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Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland, with a population of about 600,000 in the city itself and over 2 million if the surrounding towns of the Clydeside conurbation are taken into account. Located at the west end of Scotland's Central Belt on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow's historical importance as Scotland's main industrial centre has been challenged by decades of change and various regeneration efforts. Today the third largest city in the entire United Kingdom by population, it remains one of the nation's key economic centres outside London. In recent years, Glasgow has been awarded the European titles of City of Culture (1990), City of Architecture and Design (1999) and Capital of Sport (2003). In 2008, Glasgow became the 2nd Scottish city to join the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was named as a UNESCO City of Music. In preparing its bid, Glasgow counted an average of 130 music events a week ranging from pop and rock to Celtic music and opera. The city has transformed itself from being the once mighty industrial powerhouse of Britain to a centre for commerce, tourism, and culture. Glasgow will be the host city for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Glasgow has become one of the most visited cities in the British Isles, and visitors will find a revitalised city centre, the best shopping outside London without a doubt, excellent parks and museums (most of which are free), and easy access to the Scottish Highlands and Islands. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Glasgow
As befits a city that was at its richest through the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, the centre of Glasgow has a fine legacy of Victorian and Edwardian buildings with their lavish interiors and spectacular carved stonework. Outside of the central area the main streets are lined with the legendary tenements - the city's trademark 2 or 3 story residential buildings built from red or blonde sandstone which positively glow during the summer. The decline of Glasgow's economy during the mid to late 20th Century led to the mass construction of high-rise tower blocks and concrete housing estates during the 1960s and 1970s. The dramatic and striking Red Road Flats form the tallest residential property in Europe. Many 1970s office buildings in the centre have been cleared away by state-of-the-art glass structures as Glasgow's burgeoning financial services industry continues to grow. For more information on Glasgow's architecture, try and get hold of a copy of Central Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide, by Charles McKean and others.
Glasgow was also the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of the "Glasgow Four," a group of leading proponents of art nouveau architecture. Indeed, during his lifetime, Mackintosh was probably better regarded abroad than he was in his native Glasgow, even apparently inspiring Frank Lloyd Wright. However, he was recently resurrected as one of the cities most beloved sons. You will notice, along with quite a few of his buildings to see in the city, including his magnum opus, the Glasgow School of Art, many other knock-offs and impersonations exist. However, despite the 'cult' of Mackintosh, Glasgow produced many other fine architects, the best known of whom is probably Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.
The following list is a selection of significant buildings in Glasgow, roughly arranged starting in the City Centre and moving west and south:
- Glasgow Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Mungo), Cathedral Square, Castle Street, ☎ +44 141 552 6891. Summer: M-Sa 09:30-17:30, Su 13:00-17:00; Winter: 09:30-16:30, Su 13:00-16:30. A fine example of Gothic architecture dating from medieval times and built on a site first consecrated in 397 AD. Behind the cathedral atop a steep hill is the Necropolis cemetery – dominated by the statue of John Knox and described by Victorians as a literal “City of The Dead”. Free.
- City Chambers, George Square (train: Glasgow Queen Street), ☎ +44 141 287 2000. Guided tours M-F at 10:30AM and 2:30PM. This imposing structure in George Square was built in 1888 in the Italian Renaissance style and is the headquarters of Glasgow City Council. Tours of the building are available daily, and visitors can see the magnificent marble staircases, lobbies, see the debating chamber and the lavish banqueting hall. In front the building, George Square, the city's notional centre, is populated by several statues of civic leaders and famous figures from history and is often used for outdoor events. Free.
- Glasgow Cross, At the junction of Trongate, Saltmarket, High Street, Gallowgate and London Road. This intersection marks the original medieval centre of the city and is dominated by the clock tower of the original City Chambers (destroyed by fire in 1926), and the small hexagonal building known as the Tolbooth. Just to the west on Trongate is the Tron Theatre, a former church that was turned into a prominent theatre.
- St Enoch Subway Station, St Enoch Square, Argyle and Buchanan Streets (subway: St Enoch). Always visible. The original subway station, a quaint building now used as a coffee shop, sits in the middle of St Enoch Square. Free.
- Glasgow Central Station, Gordon Street, between Union and Hope Streets (train: Glasgow Central), ☎ 0845 711 4141. M-Sa 4AM-12:30AM, Su 7AM-12:30AM. The city's principal railway terminus, which is worth entering for its grand interior, which you can access from Gordon Street on the north side of the building. On the exterior, a feature of note is the massive glass walled bridge (known as Hielanman's Umbrella) which spans Argyle Street and holds up the tracks and platforms. Free.
- Willow Tea Rooms, 217 Sauchiehall Street, ☎ +44 141 332 0521. During the temperance movement, the idea of "tearooms", places where you could relax and enjoy non-alcoholic refreshments in differently themed rooms, became popular in Glasgow. This one, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904, was the most popular of its time and has been lovingly restored.
- Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street (subway: Cowcaddens), ☎ +44 141 353 4526. Tour schedules vary by season. Seen as one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's finest buildings, housing one of Britain's pre-eminent schools of art, design and architecture. Guided tours of the building are available (you must book in advance), or if you want to create your own art in the building, you can enroll for evening classes or the summer school. £8.75 adults, £7 students/seniors, £4 youth.
- Mitchell Library, North Street (train: Charing Cross), ☎ +44 141 287 2999. M-Th 9AM-8PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, closed Su. One of Glasgow's best public buildings, it is the largest municipal public reference library in Europe. The imposing structure houses a spectacular reading room, although it has to be said much of the Mitchell's extensive collection is housed in the rather ugly 1970s extension attached to the rear. You can easily lose a day in here! Free.
- There are a number of interesting bridges over the River Clyde in the City Centre. The Tradeston Pedestrian Bridge crosses the river west of the M8 motorway and is nicknamed the "Squiggly Bridge" by locals because of its distinctive S-shape. Nearby, the Kingston Bridge carries the M8 motorway across the Clyde. Built in 1969, the bridge is far more spectacular to stand beneath than drive over, with an almost cathedral-like vista and a strange aura of calmness that betrays the likely traffic chaos that is going unseen directly above your head. Further west, the Clyde Arc is a relatively new and prominent bridge over the River Clyde that has an elegant curved design and is unique for how it crosses the river at an angle.
- Clyde Auditorium, Exhibition Way (train: Exhibition Centre), ☎ +44 141 248 3000. Affectionately known by Glaswegians as the Armadillo, this building is a concert hall which forms part of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre complex. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, and contrary to popular belief, not inspired by the Sydney Opera House, it is in fact supposed to represent ship's hulls. The auditorium has now garnered some world fame for being the place where the Susan Boyle audition - one of the most downloaded YouTube video clips in history - was filmed.
- Glasgow University, University Avenue (subway: Hillhead), ☎ +44 141 330 5511. Exterior and campus always visible; Visitor centre M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM. Founded as an institution in 1451, the University itself is the fourth oldest in the entire United Kingdom, and one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country. Contains the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, including a reconstruction of Mackintosh's house. The exterior of the main building is fine in its own right; the current main University building is neo-gothic and dates from 1870, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (the man who also designed London's St Pancras railway station). The main building has an interesting visitor's centre (open all year round) which is free and sits atop a drumlin with commanding views over Kelvingrove Park and the western fringes of the city. Free.
