Fully decked out with leather booths and gorgeous wooden features, The Meat Bar is perfect for a few post-work bevvies and a great spot to hunker down for the evening with a group of pals. If you’d rather have a salad than a steak, don’t be put off by the name as there are veggie options available and the music, staff and surroundings may just keep you there longer than expected.
Just below street level, the outside wall has been stripped back to expose the original frontage and the neon sign coupled with the fact that you can’t quite see in will be enough to make you want to check it out.
If you like to try something new, get stuck into one of the meaty cocktails, with the smoked Negroni a great place to start. For the more cautious ones in the group, the bottled beer selection and wines are very well chosen and equally satisfying. The ribs are some of the best in town but for us, the French Dip takes the biscuit. A custom-made ciabatta with beef brisket, swiss cheese, grilled onions, wholegrain mustard, horseradish and bone marrow gravy which is out of this world.
Best Bars tip: Come down after work on a Friday to see the place in full swing or pop in on date night before you hit the movies.
— Phil Robins
No sign on the door and right next to busy North Street, you’d be forgiven for not giving this hidden gem a second glance. However, if you do happen to stumble upon Chinaski’s, or have heard about it from a pal, get straight through the doors and don’t look back … at least until you’ve had a bourbon or three.
One of the best beer gardens in the city is tucked away at the back of a slick room that is home to a cracking wee bar and a stunning selection of American whiskeys.
Come on a weekday evening to have a quiet catch up with friends or bring the cool new guy from the office down for a boozy lunch. He’ll be sure to mention you to his squash buddy next time they play.
Best Bars tip: If you’re in for a scran, ask for personal recommendations from the attentive staff as everything on the menu tastes pretty damn good.
— Phil Robins
If you’re a fan of whisky and find yourself in Glasgow, head to The Ben Nevis — a mecca of malts and blends — for at least a dram or two. Always packed with punters of all ages, the beautifully designed pub boasts of a well-stocked backbar reaching high with whisky, and a small selection of other drinks for those not keen on taking the water of life.
A chat with the staff here will point you in the right direction whisky-wise. What you see in the backbar isn’t the sum of their stock, so there’s plenty on offer for connoisseurs looking to head off the beaten track.
There’s occasionally live traditional music here, with people cosying into the seats with their acoustic guitars, fiddles and drums to play traditional Highland music. If you want a warm, welcoming pub experience in Glasgow, this is it.
Best Bars tip: Take a look at what’s the malt of the month, which will offer a particular dram at a discounted price.
— Laura Foster
Named after the trendy part of Glasgow that this gastropub is located in, visitors get the sense of entering a ship upon arrival at The Finnieston; from the ornate low wooden ceilings to the stained glass walls separating the seating booths.
Specialising in gin, this spot offers a number of drinks lists, including ones dedicated to the Martini, G&Ts, classic gin tipples and contemporary cocktails. Try a Finnieston Club Cocktail for a taste of Glaswegian cocktail culture, with Tanqueray, house-made orange sherbet, lime juice, grenadine and Yellow Chartreuse – a great sharpener for the start of the meal. The Scottish G&T, meanwhile, is a reasonable £4.50, and made with Caorunn Gin, Fentimans Tonic and red apple.
Perfect for after-work drinks or a cosy catch-up meal with friends, this convivial boozer is well worth seeking out.
Best Bars tip: Head down on Sunday for the Scotch beef club, where a beef roast with a glass of wine or beer will cost £15. During lobster season, Tuesday nights see half lobsters offered with fries and a glass of champagne for £15.
— Laura Foster
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
One of Bath Street’s latest additions, The Howlin’ Wolf offers up something for the soul brother in all of us. Already a destination for bar and restaurant staff across the city after a long shift, it has carved out a new, slightly older audience for itself when compared to most of the other bars along the same stretch of tarmac.
A well-thought-out seating arrangement makes the large space very welcoming and offers both privacy and public interaction depending on the direction in which the almost ever-present live music gently sways you.
The sticky honey barbeque wings are dy-no-mite as is the four cheese pizza, cleverly named “Blue Men Sing the Whites”. Boom! You will not be short of refreshing accompaniments either as the backbar is extensive while the huge selection of tap and bottled beers are both local and international – offering up something for all wannabe craft beer enthusiasts.
Best Bars tip: Pop down after midnight for a cracking late night feed and an ice-cold brewski.
— Phil Robins
If you’re looking for a night of elegance and sophistication topped off with some bang tidy drinks, then look no further than The Salon Bar at the Blythswood Square Hotel.
Boozy heavyweight you’re after? Go toe-to-toe with the Black Pearl. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon and Goslings Black Seal Rum, brought down a peg or two by a dash of sugar and a healthy glug of Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. The Pegu Club is a staff favourite and comes highly recommended. Short, sharp and refreshing, you will not be disappointed.
Pop in during the week for a little snuggle and a couple of Chartreuse hot chocolates or get the team out on a Saturday night for some great people watching in luxurious surroundings. And if you’re staying at the hotel, you can keep on hanging at the bar late into the night … and we do mean late.
Best Bars tip: Grab a seat at one of the coveted bar stools and watch the magic happen. Go off the menu – the boys and girls are more than happy to accommodate any tastes or guilty pleasures.
— Phil Robins