A night out scouring these Glasgow bars can be many things, but it will never be boring. After all, this is a town where a “wee swally” leads to fast friendships, dancing and emergency Irn-Bru in the morning. And while the city has plenty of flashy party spots filled with palm fronds, black lacquer and rose gold, it also has a proliferation of excellent established bars that continue to last the distance. Whatever those undefinable things are that make a bar great, Glasgow has them in spades. From cocktail bars and gastropubs to music venues and local neighbourhood hangouts – each one is brimming with individual character and vibrant history.

Stravaigin interior Glasgow


Nice ’n’ Sleazy

For the last 30 years, Nice ’n’ Sleazy has acquired legendary status within the Glasgow music scene. The dark, red-walled basement has served as a petri dish for every well-known Glasgow band since the 1990s, with Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol all playing here before they went on to fill stadiums. Upstairs, it’s a Lower East Side-style dive bar that’s Glasgow through and through – serving Buckfast by the glass and offering a new vegan menu that features a dish called macaro-nae cheese. Open until 3am every night, Sleazy’s, as it’s invariably known, is still where new bands cut their teeth, and it hosts a variety of messy, banger-packed club nights in the basement at weekends with DJs upstairs, plus a long-running open mic night and a weekly quiz. Nights out here are prone to being wild, so the only thing for it is to order the bar’s signature drink (a cheap-as-chips White Russian), scroll through the famous jukebox and surrender to the sleaze.

Address: Nice ’n’ Sleazy, 421 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3LG
Website: nicensleazy.com 

The Citizen

You can almost hear the typewriters as you walk into this grand Victorian building, which was once the offices of Glasgow’s evening paper, The Citizen. Now it’s all dark wood and muted decadence, and the printing presses and filing cabinets have been replaced with cocktails, haggis bon bons and dashing, white-aproned servers. But a real sense of its previous incarnation remains, especially in the dining rooms and the Editor’s Suite, which is a wonderful place to replicate the sozzled long lunches of the golden days of journalism. And although the feel is fancy, Glasgow pubs are nothing if not democratic – order Chateaubriand and a dram of The Macallan 30 Years Old, or a Tennent’s lager and a burger. Talking of which, if you want to sample the ultimate pint of Tennents, which runs through Scotland’s very veins, this is the place. Non-pasteurised beer is served from tanks from the nearby Wellpark Brewery, so you can have the freshest hauf and hauf (half a lager and a whisky chaser) in town. The cocktail menu is the real headline, though, featuring such delights as a Tam O’Shanter made with Naked Grouse scotch whisky, and a delicate Rosebud, with gin and raspberry liqueur. You might want to do some investigative research before you decide on a favourite.

Address: The Citizen, 24 St Vincent Place, G1 2EU
Website: thecitizenglasgow.co.uk