Review: Maggie May’s, Merchant City
It’s quite fitting that the first pub’s threshold I crossed since moving to Glasgow is the first I’m choosing to write about here on Get Out Glasgow. This lively pub on the cusp of the Merchant City offers a sanctuary from the sweated floors and muffled bass of most other establishments open past the witching hour, and it’s not difficult to see why it’s become such a staple of Merchant City life for most.
I find that if it’s 1am on a given night, and I still have a glass in my hand, chances are the casual element of my evening has long since evaporated, and a couple hundred millilitres of Moscow’s finest along with it. Sure, you’ve got a veritable medley of dancing, drugs and downright characters on offer across the city, but if you’d rather not leave the pub, maybe catch some live music, and want to try something different, there are certainly a few options out there.
Maggie Mays, on the Trongate, is one of them. It’s a pub and restaurant by day and, well, a pub by night. It’s one of the few pubs in the city centre open until 3am most nights, and provides a bit of late night balance for Glasgow. It also has a live gig venue downstairs, which hosts a wide range of different acts.
You would be forgiven, however, for thinking that Maggie May’s caters solely to those musical types. The windows may be hung high with posters for gigs, open mic nights and other such shenanigans, and John and Yoko might keep you right when you cut a beeline to the bathroom, but what surprised me about Maggie’s is the diversity of crowd in there. Walk through the two sets of doors on a weekend night and you’ll be hard pushed not to see a stag party, a gaggle (?) of hipsters and a smoke laden group of pensioners on your first sweep (nowadays confined to the tarpaulined smoking area outside of course). A chair on the other hand, you might struggle with. Thankfully though, the delorean-esque charm of the place will soon have you forgetting your tired legs and weary soles.
You’ll get a great mix of tunes in there as well, which for me, is a really important element in sourcing a half decent pub. Whether or not there’s a live band doing their thing, you’ll generally find the music will have rocks in it somewhere, but from Sabbath to The Killers, you won’t leave without hearing a great few sing-a-longs, and probably a few you haven’t bopped along to in an age. The staff are usually very busy at nights, so there isn’t quite the familiar banter you might get with more traditional boozers, but manners and smiles are aplenty from most, so it’s hardly points dropped here.
Food is served most of the day, although the separate (and well apportioned) restaurant area closes off earlier than the rest. The food selection spars with the best of the pub grubbers, and the quality is certainly not to be sneezed at either. Whether it’s for a quick lunch bite, or more serious evening affair, you’ll likely find something to suit you.
I’d be a little remiss however if I didn’t point out that it pays to be a little wary with your wallet, at least where drinks are concerned. Whilst you’ll find a great selection of deals throughout the week, and even at weekends, if you’re not careful, you’ll be drinking your rent before you can call a taxi. Make sure and ask about any specials or cheap drinks they have on that night. You’ll often find that there will be a special on certain brands of spirits, so don’t insist on a jack and coke if there’s a decent bourbon at half the price!
Otherwise, Maggie’s offers a great all round experience for those who want to keep the party going, but avoid a club at the end of the night. Open till at least 2am (3am most nights) throughout the week, it’s a mainstay for Merchant City-ers, and certainly a place you should check out at least once if you’re out that way.
You can visit Maggie’s website for more information at maggiemays.info.
You can follow the author of this article, Jamie Cook, on Twitter @TheTartanRogue.