- Atop a steep hill across Kelvingrove Park from the university is Park Circus, an area of Georgian townhouses laid out in a radial pattern similar to the English city of Bath. This neighbourhood has made the transition from originally being an upmarket residential area to a prestigious office district for mainly legal and consultancy firms, although in recent years there have been moves to encourage the companies back into the city centre and return the buildings to residential use. If you make the effort to walk through Kelvingrove Park, go up to this area as it is worth descending down the grand Granite Staircase, on the south side of the hill facing the river.
- Scotland Street School, 225 Scotland St (subway: Shields Road), ☎ +44 141 287 0500. Tu-Th and Sa 10AM–5PM, F and Su 11AM–5PM, closed M. Charles Rennie Mackintosh's last major building - thoughtfully designed, with an excellent museum covering both Mackintosh and the changing faces of schools. Free.
- House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park (train: Dumbreck or subway: Ibrox), ☎ +44 141 353 4770. Opening times vary. Built in the 1990s to Mackintosh's original 1901 entry for a design competition. £4.50 adults, £3 youth/students.
- Holmwood House, 61-63 Netherlee Road (in Cathcart, in the South Side of the city), ☎ 0844 493 2204. Summer months only, Th-M 12PM-5PM. Now run by the National Trust, and currently in the process of being renovated, Holmwood House is one of the best examples of the work of Glasgow's other great architect: Alexander 'Greek' Thomson. £6 adults, £16 family, £5 concession.
Museums and art galleries
The Victorians also left Glasgow with a wonderful legacy of museums and art galleries, which the city has dutifully built upon. The following list is only a selection. The city council alone runs several museums and galleries. Visitors should be aware that most of the galleries appear to be closed on Sundays, and that - to the understandable annoyance of many visitors to Glasgow - most of the museums shut their doors at 5PM.
- Burrell Collection, 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Pollok Country Park (train: Pollokshaws West, then walk through Pollok Park), ☎ +44 141 287 2550. M-Th, Sa 10:00-17:00; F, Su 11:00-17:00. This is a collection of over 9,000 artworks gifted to the city of Glasgow by Sir William Burrell and housed in a purpose-built museum in the Pollok Estate in the south of the city. Free.
- Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square (on Queen Street in the City Centre), ☎ +44 141 287 3050. M-W, Sa 10:00–17:00, Th 10:00–20:00, F and Su 11:00–17:00. This gallery houses a terrific collection of recent paintings and sculptures, with space for new exhibitions. In the basement is one of Glasgow's many public libraries, with free internet access and cafe. Free.
- Glasgow Police Museum, 30 Bell Street, ☎ +44 141 552-1818. Summer: M-Sa 10:30-16:30, Su 12:00-16:30; Winter: Tu 10:00-16:30, Su 12:00-16:30, closed M and W-Sa. The Glasgow police force was the first in the world, dating back to 1779. It's dealt with a number of famous cases and many of the paraphernalia relating to some of these are in this museum. There's also a section dealing with the history of police forces throughout the world. Free.
- Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific Quay (train: Exhibition Centre or subway: Cessnock), ☎ +44 141 420 5000. Summer: Daily 10AM-5PM; Winter: W-F 10AM-3PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM, closed M-Tu. Has hundreds of interactive science exhibits for children, an IMAX cinema, and the 125-meter Glasgow Tower, the only tower in the world which can rotate 360 degrees from its base. £10 adults, £8 children/seniors; add £2.50 for planetarium or IMAX cinema.
- Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University Of Glasgow, University Avenue, ☎ +44 141 330 4221. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4PM, closed M. The art gallery contains a world famous Whistler collection, and various temporary exhibitions. It also contains The Mackintosh House, a reconstruction of the principal interiors from the Glasgow home of the Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928). The separate museum is the oldest public museum in Scotland and has a variety of exhibits, including a display on the Romans in Scotland (featuring items found in the Roman Fort in Bearsden), one on the various dinosaur discoveries found on the Isle of Skye, and various temporary exhibitions. Free; Mackintosh House £5 adults, £3 concessions.
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle Street (subway: Kelvinhall), ☎ +44 141 276 9599. M-Th, Sa 10AM-5PM; F, Su 11AM-5PM. The city's grandest public museum, with one of the finest civic collections in Europe housed within this Glasgow Victorian landmark. The collection is quite varied, with artworks, biological displays and anthropological artifacts. The museum as a whole is well-geared towards children and families, with "discovery center" rooms of interactive exhibits and all the displays labeled with easy-to-understand descriptions. The "Life" wing holds fossils, wildlife displays, artifacts from ancient Egypt, exhibits on the Scottish people, a hall of arms and armor, and even a Submarine Spitfire hanging in the main hall of the wing. The "Expression" wing holds a fantastic collection of fine and decorative arts, including Salvador Dalí's celebrated "Crucifixion of St. John of the Cross" painting and select works by renowned artists like Van Gogh, Monet and Rembrandt, as well as a hall of period Glasgow furnishings by Mackintosh. The main hall has a functioning organ, and daily recitals are played in the afternoon. Free.
- People's Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green, ☎ +44 141 276 0788. People's Palace Tu-Th, Sa 10AM–5PM, F, Su 11AM–5PM, closed M; Winter Gardens Daily 10AM-5PM. The People's Palace is a great folk museum, telling the history of Glasgow and its people, from various perspectives, displaying details of Glasgow life (including one of Billy Connolly's banana boots). The Winter Gardens, adjacent, is a pleasant greenhouse with a reasonable cafe. Free.
- Provand's Lordship, 3 Castle Street (opposite Glasgow Cathedral), ☎ +44 141 276 1625. Tu-Th, Sa 10AM-5PM; F, Su 11AM-5PM, closed M. Glasgow's oldest remaining house, built in 1471, has been renovated to give visitors and idea what the inside of a Glasgow house was like circa 1700. Free.
- Riverside Museum, 100 Pointhouse Place (subway: Kelvinhall), ☎ +44 141 287 2720. M-Th and Sa 10AM-5PM, F and Su 11AM-5PM. A recently reopened museum with an excellent collection of vehicles and models to tell the story of transport by land and sea, with a unique Glasgow flavour. Besides the usual rail locomotives, buses, trams, cars and planes, the museum also includes a recreated subway station and a street scene of old Glasgow. Behind the museum is the Tall Ship, the Glenlee, built in 1896 and one of only five Clydebuilt sailing ships that remain afloat in the world today, now restored and open to the public. Free; Tall Ship £5 adults, £3 children (first child free with paying adult).
- Sharmanka, Trongate 103, ☎ +44 141 552 7080. Performances Th and Su 7PM or by individual appointment. A kinetic gallery / theatre. It consists of a number of strange machines created by the Russian artists Eduard Bersudsky. The machines perform stories and the light and sound during the performance adds to a really unique and amazing experience. £8, £5 concessions, children under 16 free.
- St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art, 2 Castle Street (next to the Glasgow Cathedral), ☎ +44 141 276 1625. Tu-Th, Sa 10AM-5PM, F, Su 11AM-5PM, closed M. This museum features exhibits relating not only to Glasgow's patron saint and the growth of Christianity in the city, but numerous exhibits pertaining to many faiths practised locally and worldwide. Free.
- Street Level Photoworks, Trongate 103, ☎ +44 141 552 2151. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12PM-5PM, closed M. An alternative art gallery/installation space. Free.
- Tenement House, 145 Buccleuch Street, ☎ 0844 493 2197. Summer months only, Daily 1PM-5PM. A National Trust for Scotland site, a middle class Glasgow tenement house preserved in pretty much the way it was in the early 20th century. £6 adults, £16 family, £5 concessions.
