There are a fair few pub opening and closings going on around the George Square area of Glasgow at the moment. None of them are looking terribly promising, but I shall give them all a fair chance.
The saddest impending closure is the Ingram Bar. It’s finally been let after over six months on the market, and according to the license application in the window is going to become a “Mexican” bar-restaurant called Pintos.
Belhaven has seemed intent in running the place into the ground for quite a while, with the beer range reduced to Greene King IPA most of the time. It’s had a varied history — the old incarnation of the Ingram Bar was gutted sometime in the 1980s and the place traded as a Yates’ Wine Lodge for years, then was briefly Droothy Neebors before reverting to the Ingram Bar just a few years ago.
In the summertime hordes of European backpackers arrive at, or leave from, Queen Street, desperate to find what they imagine to be a traditional Scottish pub. If you can’t make a go of just such a pub right across the road from the station, you should probably jack it in. Maybe that's Belhaven's thinking too.
Just across the road, the fake Irish pub is being gutted and will be Droothy when it re-opens, apparently. No idea who’s behind that. Is the name calculated to attract punters using very old guidebooks who are looking for Droothy Neebors on Queen Street? It wouldn’t be the first time a pub has opened with a similar name to a previous establishment a couple of streets away. Shortly after the Bay Horse on Bath St “went on fire” and was demolished, a new Bay Horse opened round the corner in Hope St.
The Camperdown Place is now open. JD Wetherspoon have opened another pub on George Square bang slap next to their existing one, the Counting House. Rumour has it that JDW snapped up the site to stop anyone else getting it. It’s certainly atypical in that it’s a lot smaller than the huge, cavernous buildings they usually take on. One might think this would be quite pleasant but in reality it means the pub gets cramped and stuffy quite quickly. Other than that, well, it’s a Wetherspoons …
The final new venture is Brown’s, on the south side of the square, next to Jamie Oliver’s joint in the former Post Office and due to open on the 8th of April. The format is one of Mitchells’ and Butlers’ numerous chains. M&B have recently upped their game a fair bit with regards to beer (even All Bar One has Sierra Nevada nowadays), but looking at the drinks menu on the Brown’s website I lost count of the pages devoted to champagne, cocktails and wine, not to mention the twelve different kinds of rum — not a word about beer. So it remains to be seen whether the place will be, as I suspect, a dead loss for beer drinkers.