The Scots – and Glaswegians in particular – have a reputation for being dour and parsimonious. Nothing could be further from the truth. So, here’s our guide to eating, drinking and making merry from breakfast to the wee hours at the best cafés, bars and restaurants in the stunning granite city of Glasgow.
Breakfast like a king at Singl-end Café in Renfrew Street, near the famous Glasgow School of Art. This hip and buzzy basement café, with friendly staff serves hearty super-sized breakfasts and irresistible cakes. The term ‘Singl-end’ refers to old-style tenement houses in Glasgow with single rooms which housed entire families. The décor is rough and ready, but also very homely. The coffee is great, and all meals are more than affordable.
Argyle street in the West End of Glasgow is home to a wide choice of pubs, cafés and restaurants. We were fortunate to dine at the Gannet, an award-winning bar and restaurant, serving simple dishes of local provenance, with a twist.
Featuring the best of Scottish fish and beef, great service and an intriguing wine list – and yes, a new take on the old favourite, haggis.
On our second night we strolled down to Royal Exchange Square to the Western Club. This former private club is now open for public dining, and what an elegant and peaceful space it is. Remember old school linen tablecloths, napkins and courteous service? Mix this with great local dishes, killer cocktails, an extensive wine list, and you’ll ensure a terrific night out.
When it comes to drinking, there are two ways you can go, teetotal or tipple. So we tried them both.
First up, for the perfect afternoon tea experience, visit the Willow Tea Rooms in Buchanan Street, inspired by Kate Cranston’s tea rooms from the early 1900s, and the art deco designs of Charles Rennie Macintosh.
The triple deck cake and sandwich stand offers more a meal than an afternoon tea, and the extensive blends of teas and coffees ensure that even the fussiest connoisseur will be well pleased.
For those who like a cheekier tipple, the standout Glasgow drinking experience can be found at Champagne Central, the bar at the Grand Central Hotel overlooking the historic railway station. Champagne is paired with delicious sharing plates or afternoon teas in elegant surroundings, with a nod to times past and the romance of steam rail. Fun any time, but full-on on a Friday night, as it’s where the locals tend to gather.
Have you been to Glasgow? Can you recommend a good watering hole or tea room?