Best Bars in Glasgow’s Merchant City 2017
Last Updated: 30th January 2017
Our third major bar guide, this time looking at the often-requested and ever-popular Merchant City! The boundaries of this part of the city always seem to be shifting, however the generally accepted (by me) definition is that it is bordered by Royal Exchange Square/Queen Street to the west, Cochrane Street to the north, Argyle Street to the south and High Street to the east. As ever, I put out feelers to GOG’s ever-expanding Twitter following and got a lot of fantastic suggestions, almost all of which made the list below, but as an ex-inhabitant of Albion Street, I had a lot of ideas of my own too!
As always, there’s bound to be a few great bars which didn’t quite make the list. If you have a favourite which you don’t see below, please don’t be offended, but please do let us know in the comments below why you love it so much! People who read this article after you will undoubtedly see your comment and may be inspired.
Beer Cafe, 78 Candleriggs G1, ££
Starting off with one of my personal favourites, Beer Cafe really has one of the best beer selections you’ll find anywhere in the city with an extensive menu, categorised by the many different countries from which they originate. Seating is mainly around the edges of the bar with lots of standing room and numerous tables out within Merchant Square itself. There are also a few outdoor seats on Candleriggs itself, but good luck getting one when the weather’s good enough to want to!
Maggie Mays, 60 Trongate G1, £
Right on the southern fringe of the Merchant City, Maggie Mays is without a doubt one of the most popular bars in the area. Busy basically all the time, it’s nice for a chilled out meal or a couple of pints through the week, but almost approaches club levels of music and atmosphere on the weekend. Click here to read our full review.
Blackfriars, 36 Bell Street G1, £
A semi-traditional pub which always has a great selection of guest ales on the taps, at good prices. With a pub quiz every Monday and regular gigs throughout the week, there’s always something going on. Quite a large bar, there’s plenty of seating both inside and out. It really busies up with locals on the weekend.
Rab Ha’s, 83 Hutcheson Street G1, £
A hotel and restaurant with a bar built in. It’s pretty small, and always seems to have a good crowd. Good selection of beers on offer, including the wonderful local St Mungo’s from West Brewery, all at decent prices. Plus a real fire for those chilly winter evenings!
Bar Gandolfi, 64 Albion Street G1, ££
This stylish Albion street bar isn’t cheap, but has a brilliant selection of cocktails available from the extremely well stocked bar. Nice and laid back all the time, and never reaches the business levels of some of the other bars in the area. Definitely one for those who like to chill out and have a conversation with their drinks.
Babbity Bowster, 16-18 Blackfriars Street G1, ££
This one’s a bit love it or hate it I think, as it’s really never done it for me. But it got so many votes from our Twitter followers it must be doing something right! Definitely a nice quiet, relaxed atmosphere and very popular with the locals. Extremely expensive though so make sure your wallet’s well stocked! (The only place in Glasgow I’ve ever broken the £5 mark on a pint of lager!)
Bar 91, 91 Candleriggs G1, £
One of the most recommended by our Twitter followers, this cool bar on Candleriggs always pulls a crowd. Bustling atmosphere with a fantastic beer selection (bit of a trend in this part of town!) and solid food too. It ain’t cheap, but it’s not too bad either.
Home, 80 Albion Street G1, £
Bar Home is the one of the few bastions of affordability in this expensive part of town. With Wetherspoons level prices on a lot of their beer and wine, it’s no surprise that this place is absolutely mobbed on Friday/Saturday nights. Through the week it offers a nice chilled out atmosphere with big couches looking out onto Albion Street through the floor to ceiling windows. Click here to read our full review.
Metropolitan, 60 Candleriggs G1, ££
One of Merchant Square’s trendiest spots, and also one of the largest with a roomy downstairs bar, huge upstairs seating area and loads of seats both out in the Square and a handful out on Candleriggs. Decent beer selection (although not great) but a fantastic selection of spirits and cocktails. Prices are on the high side, but not extortionate.
Citation, 40 Wilson Street G1, ££
Impressive to look at (both inside and out) this trendy bar occupies almost half a block in the heart of the Merchant City. Definitely on the pricey end of the spectrum (even for the area) but the good food and better cocktails keep many coming back for more. Not the most atmospheric of interiors, but it’s comfortable.