Friday, 27 February 2015

Let’s Go to Glasgow (A Quick Guide to the City)

 I love Glasgow.  It’s easy to get around, it’s filled with friendly locals and vintage shops, there’s a great vegetarian scene, the nightlife is rambunctious, and the taxis are cheap. Also, no tourists!

Rewind to New Year’s Eve 2015. We take the train up from London. After five hours of pony-watching, sandwich-nibbling, page-turning, and watching the sky darken my friend Katie and I are and hosting a little cocktail party for our Glaswegian friends. After drinking a waterfall of gin we all zip over to The 13th Note.  Everyone is easy on the eyes tonight. Next stop: Mono. Pulp is playing (on the stereo)!  Let’s dance. Glasses are raised; plans are made. We sail through the city streets, an Odyssey marked by trials and angels, shadows, cars, and apartments. The night goes on forever and delivers us to bed.

January 1st finds us watching music videos on the sofa in our pyjamas before feasting on pizza and root beer floats. We re-enact the dance moves in Keisza’s ‘Hideaway’ because we’re on vacation. Then Katie invents the granita float (just put a bottle of root beer in the freezer for about 53 minutes then tap it into a glass with a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice cream) which energises us for another night out.

We walk through the drizzle to my favourite nightspot, Nice & Sleazy. It’s a relaxed bar with cheap drinks and there’s a dance floor downstairs. The DJ, sporting a tracksuit/ pyjamas combination, is playing italodisco to an enthusiastic crowd. He ends his set with Abba’s ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’ and everyone cheers. A pretty Norwegian girl and a flirtatious nanoscientist invite us to continue the evening elsewhere…but tomorrow is fast approaching.

In the morning Katie and I bundle up and headed to Mr Ben, a vintage shop  full of velvet capes, pastel cashmere sweaters, kilts, and an exciting assortment of 1960s clothes. I spot a 60s fur miniskirt for £20. (Is it wrong for a vegetarian to drape a beast around her hips?) Our friend Shane happens to be brogue-hunting there so we all hop over to Mono (next door) for a vegan lunch and a browse through their zine shop.

After lunch we stroll through the city to the Gallery of Modern Art to admire the Aubrey Beardsley pictures in the Alastair Grey exhibition. The sun is setting over a blackened unicorn statue. Somewhere a curry is calling our names…

The University of Glasgow


The Glasgow Necropolis is a dreamy Victorian cemetery with a beautiful view.

Huntarian Museum & Art Gallery. Check out the Mackintosh House. Rennie Mackintosh is Glasgow’s Art Nouveau hero. (He also designed the Willow Tea Rooms and the Glasgow School of Art.)

Gallery of Modern Art - Alasdair Gray: Spheres of Influence in on until 25 May. It’s free too.

Day trips: take the train to Edinburgh or drive to the beautiful Loch Lomond.


Mono - order a veggie burger or a craft beer and buy some photography zines or records. 12 King's Court, G1 5RB.

Stereo - vegan food near the central train station, great music on the stereo if you like Belle & Sebastian, Beach House, etc. Order the tapas. Live gigs too.
22-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow G2 6PH

Rio diner - a charming West End spot that’s ideal for filling up before exploring the vintage shops around Byres Road. Try breakfast, their famous veggie burger, or a boozy milkshake. 27 Hyndland Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G11 5QF

Glasgow is also famous for delicacies such as haggis, deep-fried Mars bars, and potato scones.


If you want to hold hands with about a hundred Scottish people Ceilidh dances are lots of fun. Handsome men in kilts twirl cheerful girls and all the beginners stumble around but it’s such a laugh nobody minds. Venues vary so google ‘Ceilidh’ and the dates you’re going.

Nice & Sleazy - a small, friendly venue that hosts gigs and plays a variety of music. They also serve food upstairs.  421 Sauchiehall Street.

13th Note - a fun bar and music venue near King’s Court. 50-60 King Street, Glasgow G1 5QT.

After everything closes people usually go to casinos on Sauchiehall Street or have little house parties.

If I left out your favourite spot post it in the comments.


Mr Ben - menswear and womenswear, lots of great pieces. Kings Court, 101 King Street, G1 2RB.

Starry Starry Night - small but well-curated with surprising prices. I found a rare 60s dress for £25. My friend almost bought a rabbit fur coat for £45. 19 Dowanside Lane, G12 9BZ (near Byres Road.)

Vintage Guru - 195 Byres Road. Shoes and clothes.

Barras Market - East End flea market. Go early on the weekend. Gallowgate, Townhead G1 5AX. 


Get an Airbnb flat central or in the west end. I like to bring Twister and a small speaker and ipod, and potato scones and butter for midnight snacking.

Aubrey Beardsley