Glasgow’s Traditional Pub Culture

Scotland has one of the strongest drinking cultures in the whole of Europe, and Glasgow is over-subscribed with venues for sinking a few pints. While some of the rougher bars in the city won’t win any prizes for aesthetics, there are some lovely long-standing watering holes where live music and friendly locals add to the general conviviality.

Ashton Ln, Glasgow G12, UK
This charming cobblestoned back street, lined with restaurants and bars, is the place for lively nightlife in Glasgow’s West End. When darkness falls, festive strings of lights twinkle overhead, and the sounds of live music and laughter drift from pubs and cafes—some of which have been here for decades. The legendary Ubiquitous Chip has served up the finest Scottish produce in a magical courtyard dining room for over 40 years. There’s also the historic Grosvenor Cinema, which has screened films on the lane since 1921—and just underwent a multi-million-pound renovation. When was the last time you visited a movie theater with quirky double sofas for seats, and ordered a beer or glass of wine? For more information about the places and people who make Glasgow special, visit
17 Vinicombe St, Glasgow G12 8SJ, UK
This west end bar is an absolute must for lovers of good drink and architecture alike. Situated in a former cinema, the awe-inspiring space spills out over a number of levels, with the central atrium visible from all regions so you can always keep an eye on your planned snog of the night. While owned by central Scotland’s biggest pub chain, you’d never guess this given it’s robust personality with quirks aplenty. Old school video games and a ping pong table will keep the antsy busy, while the cocktails selection should please most. Libations include Beer and Loathing (Four Roses bourbon with basil, honey and some IPA) and the Bookclub Punch, featuring a mix and mash of whatever’s good for the eve. When I was there, the couple next to me was getting completely sauced off a fancy cocktail served in — naturally — an ancient gramophone. When in Glasgow...
108 Argyle St, Glasgow G2 8BG, UK
Claiming to be Glasgow’s oldest bar, Sloan’s traces its history back to the end of the 18th Century. There’s certainly a sense of history at the watering hole with its round bar and faded facade. Thankfully the drinks selection has moved with the times and there’s a good selection of ales and beers on tap.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: United States
Journeys: Sports + Adventure