- Transmission Gallery, 28 King Street, ☎ +44 141 552 7141. Tu-W, F-Sa 11:00-17:00, Th 11:00-20:00. A gallery set up in 1983 by ex-students of the Glasgow School of Art as a hub for the local art community and to provide exhibition space. Free.
For a large city, Glasgow has a surprising number of parks and green spaces; there is more parkland here than in any other British city.
- Bellahouston Park.
- Botanic Gardens. A major park in the West End (the most popular aside from Kelvingrove), the Botanic Gardens contains extensive tropical and temperate plant collections from around the world.
- Glasgow Green (train: Bridgeton or Argyle Street, then walk or take the bus along London Road). The most famous of the Glasgow parks, Glasgow Green was founded by Royal grant in 1450 and has slowly been enclosed by the city and evolved from grazing land into a modern public park. "The Green" as its known to the locals is one of the major venues for concerts and open air events in Glasgow. Among the highlights are the People's Palace and Winter Gardens (covered above), Nelson's Memorial, an obelisk or needle: built to commemorate Nelson's victory at the battle of Trafalgar, the Templeton Carpet Factory, with its ornate brick work (now a business centre), and the Doulton Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world. There is limited official parking in or around the green and the area is notorious for car crime. Be aware the council will tow away illegally parked vehicles and charge you up to £250 to get them back!
- Kelvingrove Park. In the city's West End, this is also a very popular park, particularly with the students from the nearby University. The most prominent landmark here is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (covered above) on the banks of the River Kelvin which runs through the park. It also contains a recently constructed skate park.
- Mugdock Park.
- Queen's Park (near Mount Florida or Queens Park stations.).
- Strathclyde Country Park.
- Victoria Park.
- Fossil Grove, Victoria Park, ☎ +44 141 276 1695. Summer months only; Daily 10AM-4PM. The remains of an ancient forest, around 330 million years old. This is the only example of a preserved forest from this period on Earth.
For the visitor, central Glasgow can be divided into two main areas, the City Centre, which contains the majority of tourist sights and much of the city's shopping and entertainment, as well as its commercial heart, and the West End, the bohemian area of cafés, restaurants and bars surrounding the University of Glasgow and Kelvingrove Museum. The best way to get good vistas of the city is to climb the many "drumlins" (hills) upon which the central area is built.
Outside of central Glasgow, the East End lies east of the City Centre centred along Gallowgate and London Road. The South Side contains the neighbourhoods that lie to the south of the River Clyde, while the North Side is the area north of central Glasgow. Along the banks of the River Clyde west of the City Centre is an old industrial area which is in the process of regeneration and contains many new and impressive structures, such as the Clyde Auditorium, the Science Centre and the Riverside Museum.
The City Centre (known as "town" or "the toon" to locals) is bounded by the M8 motorway to the north and west, High Street to the east, and the River Clyde to the south. This is the area where most visitors will start, and the most notable elements are the grid plan of streets and the lavish Victorian and Edwardian buildings and civic squares which give the area much of its character. The main arteries of the City Centre are Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street which both run on an east-west axis. They are linked by Buchanan Street which runs north-south. Together, these three streets form the main shopping thoroughfares.
The eastern side of the City Centre is a sub-district known as Merchant City, which contains Glasgow's original medieval core, centred around the Glasgow Cross (the junction of Trongate, Saltmarket, High Street, Gallowgate and London Road). Merchant City extends up to George Square, with many ornate buildings that date back to Glasgow's emergence as an industrial city. High Street north of the Glasgow Cross is the main artery of Old Glasgow and leads uphill to the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis cemetery.
The western area of the City Centre contains the city's core commercial and business district and is dominated by Blythswood Hill, which is centred around Blythswood Square. Running parallel to Sauchiehall Street, Bath Street is the main route into the neighbourhood and has a rich mix of independent shops and bars, as well as distinctive Georgian town house style architecture. South of Blythswood Hill is the city's financial district, with many modern glass and steel office buildings which stand alongside their classical counterparts. Further south, on the north bank of the River Clyde is the district of Anderston, formerly a dockland area, badly scarred by the city's industrial decline and the urban regeneration schemes of the 1960s but now being redeveloped as a residential and commercial area.
To the west of the City Centre, no official definition of where the West End boundary line exists, but it can roughly be defined as being bounded by the M8 motorway to the east, Great Western Road to the north, the River Clyde to the South and Crow Road to the west. The nucleus of the area is undoubtedly the neo-Gothic University of Glasgow, which acts as the anchor for this bohemian district, with its lovely architecture, tree lined streets and quaint shopping areas.
The primary east-west artery is Argyle Street/Dumbarton Road, while Byres Road is the main north-south artery and contains a number of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Ashton Lane connects Byres Road to the University campus and is a cobbled backstreet with distinctive whitewashed buildings, holding an eclectic mix of bars and eateries that make it a tourist hotspot (be careful as the Lane can be a bit of a tourist trap during the summer months when the students of the university are not there to keep the bar prices reasonable). To the east of the university campus and just downhill is Kelvingrove Park, with the tree-lined Kelvin Way as the main avenue through the park, which connects with Argyle Street near the Kelvingrove Museum.
There are many nightclubs, concerts and festivals in Glasgow.
Glasgow's been famous for its music scene(s) for at least 20 years, with some top acts literally queuing to play at venues such as the Barrowlands or King Tut's. There's plenty of venues where you're likely to see a good band (and lots of bad bands too); on any day of the week there should be at least several shows to choose from throughout the city, with the number increasing to an even greater variety on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. In no particular order, here follows some pop/indie/rock-orientated venues:
- Nice 'n' Sleazy, on Sauchiehall St. Open until 03:00 every night of the week, with bands on practically every night also. Gigs are downstairs and bar upstairs plays a variety of alternative/rock/punk. Over 18's only (both bar and gigs).
- The Barrowland Ballroom (Gallowgate, 0.5km from Glasgow Cross). The Barrowlands, as it is commonly known, is arguably the city's most famous and most respected live venue - famous for its sprung floor and excellent acoustics.
- King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, on St Vincent St. Where both Oasis and local favourites Glasvegas were discovered.
- ABC, on Sauchiehall St.
- 13th Note, on King St (just off Argyle Street/Trongate).
- Maggie May's (Merchant City, on the corner of Trongate and Albion Street). Pub/restaurant with a lively programme of up and coming bands.
- The Cathouse, on Union St (close to the junction with Argyle Street).
- The Riverside Club, 33 Fox Street (behind St Enoch Square). Glasgow's top ceilidh (Scottish country dancing) venue on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Stereo. City Centre venue with regular indie gigs downstairs, bar and cafe upstairs.
- Glasgow O2 Academy, on Eglinton St (nearest Subway: Bridge Street).
- The Arches, on Argyle St (underneath the "Hielanman's Umbrella" of Central Station). Running one of the UK's best techno nights; Pressure. Note: this is also a theatrical and arts venue, a pub and restaurant.
- Sub Club, on Jamaica St (nearest rail: Central Station). Recently celebrated 20 years, rated one of the best clubs in the world from house to techno to whatever takes your fancy.
- The Tunnel, on Mitchell Street. With the Sub Club and the Arches one of Glasgow's premier dance clubs: frequently hosts top DJ's from round the world, although doesn't quite have The Arches' or the Sub Club's 'underground' reputation.
- The Soundhaus, 47 Hydepark Street. Underground techno and house.
