A mini guide to: Glasgow

BY Josh Ferry Woodard

1st Jan 2015 Travel

A mini guide to: Glasgow

Glasgow's buzzing streets are a blend of grand relics to its prosperous shipbuilding past, celebrated local artworks and quirky new restaurants and bars.

Glaswegian grub

Café Gandolfi Glasgow
Image via About a City

For an authentic taste of Scotland look no further than the ‘flock of fishes’ stained glass windows at Café Gandolfi, situated in Merchant City’s old cheese market.

Classics such as cullen skink, haggis, neeps and tatties are prepared from specially sourced Scottish ingredients.

Diners even have the honour of sitting on sinewy, sculpture-like wooden chairs that were designed by champion furniture maker and Glasgow School of Art graduate Tim Stead.

Other favourites include:

  • Ubiquitous Chip with its brilliant brasserie and botanical garden-esque interior
  • The Butterfly and The Pig with its shabby chic décor and vintage teacups
  • Shish Mahal, the supposed inventor of the tikka masala.



Sea and hear the city


Glenlee is an iconic baroque ship that was built in Glasgow’s shipyards during the 19th century. Known locally as “The Tall Ship”, Glenlee is the only ship of its kind still afloat in the UK and is open to the public as a museum, aiming to preserve the memory of Glasgow’s prosperous past.

If you don’t have your sea legs at the ready you could always pay a visit to the Scottish Football Museum or the Britannia Panopticon­­–the world’s oldest surviving musical hall.

Alternatively, put your headphones in and explore the city with an interactive Walking Heads audio tour.



Drink in a church

Òran Mór is Gaelic for ‘great melody of life’. It’s also a vibrant arts and entertainment venue in the heart of Glasgow’s West End that used to be a church.

The stunning building boasts a whisky bar, a brasserie, a nightclub and a stunning auditorium with a fantastical mural ceiling produced by Scottish artist and writer Alasdair Gray.

The Flying Duck is another quirky bar in the West End that is popular with the locals for its lively pub quizzes, fun board games and free toast policy.



Robotic ballet and Venus Flytraps

Sharmanka Kinetic Gallery
Image via The Skinny

The enthralling Sharmanka Kinetic Gallery is a one of a kind robotic ballet exploring ideas of life and death performed by hundreds of carved figures and pieces of old scrap.

Slightly less bizarre but almost as impressive is Kibble Palace: a striking Victorian glasshouse featuring, among other things, an intriguing selection of carnivorous plants.



Secret bars

secret bars
Image via Time Out

Based on the fictional alter ego of American novelist Charles Bukowski, Chinaski’s is a secret cocktail den serving over 80 varieties of bourbon.

The blue-fronted sign-less exterior is enough to put off most passersby, which leaves the dimly lit literary-themed bar with enough room for those in the know.

If you find yourself drinking as quickly as Bukowski then you might want to head next door to Chinaski’s sister venue.

The Berkeley Suite advertises itself as a pawnbroker but those who venture down the marble staircase find themselves surrounded by deep red tones, Edwardian style tiles and candelabra lighting in this glorious art deco secret speakeasy.