Glasgow – style city
It wouldn’t be difficult to think that the term “shop ‘til you drop” was coined for Glasgow. The UK’s favorite shopping destination outside of London, this is a city that seems to be designed around retail therapy.
In the heart of Glasgow you will find the so-called ‘Golden Z’ of Sauchiehall Street, Argyle Street and Buchanan Street, packed with stores such as Diesel, Office, LK Bennet, Open and Jo Malone, with plenty of covered malls, notably Princes Square. Over in the West End, under the neo-gothic spires of the university, vintage divas will be absolutely spoilt for choice at funky cornucopias like Starry, Starry Night and Retro.
Whilst most stores close around 6pm, Thursdays are late night shopping nights, and you get an extra couple of hours to spend alongside impeccably dressed Glaswegians searching out the perfect weekend outfit. And the ever-friendly Glaswegians won’t hesitate to help you out with a few of their very own shopping secrets.
And that brings us neatly on to another of Glasgow’s favorite pastimes – a night on the town. Start off with relaxed drinks in the dark leather booths or airy beer garden at elgantly designed Chinaski’s – most definitely Scotland’s only Bukowski-themed Bourbon bar. And forget the stereotypes about Glasgow’s deep-fried-everything menu, sample fresh ingredients and clean tastes at Conran restaurant, étain or West End staple, Stravaigin. Mingle with the incredibly in-crowd for after dinner cocktails at Brutti Ma Buono in the hip Merchant City, before heading off with all your new made friends to dance the night away at the Buff Club. Scotland with style – there’s absolutely no denying it.
Eating and Drinking
The popular ‘Epicurean Menu’ offered by Terence Conran’s only UK outpost outside of London is a tasting menu with each course matched perfectly with a different wine. Epicureans will feel truly in heaven in Conran’s sleek but subtle penthouse restaurant.
Tiny, unpretentious, and ever so slightly off the beaten track – although still pretty close to the throng of the bohemian West End – No.Sixteen is one of Glasgow’s favorite restaurants. So good, that it has become one of Edinburgh’s favorite restaurants too!
Perhaps the most fabulously named restaurant in Glasgow, ‘The Chip’ as it is affectionately known is renowned for its strong Scottish flavors, and a refined coziness that Glaswegians have grown to love over its thirty-year tenure.
A unique ‘old-style’ pub in the stylish West End, you’ll find over 125 single malt whiskies to choose from, served by men in kilts!
A triumph of individuality over uniformity and of soul over empty style comprising boutique hotel, enticing restaurant and traditional Scottish bar, Rab Ha’s is found within the Merchant City.
Housed in an original Tobacco Merchant’s house attributed to Robert Adam in the Merchant City. Fraser and his team are a local institution and look forward to welcoming you to this bar, restaurant and small hotel. The restaurant offers a selection of freshly prepared Scottish meals or snacks, daily billboard specials and real ales with live music every Saturday night.
The Tim Stead-designed wooden furniture in this Merchant City institution have become almost as much of a draw as Gandolfi’s simple but incredibly enticing menu.
Through a leafy West End close, you will stumble across The Lansdowne, which after renovations in 2005, emerged as one of the neighborhood’s favorites – with a stylish bar, and well-prepared but uncomplicated dishes.
Glasgow isn’t called the Curry Capital for nothing, and there are many first-class Indian restaurants – with Mother India being one of the most authentic, and one of the best – absolutely bursting with fresh ginger, spices and herbs.
Taking its name from a misspelled letter addressed to ‘Ubiquitous Chip’ (see above) – Liquid Ship is brought to the West End bar by the same family that owns the remarkable Chip. This ambient little bar is home to fantastic acoustic music, accompanied by a great selection of beers and wonderful tapas dishes.
Brutti Ma Buoni
Translating as ‘ugly but good,’ this unpretentiously hip bar and restaurant on the ground floor of the achingly trendy Brunswick Hotel in the Merchant City is always full of Glasgow’s cutting edge artists and trendsetters, and their new basement level is the perfect pre-club spot.
From much more humble beginnings as a small designer boutique on Renfield Street, Cruise – now a seven-story emporium in the slick Italian Centre – is a Mecca for serious shoppers, with collections from designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Joseph.
Not just one shop, but a whole bevy of chic boutiques – including Space NK, Reiss and Whistles – alongside stylish bars and restaurants, all under one beautifully restored nineteenth century roof.
Right in the heart of the very trendy Merchant City, Brazen is a very sassy and incredibly stylish jewelry store where you can pick up attention-grabbing, one-of-a-kind pieces made right there in the in-house workshop.
A little store on Buchanan St that is always jam-packed with shoe fanatics, both male and female. Their collections are at once inexpensive, stylish and fun. Just try leaving with onlyone pair.
With their name taken from a Robert Burns poem, Timorous Beasties have been a strong force on the design scenesince being founded in 1990. Their new storeon Great Western Road is a haven of the new Glasgow style – from chairs and lamps to their modern take on pastoral flock wallpaper.
Starry, Starry Night
Down a little lane in the West End is a tiny little store packed to the rafters with racks and racks, drawers and drawers of antique and vintage goodies. Starry, Starry Night has been a favorite for nearby university students and West End bohemian types for almost twenty years.
House for an Art Lover
You can’t visit Glasgow without at least taking in some of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Trail – and House for an Art Lover, set in beautiful Bellahouston Park, brings together all aspects of Mackintosh design. Take the unique experience a little further by actually dining in a room that Mackintosh designed in 1901.
The Citizens Theatre
‘The Citz’ as it is affectionately known, has been bringing the work of leading Scottish playwrights as well as outstanding international writing to the peopleofGlasgow since the mid-1940s.
With a name meaning ‘big song’ in Gaelic, this renovated church is an absolutely stunning venue encompassing two bars, two restaurants and a nightclub. It hosts some of the best of Scottish music and culture – including the famous ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’ series – to the creative West End.
Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery
Newly restored, and opened again to the public in 2006, this celebrated red stand-stone museum is full of even more historical, scientific and artistic artifacts than ever before – including, of course, Sir Roger, the beloved Asian elephant.
Down below the arches of Glasgow’s Central Station is one of Scotland’s most cutting edge arts venues. First opened in 1991, and then massively renovated in 2000, The Arches is all at once a bar, a nightclub, a music and art venue, and home to the highly acclaimed Arches Theatre Company. And on top of all that, the Arches Café made quite a name for itself, too.
The Lighthouse Centre for Design and Architecture
Opened in 1999, during Glasgow’s tenure as City of Architecture and Design, The Lighthouse was built around the old Herald Newspaper building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Climb the steps of the Mackintosh tower for panoramic views across Glasgow’s townscape.
St Andrews in the Square
A beautifully renovated eighteenth-century church, St Andrews in the Square has become Glasgow’s premiere venue for traditional Scottish song and dance – including, of course, lively ceilidhs in the spacious oak-floored main gallery.
*From the Scotland Tourist Board!