- The Vale, on Dundas St (adjacent to Buchanan Street subway/Queen Street railway station).
- QMU, at University Gardens (West End; nearest Subway: Hillhead).
- The Classic Grand, on Union Street/Jamaica Street (adjacent to Central Station). A former adult cinema now re-purposed as an alternative music venue. Serves the rock/metal/punk/alternative scene 4 nights a week with drinks as low as £1.
The Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre (rail: Exhibition Centre) is the city's premier music venue for major headline acts, even if the acoustics of the halls have always been questionable. More intimate gigs are held in the neighbouring Clyde Auditorium (the armadillo-shaped building). SECC Tickets sells tickets for these.
Arts and theatrical venues
- Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sauchiehall Street (nearest Subway: Buchanan Street). This is the home of The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, one of Europe's leading symphony orchestras. It also produces the world famous Celtic Connections Festival every January.
- Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), 100 Renfrew Street. Primarily a teaching college but is also Glasgow's busiest performing arts venue, hosting over 500 events a year. Primarily classical and contemporary music, ballet and dance, musical theatre, and contemporary drama.
- The Theatre Royal, 282 Hope Street. First opened in 1867, it puts on mainly 'serious' theatre, opera and ballet.
- The Tron, 63 Trongate. Specialises in contemporary works.
- St Andrews in the Square, St Andrew's Square. A restored 18th-century church turned arts venue that puts on classical music and folk.
- Citizens Theatre, 119 Gorbals Street. One of the most famous theatres in the world, and has launched the careers of many international movie and theatre stars. It specialises in contemporary and avant-garde work.
- The King's Theatre, 297 Bath Street. Glasgow's major 'traditional' theatre. It is over 100 years old, and in the midst of a major refurbishment.
- The Pavilion, 121 Renfield Street. The only privately run theatre in Scotland. It was founded in 1904 and has seen many of the greatest stars of music hall perform there: most famously Charlie Chaplin. Nowadays it features mainly 'popular' theatre, musicals and comedy.
- Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, 113-117 Trongate, G1 5HD (entrance to most shows is via the New Wynd, the small lane between T.J.Hughes and Mitchell's Amusement Arcade off Argyle Street), ☎ +44 141 553 0840. until 02 Nov: Th-Sa 12:00-16:00. The oldest surviving music hall in the world, having opened in 1857, in response to the entertainment needs of a growing working class population with pennies in their pockets. It most famously held the début performance of Stan Laurel (of silent movies, slapstick comedy duo Laurel and Hardy fame in 1906), but also hosted Jack Buchnanan and Sir Harry Lauder and a zoo! Acts needed some intestinal fortitude before they trod its boards, since Glasgow audiences were notorious for leaving no turn un-stoned - toilets only arrived in 1893 and young boys used to favour the front of the balcony because from there they could urinate on the heads of the performers on the apron! Electricity and moving pictures arrived in 1896 but by 1938, the Panopticon could no longer compete with more modern Cinemas and less vulgar Variety Theatres and was re-cycled into a tailors shop and factory. It now shows mainly music hall orientated shows: e.g. magic, burlesque and comedy, but also occasionally puts on classical and world music. There's no heating, so dress accordingly. No wheelchair/disabled access. Free admission but donations to support refurbishment are most welcome.
- Oran Mor, 731 Great Western Road. Restaurant, pub, nightclub, theatrical and music venue. Due to its late opening hours, this venue now lies at the heart of the West End social scene.
- The Glasgow International Jazz Festival is held every year in June. Other arts or music festivals of note include The West End Festival, the Merchant City Festival and numerous others. As always, consult the listings magazine The List for further details.
There are two main venues for stand-up comedy in Glasgow.
- The Stand on Woodlands Road (West End)
- Jongleurs in the City Centre
Although other pubs and clubs frequently hold comedy events: see the listings magazine The List for details.
CF also the Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival held yearly thoroughout March/April.
The most interesting films in Glasgow are shown at:
- Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), 12 Rose St, ☎ +44 141 332-8128. Excellent choice of classics, as well as art and foreign-language movies.
- The Grosvenor, Ashton Lane (just off Byres Road in the West End).
- CCA, on Sauchiehall St. Shows films, though it's primarily an art gallery.
- Mainstream films can be seen at the Cineworld on Renfrew St, which is the tallest cinema in the world.
Glasgow also has the 3 biggest football stadia in Scotland. The major events in the football season are the clashes between the two Premier League clubs; Celtic and Rangers. Known as the "Old Firm", with their sectarian undertones, these 90 minute matches produce a profound effect on the city, occasionally, but less frequently in recent times; resulting in violent clashes during or after the game. The Old Firm Derby is generally considered to be one of the best derby matches in the world, in terms of passion and atmosphere generated by both sets of fans, and is considered by many neutrals to be the most intense rivalry in all of Britain. The match itself is always highly anticipated and much talked about before and after. Cup (non-league) ties between these two giants are quite frequent, raising the tensions further. Be aware that getting tickets for "Old Firm" games can be difficult and cup ties near impossible. If you do go to one of these matches it is advised that you do not wear team colours (blue/red/white or orange for Rangers, green/white for Celtic) after the match.
- Hampden Park (nearest Rail: Mount Florida - depart from Glasgow Central). Scotland's national stadium, capacity 52,063, hosts many large sporting events and concerts and also houses the Scottish Football Museum. The Scottish national football team plays its home games here. Is also home to Queen's Park Football Club. It is probably most famous for hosting the 1960 European Cup Final between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt. In more recent times, the UEFA Champion's League Final was held in 2002 between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen and the UEFA Cup Final in 2007 between Seville and Espanyol. It is possible for visitors to have a tour of the stadium and the Scottish Football Museum.
- Celtic Park, Kerrydale Street, Parkhead (First Bus 40/61/62/240/262 go past the stadium). Home of the Football Club, the stadium has a capacity of 60,832, making it the biggest "club" stadium in Scotland and the second largest in the UK, behind only Manchester United's Old Trafford ground. By visiting the Celtic Visitors' Centre, you can take a guided tour of the stadium as well as learn about the history of the club through various informative and impressive exhibitions and an auditorium. The guided tours are available daily at 11am, 12 noon, 1.45pm and 2.30pm (except home matchdays). Saturday matchday tours are available at 9.30, 10.00, 10.30 and 11.00. Adults £8.50, Concessions £5.50 Family Ticket £20 (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children) Under 5’s are admitted free.
- Ibrox Stadium (Subway: Ibrox). This is the home of the Rangers Football Club, capacity 51,082. Ibrox tours run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (non match days only!) and are priced at £5.50 for kids, £8 for adults and £24.50 for a family group (2 adults and 2 children). On the Ibrox tour, you get access to the home dressing room and hear a recorded message from Walter Smith and Ally McCoist before climbing the marble staircase, visit the illustrious trophy room, the blue room and the manager's office. Tickets, except for matches against Celtic, are available online from the club's website, ticket centre at the stadium and club outlets at JJB Sports Stores in Glasgow city centre. Club merchandise is available from the JJB Rangers Megastore located at the stadium and JJB Sports stores in Glasgow, with unofficial merchandise readily available in the environs of the stadium on matchdays. Food is available at the stadium in the Argyll House restaurant and the various burger stands in and around the stadium concourses. The Sportsmans Chip Shop on Copland Road adjacent to the stadium is also popular with the supporters. There are various bars beside the stadium, with the Louden Tavern on Copland Road being the closest. Along Paisley Road West are numerous bars sympathetic to the Rangers cause, such as the Louden Tavern, the Grapes Bar, District Bar and the Kensignton Bar to name but a few.
