Glasgow may be the target of many a Scottish joke, but the city is actually one of the most vibrant, cultured and arty places in Scotland! The pubs, naturally, are no different. When that hankering for a pint or soothing shot of whisky sets in, look no further than Glasgow’s many fantastic drinking dens.
The Ben Nevis
Like the mountain, The Ben Nevis is mighty, iconic and one that can never be erased from the memory. A mandatory rite of passage for any punter, this booze-infused tavern is inundated with multiple whisky choices, cracking craft beers, traditional ales and bouncing Scottish folk music. When it comes to The Ben, there’s no denying its unwavering character and delightfully intimate feels. All in all, a dream ‘local’.
The Bon Accord
The kind of place that spurs an urge to light up a cigar, don the old school yet mandatory silk smoking jacket and go to town with endless shots of whisky, The Bon Accord is a tried and true type of drinking establishment. As an alehouse, malt whisky bar and whisky shop, you are guaranteed to grasp a true taste of Scotland. Family-run and timeless to a tee, go wild with the whisky selection (there are over 400 of these bad boys) and make it your worthy mission to taste the ocean of real ales. After all, they have taken the crown as the UK Whisky Bar Of The Year. Don’t leave without devouring the steak pie in the glorious wood-adorned place.
Canter on over to The Horseshoe and never look back. Those searching for ‘fancy schmancy’ should jog on-off in the other direction — this beauty takes us back to the basics with smashing service, an unrivaled atmosphere, spine-twisting karaoke nights, sports games on tap and lip-licking delicious drinks. Expect to find excellent value for money in everything too. The never-ending 104-foot Victorian bar, which claims to be the longest in Europe, is impressive and the horse sculptures add that extra touch. Overflowing with character, charm and horse-related accents, this winner of a pub, like a show pony, knows how to wow the crowd.
Charismatic and immortal, The Lismore is more than just a local. It’s a local legacy. A perfect fusion of old-timey feels and a bohemian air, the laissez-faire atmosphere and eclectic mix of drinkers, in tandem with the wondrous whisky selection, separate this spot from the rest. From the stained glass depicting moments from the Highland Clearances to the Scottish and Gaelic live music nights, The Lismore is famed for a strong community and welcoming vibes.
The Saracen Head
Unreserved and bestowed with endless banter, The Saracen Head is the gem of all gems. One drinking session here, however, will leave you with a sorry head, which fits right in with its nickname ‘the Sarry Heid’! Beyond the perfect amount of unashamed dive bar vibes, basks a fascinating history — this pub is also a museum of sorts, a cabinet of immense curiosity. The skull of Scotland’s last witch, Maggie, mysteriously watches from a glass case within the pub. Once more, a poem, thought to have been written in Rabbie Burns’ handwriting, also dwells there. Museum collections aside, the atmosphere is dynamite and the Celtic game days off the chart.
The State Bar
There’s no extinguishing the dancing flame that is The State Bar. A legendary old pub and Glasgow institution, this drinking spot happens to host comedy shows every Saturday night. Once more, they are that good that there’s no need for strenuous fake laughter! The old-school wood gracing every surface, top-notch bar resembling a movie set and cozy, down-to-earth furnishings add that extra pizzazz. Those who like a bar like their friends — always there come rain or shine, banter infused and comforting — will take to The State like a Scot to whisky.
Free from headache-inducing bells and whistles, Scotia Bar deserves a standing ovation…for still standing! Situated on Stockwell Street, one of the four original Glasgow streets, this dynamite booze hub is praised as the oldest pub in the city, and certainly as one of Scotland’s oldest pubs. It has been serving the good folk of Glasgow since 1792. After all, they do say that creaking gates last the longest! With every sip of a pint, you can almost feel the whispers of the sailors, punters and prison visitors who drank there long ago. The extensive history aside, this delightful old pub sports the right amount of cozy nooks and crannies.
A party palace of a pub overflowing with the full works, The Ark quite rightfully has its own trusty tribe and die-hard followers. This is all thanks to the multiple floors, pool table, pure barry outdoor beer garden and mammoth TV screen! Once more, the dreamy city center location and hip yet subtle accents put this beauty at the top of the list. An especially appealing spot for large gatherings and much-needed catch-up sessions.
By: Tori Chalmers