Glasgow’s bar scene is bustling with everything from sophisticated to quaint, laidback to lively, craft brew to cocktail.
From glamourous 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 hot spots in Glasgow that will meet your expectations.
There are the glamourous hubs of the Merchant Square and Princes Square which both offer a choice of bars and restaurants, within grand surrounds of architectural significance.
Enjoy a cocktail in The Restaurant Bar & Grill in Princes Square, whilst overlooking the stylish spiral staircases. Or head to Metropolitan Cocktail Bar or classic wine bar, Boudoir, within Merchant Square; and enjoy a glass of wine 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 end is home to an array of bars and restaurants, including Brel, The Ubiquitous Chip and the Innis & Gunn flagship bar and on-site microbrewery.
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 Bar in the 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 Scandi design-inspired bar.
For somewhere off the radar, check out Swing. The underground bar and club captures the atmosphere of the roaring 20s & 30s, offering an evening of opulence, cocktails and live jazz music. And for somewhere totally on the radar, try out The Corinthian Club. Dating back to 1842, the former High Court is richly-decorated, with a stand-out feature being the 500,000 piece mosaic tile floor in the Bootleg bar.
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 from the likes of Brutti Compadres and cocktail bar Gin 71 and feel like you’re on the continent, especially on a sunny day (and if it’s not sunny, then blankets and heaters are on hand!).
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’s Place, which was the booking officer 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.
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.
Meanwhile, Alston Bar & Beef, has even less natural daylight, as it is set below Central Station. Taking 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. The decadent dining 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.
When it comes to bars, it’s no longer just about the whisky. Glasgow is firmly part of the craft beer and gin revolution with a number of independent breweries and dedicated gin bars 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.
Meanwhile, the city’s brewery district can be found in the East End. There’s the UK's first experiential craft brewery, Drygate; home of Scotland's favourite pint, Wellpark Brewery and independent bar, restaurant and brewery, West which is based in the iconic Templeton building. Each of these breweries have become hugely successful and supply many of the city’s bars and restaurants with their unique brews while offering visitors much more than simply a pint, with restaurants, tours, training, markets and more.
Do you want to continue your night out into the small hours? Check out the After Hours experiences for Glasgow's clubbing scene.