A Drinkers Guide to Glasgow
By Chris Smith via Glasgow (SCT)
Scotland is famed for a number of things. Tartan. Bagpipes. Beautiful scenery. Sean Connery. And booze. Lots of booze. Most of Scotland’s cities would lay claim to being the alcohol capital, but for my money, I’d have to say Glasgow. This can be argued with a chorus from the city’s unofficial anthem, ‘I Belong to Glasgow’, an old folk song from the twenties;
I belong to Glasgow,
Dear old Glasgow town;
But what’s the matter wi’ Glasgow,
For it’s goin’ roun’ and roun’!
I’m only a common old working chap,
As anyone here can see,
But when I get a couple o’ drinks on a Saturday,
Glasgow belongs to me!
With this in mind here’s a rundown of some Glasgow drinking pro-tips!
When it comes to Scotland and alcohol, many of us will think that the be all and end all drink is whisky. Though we’ll come to this later, you might be surprised at what else Glasgow has to offer. The city is currently in the midst of a craft beer renaissance. One such example is the city centre’s Drygrate brewery. Here you’ll find a selection of world beating, quality made bottled beers.
With a range of ales, lagers and IPAs on the menu, there’s a beer for everyone. The brewery boasts a typically Glaswegian friendly atmosphere as well as high quality, affordable food.
85 Drygate, Glasgow G4 0UT, United Kingdom
2) Find the water of life
The most Scottish drink of them all. The word Whisky translates from the ancient Gaelic ‘usigue breatha’, meaning the water of life. And when it comes to the water of life, Glasgow has rivers to spare. A great place to get started is Dram!, a whisky bar in the city’s Woodlands area. Here you’ll find a relaxed atmosphere, and on certain nights live music and sport.
Behind the bar is an encyclopaedic selection of both blended and single malt whiskies, and helpful bar staff to guide you through your drinking adventure.
3) Dance the night away
No matter where in the world you drink, after a few, even the most introverted of us can’t resist the urge to go dancing. Put a Scottish twist on your moves by visiting Sloans pub in the centre of Glasgow. Every Friday night Glasgow’s oldest bar and restaurant (open since 1797!) hosts a traditional Scottish ceilidh. Now, traditional Scottish country dancing might sound fairly tame, but you’ll be surprised.
The truth is that your average ceilidh is a booze fuelled bonanza. Relentless folk music is the soundtrack to bodies getting flung from partner to partner; a uniquely Scottish experience that isn’t for the faint hearted. Typically, ceilidhs involve dancing with everyone in the room, so it’s a great way to meet people of the opposite, or same gender, depending on what you’re looking for!
Sloans Bar & Restaurant
62, The Argyll Arcade, Argyll Arcade, 108 Argyle St, Glasgow G2 8BG, United Kingdom
4) Gin is in
If whisky isn’t your drink of choice, and you’d prefer something a bit different, then make sure you check out Gin71, the first bar in all of Glasgow to be exclusively dedicated to gin. In this relaxed, debonair lounge, you’ll have your choice of hundreds of the world’s best gins. Whether its doubles or cocktails you’re looking for, there will be a gin to suit you.
5) Keep it classy
Fancy a high-brow evening of Martini’s, Harvey Wallbangers, and dignified conversation? Then throw on a suit and head down to George Square’s Anchor Line cocktail bar. Here you’ll find the Glasgow’s high flyers cutting loose in this art-deco former office of the transatlantic shipping company of the same name, reflecting Glasgow’s proud ship building past.
Not only does the Anchor Line have a superb food menu, the highly trained staff can craft the cocktail of your choice with pain-staking detail. Personally, I’d recommend the Moscow Mule!
The Anchor Line
12 St Vincent Pl, Glasgow G1 2DH, United Kingdom
6) Embrace the legend of Buckfast
Deep in the South of England, there is a serene Benedictine monastery near the town of Buckfastleigh. For over a century the monks of Buckfast Abbey have been producing a tonic wine to a French recipe in religious solitude. Over this time, Buckfast wine, or Buckie, has (somehow) become a popular choice of your seasoned Glasgow drinker.
The caffeine loaded wine has been blamed for a lot of the rowdy behaviour that is seen on Glasgow’s streets on a Saturday night, and Police Scotland have even gone to great lengths to ban its sale! Be sure to find a supermarket and try some of this rocket fuel, while it’s still available.
You might get some questionable looks from the judgemental staff, who’ll probably be playing customer bingo due its status as the average Scottish shop assistants’ favourite game. But that sweet nectar will be worth having faces pulled behind your back! A few gulps, and you’ll be ready for a night in the best drinking town in Scotland.
7) Attempt the ‘Sub-Crawl’
If you find yourself in Glasgow with a full day to dedicate to drinking, then you’d be mad not to try Glasgow’s ‘Sub-Crawl’. The city is home to the third oldest subway in the world, which unlike most subways is designed as a complete loop, with 15 stations across the city. The challenge: can you get off at each station, find a bar, have a drink, and be still standing by the time you get back to where you started? Many attempt it. Few succeed…
The Sub-Crawl is a favourite for bachelor/bachelorette parties (in Scotland we call them Stag parties and Hen Parties for the bride and groom, respectively), birthdays, and anyone who just wants to do some serious drinking. It’s the perfect way to get a drunken tour of the city, and perfectly embodies the Glasgow drinking spirit.
So you have a run-down of where to get your drink on. What are you waiting for?! The first round’s on me!
Sub Crawl Maps