- Firhill. Home of the Partick Thistle Football Club, also known as "the Jags" (and not actually in the suburb of Partick - the club is actually located in Maryhill). The stadium has a capacity of 10,887. Partick Thistle matches are a good way to see the Glaswegian passion for 'fitba' (football) without the unpleasantness of the Old Firm rivalry, or the high prices for their games.
The city has won the title "Curry Capital of Britain" two years running and has a huge and dynamic range of restaurants, Indian or otherwise. Despite Glasgow being the home town of culinary hero Gordon Ramsay, there are no Michelin-starred fine dining establishments in the city (Glasgow's sole Michelin starred restaurant, Amaryllis - owned by Ramsay himself - embarrassingly folded in 2004), nevertheless there are scores of highly regarded eateries in the city. The restaurants below are some of the culinary highlights of Glasgow.
- The Ubiquitous Chip, 12 Ashton Lane, West End (Subway - Hillhead). Of all Ashton Lane's establishments, "The Chip" as it is popularly known by locals is certainly its most celebrated and most famous. Established by the late great Ronnie Clydesdale - a local legend - this local restaurant has been serving up top quality food using Scottish produce since the early 1970s and is frequently lauded as one of Scotland's finest restaurants. On the expensive side, but well worth it. Booking absolutely essential.
- Arisaig, 1 Merchant Square, Candleriggs, Merchant City, (nearest railway: Queen Street). Another celebrated Glasgow eatery, bar and brasserie notable for its extensive list of wines and Scottish malt whiskies. Also has music nights.
- The Red Onion, 247 West Campbell Street (nearest railway - Central/Charing Cross). Perched high up on Blythswood Hill, this locally owned restaurant uses local produce within international dishes produced by recognised chef John Quigley.
- Roganos, 11 Exchange Place (nearest railway: Queen Street). Legendary seafood restaurant just off Buchanan Street, and Glasgow oldest eatery - surviving since the 1930s with most of its original Art Deco interior still intact.
- The Grill Room at The Square, 29 Royal Exchange Square (nearest railway: Queen Street). Just along from Roganos, this classy establishment has made a name for itself under the leadership of chef David Friel. Quite pricey but worth it.
- The Chardon D'Or, 176 West Regent Street. Owner and head chef Brian Maule is a former business partner of local hero Gordon Ramsay. When Ramsay began his TV career as a celebrity chef, Maule took the chance to branch out on his own and is now a very highly regarded local institution. The result is Chardon D'Or, opened in 2001 and widely recognised as one of the very best quality restaurants in Glasgow. Owner Brian Maule is also well known for strong links with musicians and entertainers, and his restaurant often offers deals combining concerts or shows with fine dining for one fixed price. A popular choice with local businessmen.
- Cafe Gandolfi, 64 Albion Street. A real Glasgow institution, serving fine locally sourced food in a relaxed atmosphere. Great food and great service.
Takeaway/Fish & Chips
Glasgow has taken many different cultural foods and combined them into a unique dining experience. Most takeaways offer Indian dishes (pakora), pizzas and kebabs as well as the more traditional fish and chips or burgers. This has resulted in some takeaways offering a blend of dishes like chips with curry sauce, the donner kebab pizza, the battered and deep fried pizza to name but a few.
Fish & Chips (aka "Fish Supper") is a perennial favourite, and there are a healthy number of fish and chip shops around the city. As mentioned above, many will also offer Asian or Italian dishes alongside the traditional chip shop fayre. Given the Glaswegian's famous fondness for anything deep fried - "bad" establishments don't usually last long. In the centre of town, four of the best "chippies" are:
- Jack McPhees, in City Centre on Hope Street, near Theatre Royal; and West End on Byres Road. Chain of sit down restaurants with table service. Slightly more expensive than a takeaway, but excellent quality.
- The Coronation, Gallowgate (just beyond Glasgow Cross under the City Union railway bridge). A Glasgow institution sitting at the gateway into the Barrowlands area - the usual friendly Glaswegian reception and competitively priced.
- Da Vinci's, Queen Street, City Centre. 24 hour dining in this handily positioned sit-down takeaway near many of the city's nightclubs.
On a side note, the now infamous deep fried Mars Bar - served up in many Glasgow chip shops - did not originate in the city, contrary to popular belief. It was in fact invented in Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire.
- Oriental Yummy, 96 Queen Margaret Drive, Menu and prices. F-Sa 17:00-23:00, Su-Mo 17:00-22:00, W-Th 17:00-22:00 Home deliveries.
- Yumla, 80 Miller St (Merchant City close to George Square).
- The Ho Wong, 82 York Street (Close to Central Station).
- Dragon's I, 311-313 Hope St.
- Amber Regent, 50 West Regent St.
- China Sea Restaurant, 12 Renfield St.
- Mings Restaurant, 2nd Floor, Princes Square, 48 Buchanan St. Chinese, Japanese and Thai food.
- Panda House, 665 Pollokshaws Rd, Home Delivery daily 17:00-23:59
- Brel, Ashton Lane G12 8SJ (in the West End off Byres Rd - nearest Subway: Hillhead), ☎ +44 141 342-4966. Daily 12:00-Late. Well known for its Belgian fare, particularly their moules (Mussel) Pots in a variety of flavours. This Bar/Restaurant is set over 3 levels and sells a range of Belgian beers, including Banana and Raspberry, along with a few of the local Scottish favourites. During the warmer weather there is a large Beer Garden at the rear. There is often free live entertainment. Food Happy Hour M-Su 17:00-19:00 à la carte menu, starters: £2.95-4.95 and mains: £8.95-15.50..
- Stravaigin, 28 Gibson St (adjacent to Glasgow University and Kelvingrove Park in the West End - nearest Subway: Kelvinbridge), ☎ +44 141 334-2665. Established by Ronnie Clydesdale (of Ubiquitous Chip fame), this award winning gastro-pub offers a wide selection of both European and World cuisine made from Scottish ingredients. Also renowned for its creative cocktails.
- Sloans, Argyle Arcade (Morrison Court; off Buchanan St or Argyle Street). Boasts to be 'the oldest bar and restaurant in Glasgow'. You can sit outside if you wish, or try the bistro or other menus. They offer other activities, such as a cinema-EAT experience, ceilidh dancing and more recently various music nights in the upstairs ballroom.
Glasgow has, arguably, the finest Indian food in the United Kingdom, and indeed many Glaswegians now joke that the Indian Curry is their "national dish". Historically, the city's finest Indian restaurants have been clustered together in the Charing Cross area, just beyond the "main" section of Sauchiehall Street, but in recent years the Merchant City has seen a boom in new establishments. Take your pick from Panjea, The Wee Curry Shop, Mother India's Cafe and more. Check out the Ashoka West End (1284 Argyle Street, near Kelvingrove), the Ashoka at Ashton Lane or Kama Sutra (Sauchiehall Street) - all of which are owned by the local Ashoka chain. Glasgow's top Indian restaurants include:
- Balti Club, 66 Woodlands Rd, - arguably one of the finest Indian takeaway in the West End with a proud record and loyal following. Home delivery daily until midnight (Sa-Su 04:00). Order on-line to save.
- Mister Singh's India (149 Elderslie St, Charing Cross - nearest railway: Charing Cross). The flagship branch of the Ashoka/Harlequin chain and is notable for its waiting staff who wear kilts. Booking is advisable Thursday-Sunday evenings.
