Glasgow is renowned for its shopping and for its nightlife, and here we ave selected just a few pubs, clubs and bars near the SECC that you might like to check out. The reviews are unashamedly taken from "The List" until we have carried out our own reviews.
1. The Goat & Grill, 1287 Argyle Street, Glasgow,G3 8TL
Elegant and sophisticated, the Goat & Grill came under new ownership and was subtly rebranded in 2010. Set over two levels, the lower provides a spacious bar furnished with leather sofas and low-lying tables. Overhead, a mezzanine acts as the main dining area, where you can choose to eat from the à la carte menu, which features Highland shank of lamb and roast pork belly, or the well-constructed bar tapas menu. Along with a couple of traditional Spanish tapas such as chorizo in red wine, this menu offers up more homely bite-sized dishes – battered black pudding being a star, while the meatballs and lemon-coated white bait are also highly recommended. Five to six tapas should be sufficient to share with a friend, rendering this dining experience relatively wallet-friendly considering the quality of the food on offer. A well-stocked bar and helpful staff provide ample reason to linger.
2. The Ben Nevis, 1147 Argyle Street, Glasgow,G3 8TB
Inspired by its designer's West Highland ancestry, the Ben Nevis is a cramped, quirkily assembled pub that indulges the celebrated Ranald McColl's fondness for 'natural' materials, from the 'Highland faultline' along the floor, to the organic angles and found qualities of the metal, stone and wood. The Nevis serves good traditional food but does two things rather better: folk music and the water of life. There are over 180 whiskies available at any one time and the threat of a fiddle bow or even a harp in the ribs is very real three or four rollicking nights a week.
3. The Brass Monkey, 1004 Argyle Street, Glasgow,G3 8LZ The Brass Monkey is the type of institution you would be proud to claim as your local. Luxurious and spacious seating booths provide the ideal setting to relax and chat, cradling a glass of ‘the wine of the time’, which changes every six to eight weeks, or one of countless cocktails. Despite not offering hot food, it is a great spot for a light bite, with sandwiches served during the day, and sharing platters at night. The Spanish platter of cold meats, cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and anchovies is particularly impressive; the quality of the components evident in the authentic flavours, and it is no surprise to learn that the chorizo and manchego on offer are imported from Spain. Ideally located close to the SECC, live DJs play to a packed-out bar on Fridays and Saturdays, while HDTV screens pull in the sporting punters, with a whole range of events being shown live.
4. BrewDog Glasgow, 1397 Argyle Street, Glasgow,G3 8AN
Fraserburgh-based BrewDog’s controversial craft beer revolution rumbles ever onwards with the opening of its latest bar in Glasgow’s West End. Joining outlets in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, the new bar – modern and industrialesque – has a prime site with views of Kelvingrove Art Gallery through large branded windows. Their heady range of beers are offered on draught or bottled, from the relative calm of the 4.1% Trashy Blonde to Hardcore IPA at a more serious 9.2%, plus other craft beers from around the world.
5. Firebird, 1321 Argyle Street, Glasgow,G3 8TL
This well-established neighbourhood bar and bistro makes sense whatever the occasion. The intelligent, free-flowing layout means you can dine more formally at the rear, sip a cool microbrewery pint perched at the curved wooden bar, or snack and watch the world go by in a comfy window booth. The menu has a loosely Mediterranean personality – ciabattas, salads, pastas and crispy wood-fired pizzas form the backbone, complemented by some inventive starters and mains. A small portion of nicely charred octopus, potato and caper salad is a quirky combination. Pasta dishes are creative – firm rigatoni served with braised chunks of lamb and a mint-infused ragù is rich but avoids being too heavy. The mysterious ‘four vegetarian mouthfuls’ turn out to be a lot more, with couscous, falafel, salad and garlic flatbread piled high on a wooden board, which means the delicious spicy dipping sauce is all too quickly mopped up. Children really are welcome here and will be kept busy pressing their noses against the huge fish tank between completing the puzzles provided on the affordable kids menu.
6. The Arches Café Bar & Restaurant, 253 Argyle Street, Glasgow,G2 8DL
This venue seems to offer something for everyone – renowned clubbing for late-night revellers, theatre productions for the culture vultures and a small accomplished restaurant for the foodies. Located downstairs from the main entrance, a funky bar with a smattering of bright colours welcomes those who wish to have a drink in a cool laid-back atmosphere, beyond this the dining room has a simple feel – low wooden tables are surrounded by black leather pouffes while Scottish artwork hangs dotted around the otherwise bare walls. Start with an unusual black pudding scotch egg – the centre of the yolk is still soft while the accompanying tomato salsa is vibrant and full of crunch, with mustard aioli the perfect partner to the rich egg. Elsewhere expect quality pizzas, stuffed chicken, rib-eye steaks, roast partridge and a handful of veggie options including celeriac and parsley gnocchi – light home-made dumplings, far superior to the synthetic shop-bought variety, arrive resting on full-bodied, ruby red beetroot cream.