and stumble upon Virginia Court – a pretty courtyard where you can enjoy an al fresco drink (blankets are provided!) from the likes of Brutti Compadres and cocktail bar Gin 71.
Go retro on Sauchiehall Street at The Variety Bar. Established in the 70s, it has stood the test of time with its eclectic music policy and crowd.
The city's built heritage can be seen everywhere in Glasgow. It's therefore no surprise that many of the iconic bars are set within buildings of significant distinction.
For style, head to the oldest restaurant in town, Rogano. Enjoy a cocktail in the Oyster Bar surrounded by the art deco interior – an exact replica of the state room of the RMS Queen Mary ocean liner, which was built on the River Clyde in the 30s.
Also in keeping with the city’s shipbuilding heritage is The Anchor Line on St Vincent Place, which was the booking office for Anchor Line cruise ships. The Grade A1 listed building has been restored to its former glory, celebrating the grand ocean voyages between Glasgow and New York, with a US and Scottish inspired cocktail menu.
For breathtaking surroundings head for Tellers Bar at The Corinthian Club, just around the corner from George Square. Dating back to 1842 and originally home to the Glasgow Ship Bank, The Corinthian Club is one of the city's most elaborate and richly decorated buildings both internally and externally with a cocktail list to match.
You can’t discuss the city’s built heritage without referencing Glasgow’s most famous son, Charles Rennie Mackintosh – the genius art nouveau designer and architect. Hipster vegan hangout and gig venue, Stereo Café Bar, occupies the lower floors of the Mackintosh designed former Daily Record Newspaper building.
Set below Glasgow Central Station, Alston Bar & Beef takes its name from the street which was demolished to make way for the station’s construction in the 1870s. Alston’s is bathed in blue light and serves up 50+ gins, including 15 from across Scotland.
For a swish and swanky brunch, there’s Hutchesons City Grill. The decadent dining experience set within a Grade A listed building, serves up brunch for two that includes a bottle of Prosecco, freshly squeezed orange juice, a basket of butter croissants, and brunch dish each.
The Tearooms at The Butterfly and Pig is a cosy, vintage spot for lunch, with homemade cakes, sandwiches and comforting dishes, alongside teas or tipples served up in delightfully mismatched crockery.
Moving into the latter half of the day and it’s time for afternoon tea! Enjoy a leisurely time working your way through sandwiches, cakes and scones within the stunning surrounds of the archways and glazed tiles of Cup Tea Lounge, where you can substitute your lady grey tea for a cocktail, gin or champagne.
The Botany is located north of the city on Maryhill Road and is owned by well-known restaurateur Alan Tomkins. Grab a seat in the modern, relaxed conservatory which overlooks a pretty area of green space, and enjoy expertly mixed cocktails and posh pub grub.
For a refreshing afternoon pint, try Innis & Gunn’s flagship bar and on-site microbrewery at Ashton Lane, or one of the two Brewdog pubs run by craft beer experts, Brewdog in the west neighbourhood and Doghouse in the Merchant City – both perfect pit stops after city jaunts.
Glasgow is firmly part of the craft beer and spirits movement with a number of independent breweries, specialist bars and distilleries popping up across the city.
Gin 71 is the night-time incarnation of Cup Tea Lounge, with artisan gins, homebrew tonics and cocktails on the menu. Like a number of the gin bars in the city they stock gins from local suppliers, including Glasgow based Makar Gin. If whisky is more your thing, then you can visit the Clydeside Distillery. Opened in 2017, at the moment you can sample their exclusive blended whiskies, with their first batch of single malt whisky likely to be released in late 2020. And for the first time in 300 years, Glasgow has its very own spiced rum distillery too. Head to the west neighbourhood for tour of the Wester Spirit Co. distillery for a behind the scenes look in to how it's produced, followed by a cocktail masterclass afterwards.
Meanwhile, the city’s brewery district can be found in the east neighbourhood. There’s the UK's first experiential craft brewery, Drygate, where you can watch the beer brewing as you enjoy a pint. Head next door to Wellpark Brewery for a tour of the oldest brewery in Scotland and get behind the scenes of the iconic Tennent’s brand. Finally, purists will fancy a pint at WEST Brewery, producers of German-style beers, all being brewed in strict accordance with the 1516 Reinheitsgebot, the ancient German Purity Law. On a sunny day it’s a decision you won’t regret – the WEST beer hall looks onto Glasgow Green and you’ll get a great view of the stunning Templeton Building that the brewery is housed in too!