Following a recommendation by @robsterowski I thought it was about time I visited the Laurieston Bar in the South Side of Glasgow. He is always banging on about it, so time to see if it lived up to its billing.
The bar is easy to find. Should you be lazy, or, more likely if it is teeming with rain, the Subway will take you to within a quick dash of its front door via Bridge St Station, or if the weather is clement - and it was for me - it is a an easy 15 to 20 minute stroll from Queen St Station and even less if you arrive in Glasgow Central. Just head downhill to the river, cross Glasgow Bridge pausing to admire the views of the Clyde and the pub is about 150 yards on the right, on a corner, as good pubs often are. The outside is pretty unprepossessing, but note the blue tiles and the very old fashioned lettering picking out the name. It is strikingly out of time, even retaining the old Scottish Brewers' sign and the McEwan's Cavalier. That certainly took me back a bit.
I paused at the door for a second. The door to the right said "Lounge" and to the left "Public Bar". No contest. I went left. Inside the pub is astonishingly eclectic. I was struck immediately by the pink formica topped tables and the huge array of memorabilia pinned, stuck and otherwise attached to almost every part of the walls. The bar is a traditional horseshoe shape, veering off to the right where you can see part of the lounge and allowing one bar to serve both areas. This being around two o'clock in the afternoon, the pub was fairly quiet with a couple of gents sitting at the bar chatting, another old fella sitting quietly with his pint and that was about it. I received a friendly nod from the barflies as I took a place near them at the bar. The barman was busy at the end of the bar, but immediately I entered he stopped what he was doing and came over to serve me. The customer clearly comes first here. Other pubs please copy. My choice of beer from three handpumps was Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack which was excellent, though unsparkled. Was that Rob's malign influence I wondered as I sipped?
It would be hard to pick out what is what in the ephemera adorning almost every nook and cranny. Books, photos, newspaper clippings, old signs, a framed Scotland football jersey and more. You could easily spend an hour reading though it all. After a few moments the barman came over and chatted easily to me about this and that. It was very relaxing. I watched a much younger than me couple came in and ask what there was to eat. The friendly barman indicated the pie warmer on the bar and mentioned that if they wanted something else there was a good café a short walk away. "No". Pies were fine for these two, but I thought that a nice touch. I supped up and as I was leaving the barman came over and said he hoped I'd enjoy my curry. (My intended later curry with my Old Mum had been one topic of our earlier few words.) Another lovely touch.
This is one fine pub. I can see why Rob loves it. It is unchanged from the sixties - a bit of a time warp in a good way if you like - and can be regarded as a living, working museum of an otherwise disappearing Glasgow. If you have anything about you at all, you'll love it. I'll be back when it is a lot busier, just to get the full atmosphere, but I bet it will be just as good, if not better.
Note the sign from a bygone era about women and the witty rejoinder written below. Click to see a larger photo. It is Glasgow Bridge, not Jamaica Bridge. I checked
Regrettably Rob's next Glasgow recommendation, didn't go quite so well. More soon on that.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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