- The Shish Mahal, 66-68 Park Road, West End (; nearest Subway: Kelvinbridge). Affectionately known simply as "The Shish" by its regulars, this family run establishment has been here for over 50 years.
- The Dhabba (44 Candleriggs, Merchant City). Authentic North Indian restaurant located in the Merchant City and has won numerous awards.
- The Dakhin (89 Candleriggs, Merchant City - above the City Merchant). Sister restaurant to The Dhabba, about 50 yards further north on the same street, but this time specialising in South Indian cuisine it has some great pre-theatre deals and is lauded as much as its sibling.
- Cafe India (29 Albion Street, Merchant City). The original Cafe India in Charing Cross was a Glasgow institution before it was burned down in 2006. Now reborn in the Merchant City area, it's re-established itself as one of the city's top curry spots.
- Killermont Polo Club (2022 Maryhill Road; nearest railway: Maryhill). Upmarket Indian restaurant on the main route out to the affluent north western suburbs of the city. Set in a clubhouse setting, it has won numerous awards and accolades.
- Chillies West End, 176-182 Woodlands Rd. West End. In a fantastic location just outside the city centre, but not quite in to the west end. Offers a unique way to sample many Indian dishes with a tapas style menu.
There are also literally hundreds of takeaway Indian restaurants around the city on nearly every main street, although the quality of these can be very variable. Some are excellent - comparable with anything you'd find in the city centre, whilst others can be rather poor. To be on the safe side, only go on local recommendation.
- Esca near the Tron Theatre is good and inexpensive but often busy.
- Sofias (337 Byres Road) Formerly Antipasti. Excellent quality restaurant; does not offer table bookings—just show up and ask for a table. You won't be waiting long.
- Di Maggio's (Royal Exchange Square, Merchant City; West Nile Street, City Centre). Locally owned chain of family-friendly Italian restaurants with several outlets in the city and outlying towns. Good value and usually no need to book.
- Dino's (35-41 Sauchiehall Street, immediately opposite Cineworld and Royal Concert Hall) One of Glasgow's oldest and best known Italian restaurants. Good quality and friendly service.
- L'Ariosto, 92-94 Mitchell Street. Glasgow G1 3NQ (3 minute walk from Central railway station). One of Glasgow's top Italian restaurants - expensive but award winning and offers its own courtyard and live music.
- Jamie's Italian. 1 George Square (Adjacent to the City Chambers, nearest rail: Glasgow Queen Street) Glasgow branch of the Jamie Oliver empire, although there is little chance of seeing the man himself. No bookings policy, but there have been stories of people being turned away due to overly casual dress.
- La Parmigiana (447 Great Western Road). One of the best of the West End's Italian restaurants, but more upmarket than most.
- Amarone, 2 Nelson Mandela Place +44 141 333-1122 Stylish restaurant with excellent menu. Mains £8-20.
- Little Italy, 205 Byres Rd. More of a café than a restaurant, the pizzas, coffee and hot chocolate are phenomenal. Authentic Italian feel to it. A great place for lunch or an informal dinner, or a pizza after a night out in Ashton Lane. A must if you are in the west end of Glasgow.
- Il Pavone Restaurant. Courtyard, Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street. is regarded as one of the most established, hospitable and fashionable Italian restaurants in Glasgow (within 2 minutes walking distance from Glasgow Central Station).
- Zizzi have two restaurants: 2nd Floor, Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street in the city centre , and 8 Cresswell Lane in the West End 
- Pancho Villas, 26 Bell Street, ☎ +44 141 552 7737. Glasgow G1 1LG (in the Merchant City area opposite Merchant Square). M-Sa 12PM to Late, Su 5PM - Late. It is often very busy of an evening especially towards the end of the week, so it is best to make a reservation. Prices: Set Meals are available Mo-Th between 12PM-5PM for 2Courses - £6.95 and 3Courses - £8.50. A-la-carte Menu, Starters: £2.50-£7.95 and Mains: £8.50-£12.95.
- Café Cossachok, 10 King St, G1 5QP, ☎ +44 141 553 0733. Tu-Th 11:00-15:00, 17:00-21:00; F-Sa 11:00-23:00; Su 16:00-21:00. 65 seat restaurant that opened in 1998 and specialising in dishes from all over the former Soviet Union such as the vegetarian dish of Moldavian Gouvetch, a colourful and winter warming casserole of sweet peppers, potatoes, ginger, peas, aubergines, leek, chilli and garlic served with grilled lavash. Carnivorous Georgians will not go hungry either! Walls are hung with changing exhibitions of oil paintings, pastels, watercolours, prints, ceramics and crafts by artists from around the world. starters £4-8, mains £10-15.
As befits a port town, Glasgow excels at seafood and fish.
- Gamba (225a West George Street). Winner of The List's (local listing magazine) 'Best Restaurant in Glasgow' award, 2003 and 2004. Two AA rosettes.
- Mussel Inn (157 Hope Street). Good quality fish restaurant: has a sister restaurant in Edinburgh.
- Rogano (11 Exchange Place), Sumptuous 1930s style architecture for a total dining experience. Rogano is a Glasgow institution, but beware, especially if you get sucked into their vintage wine list, this place can be extremely expensive.
- The Fast Food Shop, pakora place on Woodlands Road is ideal for guilt-free snacking on the way home from the pub.
- 13th Note. On King Street.
- Mono, over the road in King's Court.
- Stereo, vegan pub in the Renfield Lane near the central station.
- The 78, organic/vegan pub & restaurant in Kelvinhaugh Street (off the west end of Argyle St).
- Tchai Ovna. Tea houses with veggie food, located in West End (off Bank St) and Shawlands.
- Grassroots Organic. On Woodlands Road, Charing Cross.
Glasgow is a city of immigrants and has a thriving international food scene.
- Khublai Khan's: A unique Mongolian Barbeque restaurant that allows you to create your own stir-fry dishes over and over while sampling meat from around the globe. 
Also Try Mzouda (Moroccan), Cafe Argan (Moroccan), Shallal (Lebanese), Kokuryo (Korean), Koshkemeer (Kurdish), Café Serghei, Konaki(Greek) Alla Turca (Turkish) La Tasca (Spanish), Ichiban (Japanese) and the numerous Thai, and Malaysian and Chinese restaurants, including the Yumla, the Thai Siam, the Thai Fountain Rumours and others.
Pubs are arguably the meeting rooms of Scotland’s largest city, and many a lively discussion can be heard in a Glasgow bar. There is nothing Glaswegians love more than "putting the world right" over a pint (or three), whether it’s the Old Firm, religion, weather, politics or how this year’s holidays went. You are guaranteed a warm welcome from the locals, who will soon strike up a conversation.
There are three (or arguably, four) basic drinking areas: these are also good for restaurants. First, there is the West End (the area around Byres Road and Ashton Lane), second there is the stretch of Sauchiehall Street between the end of the pedestrianised area (near Queen Street Station) and Charing Cross (and the various streets off this area). Thirdly there is the Merchant City, which is near Strathclyde University's campus. This is the most 'upmarket' area to drink and eat in, although it still has numerous student dives: start at the University of Strathclyde and wander down towards the Trongate (the West part of this part of town is the gay area). Finally, and up and coming, is the South Side (i.e. South of the Clyde). This used to be very much 'behind the times' socially speaking, but the relocation of the BBC to the South Side and the whole area generally moving 'upmarket' has improved things greatly. Try the area round Shawlands Cross for restaurants, bars, and The Shed nightclub. There are also several hidden gems in and around the Blythswood Square area and the streets between Hope Street and Charing Cross: this being the city's business district however it can feel quite deserted on evenings and weekends.
