Sure, Edinburgh might be the prettiest, but Glasgow has long been celebrated as the best spot in Scotland for culture, cuisine and clubbing. Here’s our guide to some of the must see spots in town.
FOOD AND DRINK
Despite enduring myths about Scotland’s cuisine involving little more than deep friend Mars Bars, Glasgow boasts arguably the country’s finest food scene. One of the jewels in the restaurant crown is the city centre’s seafood restaurant Rogano on Exchange Place, near the well worth visiting Gallery of Modern Art.
A stalwart that’s been around for almost eight decades, setting foot in Rogano is like stepping out in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, with a chic Art Deco design and waiters in crisp white shirts with black tie and waistcoats. Mains include roast monkfish with spinach and chorizo or grilled sea bass with crab cakes and there’s an oyster bar too, if you’re feeling indulgent.
Amidst the cobbled thoroughfares of the Merchant City, Café Gandolfi is another classic on Albion Street. Always thrumming with excited chatter, the great glass windows offer perfect street watching while you devour their classic haggis, neeps (turnip) and tatties (potato). Upstairs, the dinky but architecturally impressive Bar Gandolfi, with its chunky, roughly hewn wooden tables, is a great spot for a cheeky whiskey. While you’re in the hood, also check out Brutti Ma Buoni, a great bar housed in The Brunswick Hotel, and grab the city’s best tapas at Compadres.
Sauchiehall Street (try saying that one after a few beers) links the city to the leafy West End, with the best spots being the edgy, artsy Nice N Sleazy with a live music venue downstairs and the nearby Variety Bar, always packed full of local characters. Bath Street’s bar scene is jumping, and jump around in the The Buff Club too.
Head to the lush greenery of the city’s West End, revolving around the gorgeous Kelvingrove Park and the impressive University of Glasgow up on Gilmorehill, and the best spot for a fancy feed is Ashton Lane’s Ubiquitous Chip. Resembling a sort of indoors/outdoor starlit courtyard, complete with actual trees and running water, it’s magical and
serves up fine fare like Galloway roe deer or Shetland cod fillet. The attached pub, complete with open fireplace, makes for an ideal nightcap.
If you’re on a tighter budget, cross the laneway for one of the city’s best drinking holes, Bar Brel, where you can grab moules frites with big slabs of crusty bread and wash it down with your choice from their great draught beer list, with the likes of Leffe, Joker IPA and Kelburn Ale.
The East End is home to Glasgow’s very own draught beer, Tennent’s. Though it’s kinda like a Carlton Draft/Toohey’s equivalent, their Wellpark brewery houses the awesome Drygate, where you can grab yourself some crafty goodness.
Famed for it’s vibrant party after dark attitude, the good folks of Edinburgh can often be spotted fleeing westward on the train for a decent night out. Handily, two of
the city’s best nightclubs are right round the corner from each other in the heart of the city.
The Sub Club is buried in a Jamaica Street basement in the shadow of Central Station. With quarter of a century’s service under its belt, the Subbie regularly hits best club lists worldwide and is the spiritual home of hedonistic house and top-notch techno, with Optimo the best night.
Just round the corner, housed in the railway tunnels beneath Central Station, The Arches is Scotland’s biggest club complex and has played host to a raft of international stars as well as British DJ heroes like Carl Cox. If you like your
dancing a bit more indie, head up to Renfrew Street’s The Art School and mix with a creative crowd fuelled by cheap drinks and impressive fashion choices.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is where Oasis were spotted and signed up back in 1993, and they’ve always supported strong local talent too.
One of Glasgow’s most famous sons, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, is to the city what Gaudi is to Barcelona. An artist and designer, he’s responsible for one of the city’s architectural and cultural highlights, The Glasgow School of Art, thankfully not totally destroyed by a recent, devastating fire.
Rooms on Buchanan Street. The Hunterian also has a mighty creepy but fascinating medical curio exhibition.
Two of Glasgow’s best theatres are the Citizens Theatre in the Gorbals, founded in 1943 and showcasing contemporary Scottish theatre as well as re-staged classics, and also the Merchant City’s Tron Theatre.
Commonwealth Games fever! Read up on the games with this informative book by Brian Olivers. Buy it here.
The Commonwealth Games are coming to Glasgow in July 2014. Following the roaring success of the London 2012 Olympics the spotlight is on and excitement levels are high. Sports journalist Brian Oliver brings these often overlooked Games to life with fantastic stories of the athletes who have competed over the years. He delves into past games for the best tales, and interviews the key protagonists to unveil the highs and lows of this eccentric sporting competition.