It’s not just what comes out of the bottles and goes down your throat that makes a bar worth visiting. Scotland now has a growing number of beautifully designed drinking dens that add a touch of style to a night on the town. We’ve taken a trawl across Glasgow and Edinburgh, and have come up with our selection of the cities’ coolest hangouts. Maybe it’s the decor, maybe it’s the mood, maybe it’s the people propping up the bar — but every one of the bars in this guide has something that sets it apart from your typical Scottish boozer. Remember, for up-to-date news on bars and restaurants opening in Scotland, check out The lists food section every fortnight. Research: Barry Shelby [Glasgow], Mark Robertson [Edinburgh]
36 Kelvingrove Street. 56-1 520i. Sun—Thu l lam—l lpm; Fri—Sat
The minimalist and monochromatic mecca that is Air Organic continues to influence the design of newer eating and drinking establishments - Glasgow‘s neo-Bauhausian revival shows no sign of abating. Going on two years in the current incarnation (formerly it was Bar Miro). Organic continues to be a popular draw at the southern fringes of Kelvingrove. Jengaheads and DJ Paul Cawley are the standard bearers of pre- club beat. with the added pleasures of ‘Cold City' techno funk on the final Saturday of the month and Sunday afternoon‘s ‘Breakfast Club spinning soul, funk and jazz. And if you‘re thinking healthy. in addition to wheatgrass juice and fruit smoothies (with names inspired by Reservoir Dogs). you can also now get a shot of oxygen.
Happy hour: Mon—ll’t'd. Fri—Sun 5— 7pm; Thu until Ilpm; half-price cocktails. burger and beer [5. vodka/gin dash or Bud [to £1.25.
129 Bath Street. 22l (i789. Mon—Sun noon—midnight; food until 10.30pm.
As head chef John Quigley readily admits. the basement howff in the recently opened Art House hotel is not a ‘destination bar’. And yet the modern surroundings are reasonably sumptuous and the barman is said to know how to mix a Martini — all you have to do is ask. It is a place where people go to be seen or. perhaps more relevant for most of tts. it is place to go see how the other half dress. Although the cocktail lounge itself is not particularly large. the Oyster Bar beyond the Teppan-yaki grill at the rear of the restaurant. with its option of Guinness and Champagne. should be open soon — and may well be even as you read this.
2 The Lisr Bar Gurde 1999
44—46 Ashton Lane. 334 (i688. Sun—Thu Sam-l lpm'. l‘ri—Sat Sam-midnight.
The cosier. cooler alternative to stablemate (‘ul I)e Sac downstairs. In addition to the Usual liquid treats. bartenders can whip tip a fruit drink to nicely irrigate the kidneys should recovery be necessary. DJs arrive nearly every night of the week. with Anton and Doug traditionally holding down the Friday slot and Dub Dentist in the Sunday rotation.
Happy hour: 5—7pm daily; pints £1.50. vodka/whisky dash £1.30.
280 Glassford Street. 572 0080. Mon—Sun l lam—midnight.
While it might not live tip to the Greek Dionysian excesses associated with its namesake. Bacchus holds its own in the competitive Merchant City market. It is no myth that its laid-back relaxed and friendly approach. drinks promos and food served until 7pm appeal to a diverse range of punters. And if you‘re looking for a private party space. the capacious basement has been refurbished.
Happy hour: 5—8pm daily t lilt' and 'I’hu until midnight); ('(u'ktailsfor £1.50. pronto [war at [1.20, draughts at [1.50.
7l Renlield Street. 333 9725. Mon—Sat main—midnight; Sun (rpm—midnight. Thanks to the bankroll of owners Belhaven Breweries. the Graven Images retro-fit has completely transformed the old Brahms and Lilst. balsa is the quintessential late 90s Glasgow style bar. sampling something from the previous three decades with an emphasis on the moddish (ilis. The baggy trousered pre-club crowd is catered to by established DJs Thursday—Saturday and some fresh talent on Sunday.
Happy hour: 5—8pm daily (Tilt’ until ('lUM’) with selected bottled hours and vodka/gin mixers at [1.60. £‘l..i()_tor somt’ pints. and the proniis‘t' (as H'(' go to press) of
ﬂavoured vodka spt't‘ia/s on Sun and Thu.
Air Organic and Bacchus
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