Be warned though about dress codes, particularly in some of the more upmarket establishments in the city centre and West End: sportswear and trainers (sneakers) are often banned, and some door staff are notoriously "selective" about who is allowed. If confronted with this, go elsewhere. The general "boozer" type pubs have no dress codes, but football shirts are almost universally banned in all: particularly on weekends. One rule to be aware of is that some clubs and upmarket pubs enforce an unwritten policy of not allowing all-male groups of more than about four people. For this reason, it may be advisable to split into groups of two or three. Some pubs in Glasgow are also exclusively the haunt of Old Firm football fans: again, these will be very crowded on football days, can get very rowdy, and should be avoided. Fortunately they are easy to spot; for example, a large cluster of Celtic-oriented pubs exist in the Barrowlands area, while one or two bars on or near Paisley Road West are favourite haunts of Rangers fans.
The following is merely a selection of the many bars, pubs, wine bars and clubs throughout the city.
An increasingly popular pastime in the city is the 'Subcrawl', a pub crawl round Glasgow's underground system, getting off at each of the fifteen stops to go to the nearest pub for a drink. It is advisable to go with a local especially since in some parts on the south side the nearest pub to the underground station is not immediately obvious, but it is a good way to see the different neighbourhoods and pub cultures of the city.
Like any major British city, the central area of Glasgow has its fair share of chain and theme pubs, with establishments from the likes of Whitbread, Yates and of course the ubiquitous JD Wetherspoon:
- The Counting House (George Square – near Queen Street station) formerly a flagship branch of the Bank of Scotland, you can drink here in the splendour of this old Victorian banking hall. Converted into an open plan bar by the Wetherspoon chain, it’s popular with tourists and locals alike, with quirky features such as the bank vault now being used as a wine cellar.
- The Crystal Palace (Jamaica Street – near Central Station and the Jamaica Bridge) Another Wetherspoons establishment, good for evening football; and good place to meet up if you are heading across to the O2 Academy or the Citizen’s Theatre on the other side of the river.
- Waxy O'Connors (Within the Carlton George Hotel on West George Street, next to George Square/Queen Street station); vaguely Irish themed bar with its curious 'Lord of the Rings'-like setting. Spread over six bars, nine rooms and three floors. The premises is a fun place, with steps and stairs running up and down through the maze of rooms and bars, and a rather eclectic mix of "tree trunk" and church gothic interior décor.
Glasgow has many options for whisky, though many may not be immediately be obvious for the passing tourist. Here are some good starting points:
- The Whisky bar in Oran Mor on the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road has a large selection of whiskies. It's a great starting point for the beginner; if you make yourself known to the staff as something of a newbie, then somebody in here will certainly be able to guide you through the different regions and tastes.
- The Pot Still, 154 Hope Street. At a few blocks north of Central Station. It stocks over 300 single malt whiskeys (as well as other drinks, of course), and the staff really know their stuff. It's also an excellent example of a traditional British pub, with a great atmosphere.
Other great options are:
- The Ben Nevis, 1147 Argyle St. Towards the West End.
- Bon Accord, 153 North Street. At near the Mitchell Library at Charing Cross, with over 230 whiskies.
Formerly, Uisge Beatha (pronounced "ooshke beh-hah", Gaelic for "whisky" and translated literally as "water of life") was a great whisky bar with a fantastic folky atmosphere, impromptu live music, and a massive selection of drinks. It has since closed.
Beers & Real Ale
- Republic Bier Halle (9 Gordon Street; off Buchanan Street – 2 mins from Central Station). Quirky beer pub (as the name suggests), where beers from all over the world are served to you after ordering from a menu. This chain is quickly becoming famous for it's 2-for-1 stonebaked pizza deals, and its recently introduced £5 all-you-can-eat buffet midweek (the main branch on Gordon St will service weekends, but not the sister branches!) While the beers can be quite expensive, you'll be hard pushed to find better quality food for the price in the city centre. A must-visit.
- Beer Cafe (Candleriggs – Merchant City; inside the Merchant Square complex) Wide range of local and imported beers both in bottles and draught form.
- Blackfriars (on the corner of Bell Street/Albion Street – Merchant City) Great range of local and other beers/ales both in bottles and draught form, sometimes does live music.
- The Three Judges (Partick Cross, West End – on the intersection of Byres and Dumbarton Roads – nearest Subway: Kelvinhall). Lovely West End establishment with a continually changing board of ales from all over the UK on tap as well as a cider. They also have a fantastic selection of imported bottled beers in the fridge and Frambozen on tap.
- West Brewry Bar (Glasgow Green, East End in the Templeton Building). A Restaurant and micro brewery serving traditional food and German style larger beers.
- Pivo Pivo (Waterloo Street). This bar has a very good selection of beers both on tap and bottled. It is also popular for live music as well. Just round the corner for hope street and they proudly don't sell Tennent's.
Other Real Ale bars can be found at the Bon Accord on Charing X, Clockwork BeerCo near Hampden Park, and also The Three Judges on the Dumbarton Road, at the bottom of Byres Road, which has won the CAMRA award (Campaign For Real Ale) most years for the past 2 decades. Also check out The State off Sauchiehall Street is a similarly good ale venue and a cosy proper pub if you're sick of trendy bars.
The city’s large student population means there are no shortage of student bars, with large concentrations around the Merchant City area (for nearby Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian universities, as well as several nearby colleges), and of course Byres Road and Ashton Lane in the West End for Glasgow University. Another cluster (near Glasgow School of Art) exists along the western reaches of Sauchiehall Street, just beyond the pedestrianised section. Some of the most popular student bars are:
- The Ark (North Frederick Street – close to George Square) and The Hall (457 Sauchiehall Street - rail: Charing Cross, Subway: St. George's Cross), catering for Strathclyde/Caledonian Universities and Glasgow School of Art respectively are both part of the Scream chain of student pubs with their famous "Yellow Card" promotions. Note that entry may be restricted to NUS cardholders only during peak times.
- Strathclyde University Union (90 John Street, Merchant City – short walk from George Square). Notable for once being officially Scotland’s largest pub with 6 bars spread over 10 levels. Entry: £2 for non-members (NUS cardholders - entry fees for event nights may vary, and may be restricted to Strathclyde students)
- Glasgow University Union / Queen Margaret Union (GUU – at the bottom of University Avenue nr the junction with Kelvin Way, QM – University Gardens at the top of Ashton Lane) The University of Glasgow's two official student unions are very different, from the “establishment” GUU to the more quirky and laid back QM. Open to matriculating students from any one of the city's three universities.
- Nice N Sleazy (421 Sauchiehall Street – nearest railway: Charing Cross). A great student institution known locally as "Sleazy's" it's a favourite among Glasgow School of Art students, it’s a cross between a bar and a nightclub, and even a coffee shop by day - one of Glasgow’s best established student venues. Live music in the evenings, and just across the road from the seminal Garage nightclub.
Bath Street has a constantly shifting array of "style bars", which become more numerous as you walk up towards the financial district on Blythswood Hill. The quality varies wildly depending on your taste and tolerance. Some of the best are:
- Bar Buddha (408 Sauchiehall Street) – The original branch on St. Vincent Street is now closed - and mourned by its fans for being arguably far more atmospheric than its successor, but still a quirky style bar with bags of character.
