Although to ad-lib means to improvise, nobody could accuse the team behind this rejuvenated bar and diner of making things up as they go along — they've already got venues like Firebird and Bar Brel under their belt. Ad Lib’s central Glasgow site, which was most recently operating as the pioneering tapas operation Junkanoo, has returned to its American roots with a revival of its original name and style.
Nestling a stone’s throw from Central Station, the premises have been stripped back and a false ceiling removed to reveal original cornicing and a glass roof. Ad Lib is a no-fuss kind of place with sturdy parquet flooring, slatted bench-style seating and classic American photographs on the walls. The familiar narrow entrance hall, which has been decked out with a slick bar and stools, opens out onto the larger area for dining and drinking. This provides just the right feeling of being tucked away from the means streets - and inevitable rain — outside.
Manager Neil Connolly is determined that Ad Lib will become what its customers choose to make of it. ’lt's what people want it to be,’ he says. 'We’re offering people the options of eating, drinking and listening to our house DJs.’ From the moment you sit down, you're aware of just how impressive the Linn sound system is. From mellow grooves during the day to sets by the likes of Nick Peacock at night, Ad Lib is a laidback place, where the music is good but you'll always be able to hear yourself think —
banging tunes just aren't the house style.
The menu is fresh, relaxed and tasty. The burgers and sausages here are made fresh daily. With recipes like venison and blue cheese or lamb and mint, we’re talking gourmet rather than junk food. Vegetarians are welcome and the house specialities are the home-made
Stirring it: Wok Bar 100 THE lIST 20 la“ -3 Feb 2003
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Bro, brrqht and shiny, Edinburgh's Wok Bar s a neon-lrt tr‘rbtrte to the flash- frred (ookrnq of the East Somewhere between a noodle bar and a restaurant, the food on offer Includes elements of Japanese, ltlalaysran, Thar and Clrrnese (ookery
The (home of beer says rt all you can try an rnter'r‘atronal sele<tron rn(ludrng Trrjer', Tsrnrj Tao, Sapporo, Bud or Guinness Starters rnrlude soups and dumpirng and, for marn dishes, the menu offers stir fries and grills, Thar and Malaysian ('urr'res as well as frllrng noodles soups lrke salmon udon \r/enetarzan options are available, thouq'l H‘ a defrnrte mrnorrty Most of the marns hover around the £6 mark for a substantial bot-:lful Everythrng's cooked fresh to order so, at peak
American improv: Ad Lib
chutneys, relishes and salsas. This is not the kind of establishment where the staff will fret if you’d rather nurse a few beers; in fact they'd positively encourage it. Whilst the Ad Lib team are well rehearsed, they'd like their customers to feel free to improvise. (Moira Jeffrey) Ad [.lf), 1 l I Hope Street, G/asgow, 2/18 6645
trmes, a short wart may be necessary Although srtuated rrght rn the heart of university territory, the crowd, partrcularly at the weekend, rs not exclusively students Opening at llam, Wok Bar’s lunchtrmes are popular At nrght rt rs the right krnd of place to refuel on your way out or rndeed on yOur way home, with food served untrl 12 30am Thursdays to Saturdays
Wok Bar rs a jomt venture between Caledonran Herrtable and the Dublrn- based team behrnd Glasgow’s lvlao Manager Jonathan Topprng descrrbes rt thus 'We're less of a srster restaurant, more of a lrttle brother’ DeSrgn rs brrqht but farrly functronal, wrth the neon elements comrng rnto therr own after dark (Mona Jeffrey)
a Wok Bar, 26—37 Potterrow, Edmburgh, 667 8594
' Spit or swallow
It’s all a matter of taste.
In the austerity o! the post-('rrrrstrrras lull, there's no reason to stop ergoyrnn the odd bottle of vane (wanted, you probably want to tat dowr on the cost Cheap to son‘e was mean f l 00 bargains, but bear 'n mad that t'o' an average strength bottle of ‘.‘.:t‘.e, f l 33 of :ts (‘ost does on tax alone Sorr‘etrmes spendrnq an extra it or w (an bad you a tatne worth °.\‘.'l(t‘ as tlltl(ll rn qualrtv
Santa Carolina Chﬂean Sauvignon 1999 (Me,
£3 69l A blend of the popular Sauvrrjrton Blanr and rts less '( lassrt' Sauvrqnon Vert that keeps the prr(e to a rnrnrrnurn but retarns all the aspet ts of the Sauvrrjnon family Fresh and (rrsp on the nose, With elt'lerflower' and grapefruit overtones, /ltt()y lemon on the palate
l} \ler 6 ll 5‘96
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Mosaique Chardonnay 1996 (Frame, £3 99) Made In (Ol‘rlUlKIlOll With the mighty Penfolds of Australia, rt offers ama/rng _m.,,1 ‘ (omplexrty for yOur dosh Light
hints on the nose, and a Vibrant, wide breadth of flavours on the tongue
Metairie Du Bois _ .
Syrah 1998 lFrance, £3 99) A F——‘ ., I 54-“: great example of a lrghter style of
the tradrtronally g, y I‘- ,\ H quite smoky and ‘
dense Syrah r. 3. “3'7. grape, thrs has ‘3“ v
sprry, bramny ,_ frurt With a
smoky aftertaste An rntro to a Fren< h classic
Vina Porta Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 1995/96 lChrle,
£4 99) Rarely Will you frnd a wrne of thrs maturrty at thrs prrre on the shelves Overwhelming whrffs of blackcwrant (alcoholrr' Rrbena, anyone?) wrth a hrnt of IIQUOHCO and allsprce Very delrcate tannrns make rt silky smooth on the palate, and a healthy 13 5% alcohol adds a very pleasant ‘krck’ errted avarlabrlrty (Gordon Haggartyr
II A// wrnes available from Oddb/ns
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