The old 19th-century facade of the Kelvingrove Cafe provided inspiration for this bar’s owners when they opened up. Walking in is like stepping back to another time where friendly staff make guests feel comfortable to pop in alone with just a newspaper for company. Wooden floors, tiles and a marble bar top continue the vintage theme, while artwork hangs on the walls, with the bar doubling as a gallery space.
With a drinks list created by top barman and company director Mal Spence, there’s plenty to try, with special emphasis placed on lower-alcohol cocktails rather than high abv spirits. Try the Elmhurst for example, with Rinquinquin peach vermouth, Wray & Nephew rum, pineapple syrup and orange bitters, served over a smart ice block.
There’s also a small list of alcoholic floats (although they can be turned virgin). The Coney Island — with Diplomatic Anejo rum, root beer, Peychaud’s bitters, syrup and ice cream — gets our vote. Food is offered in the shape of bar bites, with tasty sliders.
Best bars tip: Non-drinkers will love the homemade sodas on offer here, which the team make under the brand name Hawthorn.
— Laura Foster