- Corinthian (Ingram Street – Merchant City – nearest railway: Queen Street) – Wickedly pretentious bar/restaurant converted from and old bank in the centre of Glasgow’s designer shop district with beautifully restored interior fittings. Food served is of a high standard, although drinks can be expensive. Note that a dress code (smart/casual - no sports footwear) is strictly enforced after 6PM.
- Hummingbird (186 Bath Street). Newly opened bar/club/restaurant with extremely stylish, avant-garde decor and 4 floors.
- Bunker (on the corner of Hope Street and Bath Street). Popular bar with office workers from the nearby financial area, and a good base to start a night out from.
- Kushion (158-166 Bath Street; nearest rail - Charing Cross) Meditterrenean basement theme bar, restaurant and nightclub. Close to King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Student friendly.
Apart from Stravaigin and Brel in the West End (see the Restaurant section above), there are a few gems in and around the city centre.
- Strata (At the southern end of Queen Street, near Argyle Street). Award winning gastropub split over two levels. Well known for its cocktail bar.
- Babbity Bowsters (16-18 Blackfriars Street – Merchant City; nearest railway - High Street) – Notable for its fine range of imported lagers, the bar meals are excellent. You can even sit outside in the quaint little beer garden (when it is not raining)
Culture and music
If you like your rock and metal music, try The Solid Rock Cafe at the bottom of Hope street and Rufus T.Firefly's near the top of Hope street.
As the city centre and West End's bars become ever more sanitized, off-the-peg and tourist-oriented, finding a traditional “boozer” in Glasgow is getting harder. For the tourist who wants to make the effort, they can be great places to discover what many would call the “real” Glasgow, the Glasgow where Glaswegians hang out. The other advantage is that the cost of a drink is often a lot cheaper. Common sense should tell you which ones to try out, and which to avoid!
- The Horseshoe Bar (17-19 Drury Street – short walk from Central Station). – Possessing the longest continuous bar in the UK, the rock band Travis used to rehearse upstairs before hitting the big time; as a token of thanks, one of their Brit Awards is displayed behind the bar. Billy Joel has been another famous customer of this establishment when playing in the city.
- The Saracen Head (209 Gallowgate – near Glasgow Cross). – nicknamed the “Sarry Heid” by locals, this old school pub (began in 1755, although in a different building) lies at the gateway to the Barrowlands area and the East End. Like all pubs in the area it becomes an exclusive haunt of Celtic fans on match days, and gets very rowdy.
- Failte (St Vincent Street; nearest railway: Glasgow Central) - independent Irish themed pub and a good place to have a banter with the locals. Like most Irish themed pubs in the city, it gets impossibly crowded on Celtic match days.
- The Scotia Bar (Stockwell Street). One of Glasgow's oldest bars (established 1792). Famous for its folk music and 'traditional' ambiance.
- The Alpen Lodge (25 Hope Street). Great little bar with classic fast service and local banter.
Gay and lesbian
Glasgow has a lively scene which centres around the Merchant City area (the so-called "Pink Triangle" formed by Revolver, Bennets and the Polo Lounge). The city is gay-friendly, which is shown in the annual "Glasgay" celebrations in October .
- AXM, 80-90 Glassford St, G1 1UR, ☎ +44 141 552 5761. W-Su 23:30-03:30. Over two levels with all you could want from a gay club. W,Th,Su = £3, -F-Sa = £5.
- The Polo Lounge, 84 Wilson St, G1 1UZ, ☎ +44 141 553 1221. M-Th 17:00-01:00, F-Su 17:00-03:00. The upstairs bar is tastefully decorated in a Victorian style and is a great place to relax with friends. Downstairs boasts two dance areas, one playing all your pop favourites, the other chart and dance tunes. The crowd here is very mixed. Entry fee F-Sa nights.
- MODA, 58 Virginia St, G1 1TX, ☎ +44 141 553 2553. M-Su 20:00-Late!. Speciality - Cocktails & Funky DJs!
- Underground, 6a John Street, G1 1JQ (Opposite the Italian Centre and downstairs next door to the 'Gay Chippie'), ☎ +44 141 553 2456. M-Su 11:00-23:59. Mixed and relaxed crowd. Small and friendly bar with drag bingo on a Saturday afternoon.
- Radio, Ashton Lane (What self respecting homosexual needs directions to Ashton Lane nowadays), ☎ +44 141 334 6688. M-Sat 12:00-23:59. Mixed and relaxed crowd. Small and friendly bar with a great theme nights!.
- Scene, 17 John Street, Merchant City. daily, early to late. The biggest gay club in Scotland, located in the very trendy Italian Centre of the Merchant City.
Glasgow has positioned itself as an upmarket retail destination, the shopping is the some of the best in Scotland, and generally accepted as the No.2 shopping experience in Britain after London. Buchanan Street is the 7th most expensive place for retail space in the world, which means that there's an increasing number of designer clothes shops in areas like the Merchant City. Alongside this, the Council is putting pressure on more traditional shopping centres like the Barras where you can get remarkably similar-looking clothes for a more sensible price.
The nucleus of Glasgow shopping is the so-called "Golden Z", made up of the continuous pedestrianised thoroughfares of Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. Here, virtually all of the major British big name retailers are represented. Buchanan Street is the most upmarket of the three, with prestigious names such as House of Fraser, Apple Store and Zara and other specialised designer stores. Ingram Street in the Merchant City has seen a boom in recent years for attracting more exclusive, premium brands like Bose, Bang and Olufsen, Ralph Lauren and so on.
Bath Street and Hope Street run parallel to the main pedestrianised streets, and if you want to get away from "chain store hell", they have a fine selection of more quirky, local independent retailers selling everything from fine art, Scottish clothing, antiques and specialist hi-fi.
There are larger shopping malls on the city outskirts at Braehead, Silverburn and Glasgow Fort.
- The Barras in the East End is the essential Glasgow shopping experience. Hundreds of market stalls selling everything you could possibly want and a load of other stuff too. Free entertainment available from time to time when the Police raid the place for counterfeit goods. Open 10AM - 5PM every weekend; weekday opening in the weeks immediately before Christmas. The market is notorious for counterfeit good; especially DVDs and clothing. Pirated DVDs should be avoided at all costs, as the quality is often very poor.
- The Buchanan Galleries, Buchanan Street, is a large shopping mall in the heart of the city centre which has all the usual British high street stores, its anchor tenant is John Lewis.
- The St Enoch Centre. Europe's largest glass roofed building - this huge mall is on St Enoch Square between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street, and a major extension and refurbishment programme was completed in 2010.
- Princes Square is an upmarket mall just off Buchanan Street in the city centre. Specialises in designer clothes shops, jewellery and audio equipment. Note, Grande Dame of British Fashion Vivienne Westwood has a store as well as a separate jewellery concession in Princes Square.
- The Argyle Arcade is the city's jewellery quarter housing Scotland's largest collection of jewellery shops. The L-shaped arcade connects Argyle Street and Buchanan Street. Shops here vary considerably - there are a selection of cheaper jewellery shops and a selection of luxury prestigious jewellers. Very commonly used as a short cut for shoppers between Buchanan Street and Argyle Street.
- De Courcy's Arcade is an unusual little shopping arcade by yer maws with lots of second hand music and book shops and independent gift shops. Located just off Byres Road in the west end (subway: Hillhead)
- Byres Road. Check out the chichi shops and vintage stored in the West End
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