Glasgow Student Venues

Feature | 17 Sep 2012


The Butterfly and the Pig
Going to The Butterfly and the Pig is a bit like visiting your Granny's: the dated decor, the mismatched but incredibly comfortable couches, the ridiculously huge portions of delicious homemade food. This casual but extremely friendly bar hosts a weekly schedule of house bands, open mic nights, and a rather fine pub quiz.
153 Bath St 01412217711

As the huge, white lettering on the outside of the building shows, the folk at MacSorley’s are not for subtleties. But then who needs subtlety when you have over 100 spirits behind the bar, your own house ale, and the kind of booze deals that make students feel like affluent Arab sheikhs? A music bar with a great atmosphere that’s been built on for over a century, right in the heart of town.
42 Jamaica St 0141 248 8581

If you don’t get the reference, do yourself a favour and watch The Big Lebowski. If you’re still here, you’ll know that a bar called Lebowskis should specialise in one beverage in particular. Well these guys have thought of every twist imaginable on The Dude’s favourite drink. There are an impressive array of craft beers on offer as well, but if you come here and pass up a White Russian then you’re missing the point, man.
1008 Argyle St 0141 564 7988

Flying Duck
Free toast, and retro board games. Not the first two things you might imagine when conjuring up images of a student haunt, but the Flying Duck isn’t exactly a normal place. It hosts weekly life drawing classes, the cheekily-titled Oranjeboom Wednesdays film night which combine the dual pleasures of cheap Dutch beer and showings of cult films, and regular 1990’s-themed bingo games. Bingo, and free toast. 
142 Renfield St 0141 564 1450

For a rum bar in Finnieston, the Ivy has played host to a surprisingly large selection of Glasgow’s finest DJs. LuckyMe, Codeine Drums and Numbers all regularly take to the plush set of decks tucked away on top of the stairs. This commitment to music, along with the bar setting, make for a good option for when you feel like a night out, but can’t fully commit to it. On those nights, the Ivy will bring the party to you. 
1102 Argyle St 0141 337 3006

Hillhead Bookclub
One of the more bohemian Glasgow nightspots, Hillhead Bookclub ticks all the ‘hip’ boxes. Vinyl soundtrack - check. Quirky decor - check. Eclectic range of drinks and nostalgic comfort food - check.
They haven’t even named it after what it is, the blighters. Mind you, that name could come in handy when you need to tell the parents about your ‘extra studying’ - just tell ‘em you’ve been down the Bookclub.
17 Vinicombe St 0141 576 1700

Bloc+ is the kind of place that makes Edinburgh students deeply, deeply jealous. They may have a castle and some pandas, but do they have a communist-themed cafe/bar which plays host to its own orchestra? No, no they don’t. Bloc+ is a wild and crazy place most of the time, but go down on Tuesdays for the Slow Club, with relaxing and chilled-out live music and some nice cake.
117 Bath St 0141 574 6066

The late-arriving sister of the Edinburgh bar, Brewdog’s Glasgow venture swaps a stag party gauntlet for a spot across from the Kelvingrove in the leafy West End. Other than that, things are much the same. The somewhat-OTT branding remains a sticking point, but the array of beer on offer, both from Brewdog themselves and from their luminaries in the craft beer scene, make this the ideal spot for a more cultured drink after a jaunt around the museum.
1397 Argyle St 01413347175

Horseshoe Bar
Look around your living room, add up the ages of the inhabitants, and the number you come up with will still be nowhere near the age of the Horseshoe. With a history dating back to 1846, the Horseshoe provides exactly what you would expect from an elder statesman of the pub game; good beer, dark wood, slightly odd seating, and the musk of thousands of drunken weekday evenings.
17 Drury St 0141 248 6368

A gastro-pub in the heart of the Merchant City, but don’t let that put you off, for Blackfriars lacks much of the gloss and extraneous gubbins of other bars nearby. Instead, there’s a jolly and cosy atmosphere, a split-level layout with food upstairs and booze downstairs, a great array of pub grub, and enough local and international beer to float a battleship.
36 Bell St 01415525924

Brel is all about the beer garden. Situated on the cobbles of Ashton Lane, Brel has an individualistic look inside, and a delightful beer garden out the back. They play host to intimate gigs in the titchy conservatory, a conservatory which can be seen from the beer garden. Seriously, the beer garden. Grab a pint and a bench, and you’ll see what we mean.
39 Ashton Ln 01413424966

The Halt Bar
One of the comfiest pubs in the West End, Halt is ideal for taking shelter from winter blizzards, or for gentle outdoor boozing on a summer’s day. The old-style Glasgow interiors, decent prices, and the resident hoard of dogs make it a difficult place to leave once inside. You’ll have to at some point as you won't find a food menu here, but when its a choice between going out in the rain or staying in a comfy chair, grub can wait.
160 Woodlands Rd 0141 352 9996

An airy open plan cafe with one of the best views in Glasgow, Offshore is the ideal place for a bit of not-at-all-creepy people watching. As you gaze out the window at the passing Glaswegians, take advantage of the locally-sourced food menu or grab a coffee. If you grow tired of the people-watching, the basement doubles as an art gallery and regular classes. 
3/5 Gibson St 01413410110

From its dark entrance that belies the amount of space inside, Tinderbox is an experience. The design seems to vary from dark and woody to light and airy, depending on where you sit. The coffee is great, and the enormous selection of cakes and pastries make it a great option for a catch-up with friends. