Friday, 25 March 2011

All change at Glasgow Queen Street

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.

11 comments:

  1. One thing I missed in Scotland was Mexican food. I found one place but it was terrible. Although I am sorry to hear about the closure of Ingram.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We get “Mexican” food via imitating US Tex-Mex, so by the time the recipes reach restaurants here they've been dumbed down for American tastes and ingredients, and then dumbed down again for British tastes and ingredients.

    There is a shop in Glasgow called Lupe Pintos whose owners have (shock!) actually been to Mexico. But in most “Mexican” places here the guy who's eaten at Taco Bell once is considered an expert.

    At least we can get Corona everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
  3. " One might think this would be quite pleasant"

    And one would be correct.

    "but in reality it means the pub gets cramped and stuffy quite quickly."

    Been there twice including yesterday and it is actually rather good.

    "Other than that, well, it’s a Wetherspoons"

    Decent cask beer too, so that'll be a compliment then?

    ReplyDelete
  4. RIP Ingram, hopefully the "mexican" won't be as bad as the others.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Decent cask beer? That would be a complement. As would cheap prices. But the characterless airport lounge feel? Surly staff? Tacky fixtures and fittings? Blaring tv? Bams? Screaming weans? Ingrained smell of vinegar? The absence of a regular clientele or general sense of conviviality? Less appealing.

    There's more to a pub than the range of beer, which is always better, and usually cheaper, at home.

    Depressing about the Ingram, by the way. I wonder how long before the Station goes the same way.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, and on the issue of Mexican food, I can highly recommend Bibi's Cantina in the further reaches of Partick.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Finton: Are you talking about the same pub as me? Have you been there? The staff were exemplary on all three visits I've made and nothing smelt of vinegar, there were no children, nothing was tacky, nor was there a tv blaring.

    I'm too polite to say you are talking bollocks. Er no. I'm not.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm sorry for any misunderstanding, but I was referring to Weatherspoons in general, considering mind Barm's remark, "Other than that, well, it’s a Wetherspoons", your response to that, ("Decent cask beer too") and, well, my response to your response.

    Though as it happens, I have visited (as far as I am aware) every other Wetherspoons in the Great Glasgow area, and yes, all of those descriptions fit, which is why I'm not anxious to visit too many more. (Insert Anatidaeic/peripatetic cliche here.) But I'm too polite to call you a hubristic, semi-literate fuckwit. No, really, I am. Really.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Behave, children, or there'll be no beer with tea and Teddy will be upset.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can reliably inform you that the beer range at Browns is huge. We carried a wide range of European beers on draft such as Kozel, Pilsner Urquell, Rotthaus, and Veltins as well as a large selection of bottle beer (cusquena, kasteel cru, innes and gunn) to name a few. Oh, and cask ale too. Drop by and try us out!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Apothecary Fox: I've already been in. Watch this space! But my point is still the same – if the beer's so good, why doesn't it deserve a page in the menu?

    ReplyDelete