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A visit to Glasgow, or Scotland for that matter, is not complete without taking in one of the many authentic traditional pubs for a 'wee dram'. The city is full of old fashioned bars, complete with wood panelling, stained glass windows and unimposing music. Friendly staff are always on hand to recommend a proper pint or which whisky to choose, with a generous dollop of Glaswegian banter from the locals!
No.1 on TripAdvisor for traditional pubs in Glasgow and an award-winner to boot, The Pot Still is a family run pub, which was established in 1867, has over 700 whiskies and numerous cask ales. The friendly staff pride themselves on finding every customer their perfect dram.
Opened in 1999, the Ben Nevis is a relative newcomer on our traditional pubs list with an impressive design of exposed stone, reclaimed materials and a cosy fire that makes you feel as if you’re in a Highland bothy, rather than on the hippest strip in the UK – Finnieston. The Ben Nevis is one of four traditional pubs in the Finnieston area, known for their Highlands and Islands vibe; the others being The Snaffle Bit, The Park Bar and Islay Inn. Each are renowned for their live toe-tapping folk music, fine whisky selections and great craic!
The Horseshoe Bar
At 104 feet and three inches, the grand Victorian bar is apparently the longest in Europe and merits an architectural listing all of its own. Found down a wee lane next to Central Station, The Horseshoe is also famous for its Karaoke nights in the lounge upstairs. Famous names have visited over the years, including The All Blacks, Sam Torrance, Oliver Reid, and Roy Rogers, who, legend has it, rode his horse Trigger right around the bar.
The Clutha Vaults
Named after the Gaelic word for the Clyde, The Clutha has an almost 200 year old history. Famous fans of The Clutha have been immortalised in a massive mural on the side of the pub, including Billy Connolly, Jimmy Reid, Spike Milligan, Frank Zappa, Alex Harvey and John Martyn. Across the road is The Scotia Bar, which was established even earlier (1792) and is one of a number of Glasgow pubs that lay claim to being the oldest in the city. Like The Clutha, The Scotia has a history of radical politics, music on every night and a good pint!
The Bon Accord
This ale drinkers’ mecca opened its doors in 1971. Selling around 900 different beers and 380 malt whiskies, the award-winning bar was voted the UK’s Best Whisky Bar 2014 and has collected the CAMRA Bar of the Year for Glasgow seven times. Not content with just running a bar, the staff at Bon Accord also run three beer festivals per year and offer cellar tours for groups of between 10 and 20 people.
The Drake is a small independent bar in the west end that has everything you would want and expect from a cosy Scottish pub - exposed stone walls, Harris Tweed seating, a coal fire and most importantly a warming menu, heated rear garden, and well-stocked bar. Opened in 2010, The Drake is the newest on our list.
Another Glasgow institution is The Griffin, established in 1903 the pub has had a major renovation but still retains many of the original ornate features. It's also a popular watering hole for cast and crew performing at the neighbouring King's Theatre.
Established in 1797 originally as a coffeehouse, Sloans is tucked away between adjoining lanes that sit behind two of the city’s busiest shopping streets - Argyle St and Buchanan St. Set over three floors, many original features remain in the Grade A listed building, including the ceramic tiled entrance and a grand mahogany staircase. The jewel in Sloans’ crown is the Grand Ballroom, complete with vaulted ceiling, period marble fireplace and intricate stained-glass windows, it's the location of their famous Friday ceilidh and many a wedding.
The State Bar
Established in 1902, The State Bar is known for its continually changing selection of cask ales from all over the UK, resulting in a CAMRA award twice in recent years. Entertainment is also high on the agenda with a blues jam session, which has been held every Tuesday for the last eighteen years, a monthly Americana acoustic night, as well as home to the longest running comedy club in Glasgow!
The Allison Arms
Opened in 1884, the Allison Arms is located on Pollokshaws Road south of the city centre. It is a dog-friendly, traditional neighbourhood pub where you can enjoy a great selection of ales and malts and some great banter with the locals.
The Admiral Bar
The Admiral manages to combine both a traditional bar with a modern twist. The basement plays host to gigs and club nights, including one of the coolest monthly club nights in the city Pretty Ugly, whilst the traditionally designed upstairs pub serves up pints and 2 for 1 stonebaked pizzas to an eclectic clientele.
A drink in a traditional pub could be followed with a trip to a comedy show, where you can experience the famous Glaswegian humour first-hand.