marma- State of the

style art

As bars go, it’s bigger than most. Rory Weller admires the architecture.

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the [mute couture closet. Glasgow finds itself another style bar. The former cheesemarket on Albion Street in the heart of the Merchant City has been transformed into Bargo. a huge new modern cafe bar.

What strikes you first when walking into Bargo is how everything is on such an immense scale. From the huge retractable window fronts and wall to wall hanging mirrors. to the massive lighting canopy that moves through the day to alter the spatial dynamics of the venue, it is big with a capital B. When you say that the bar occupies one whole wall, you really mean it. the strutted. slatted wooden structure soars up three floors as well as housing a baby bar on the balcony. The industrial scale and design is tempered by details like the warm lighting and specially designed chairs that seem to shrink from the size ofthe place. The music also helps to


make the place a little less cold, with a £20,000 state of the art system that selects the music most in keeping with the hour ofthe day and matches the

It's obvious that a whole heap of money has been thrown at Bargo. The actual figure is between £l.2 and £l.4 million. You would think that Tennents Taverns. who own it, would be screaming front 48 sheet roadside hoardings the wonders of their new bar, but according to Fiona Thompson. the manager of Bargo. this isn't what the bar is about at all. ‘We're not that


Bargo: llle under s tor style

bothered about it being an instant success,‘ she says, ‘We‘d much prefer it to have a slow, but steady build up through word of mouth.’ Everything has to be just right for Bargo. Bar staff had to undergo a series of interviews and complete a three-week training programme to secure their jobs and to make sure they were “into what Bargo is about".‘

And what exactly is Bargo about? ‘lt‘s like nothing else in the country,‘ explains Thompson. ‘Combining the best in atmosphere, service, music, food and design. Subdued style is the

best way to describe it.‘

The main menu which is served daily from noon to 8pm has been described as LA/Meditenanean. but not by Bargo. so they‘re not just being poncey. Rich pickings include the marinated chicken breast with Thai spices and aromatic rices (£5.50) or the linguini with smoked salmon, cream and fresh dill (£4.75). A patisserie bar will shortly be put in place and they do take-away sandwiches at lunch time, presented in foil-lined bags with Bargo printed on the front, giving lunch time a new f_a_shion accessory. The snack menu runs into the night with tempura and enchiladas and on Sundays an all-day breakfast is available replete with all the magazines and newspapers.

All this should help them reach the target market they are aiming for, a young, sussed clientele made up of the slew of architect agencies and offices in the area, Tron goers, the famously fashion-conscious students of Strathclyde University and shoppers taking a step away from the high street stores.

They're not overly concerned about getting the pre-club crowd in but are very keen to get the music just right at night, opting for a drum ‘n‘ bass mix at the weekend and bringing in local 018. They also have plans to book guest touring DJs too.

Bargo has opened, pass the word. Bargo. 80 Albion Street. Glasgow. 552 2680.


Get your teeth into the recent and the up-and- coming food and drink in the central belt.

I 1996 Glasgow Ale Festival The Arches. Midland Street. The Glasgow And West Of Scotland branch of CAM RA kick off the beer festival season with a three-day real ale extravaganza running Thurs 26—Sat 28 Sept. There are over 20.000 pints of |30 brews available over the three days and almost half of them come from the growing band of Scotland‘s independent breweries. As well as the home grown strains of amber nectar. overseas brewers are well represented at the foreign beer bar. Unusual brews include a banana beer called De Troch Tropical and a smoked beer from Bamberg which goes under the name of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. CAMRA have organised industrial coolers to ensure that the beers are served at the appropriate temperatures and the entire operation apparently requires L42 miles of beer line to connect the casks to the fonts. An interesting

insight into the way a true beer enthusiast‘s mind works is displayed in the press release for this event. The aforementioned length of beer line is ‘equal to the distance between the Three Judges at Partick Cross and the Bon Accord at Charing Cross.‘ What terms they use to define volume should prove interesting. ‘Loch Lomond holds the equivalent of one

CAM RA chapter‘s weekend intake‘ perhaps?

There will be German sausage stalls and a traditional pie stall on hand to soak up the booze and live bands will be playing every night to disperse any excess energy.

Doors open at 3pm on the Thursday and noon on the Friday and Saturday. Entry costs £ l—£2.50.

I Brel 39 Ashton Lane. 342 4966. The people behind Baby Grand and Cottier’s are the proprietors of this converted stable/coach house. As you might expect from a bar named after Belgium‘s most famous son (Hercule wasn‘t real nor Tintin. sorry to shatter dreams but . . . ) mussels and chips feature on the menu along with lashings of Belgian beer. There are Dls on Thursdays and

Sundays along with live aeoustic music on Sunday

I afternoons.


I Gilded Balloon Coffee Bar 233 Cowgate. 220 6550. All those who made the Gilded Balloon cafe their second home during the Festival will be relieved to hear the cafe is staying open. Until 6pm you can tuck into assorted baked potatoes. nachos.

hummus. Scottish platters.

olives and enough types of coffee to keep an elephant awake. Give them a phone and they‘ll even deliver your lunch. All the food is cooked on the premises.

I Oddbln’s Wine Tasting There‘ll be much in the way of sniffing. slurping and spitting going on in the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh over the weekend of 2l—22 Sept.

Oddbins are holding one of their justly renowned wine tastings with over 300 different wines from over 30 different stalls available for your delectation.

The event runs 1 lam-5pm each day; tickets costing £15 are available from all branches of Oddbins in advance and all the proceeds go to charity.

)1. information superhighway


’Le Sept

7 Old Mhmarket Close Edinburgh lunch and dinner

Monday to Thursday all day Friday and Saturday L - Sundays dinner only

telephone 0131 225 5428


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Tel 0141-334 5007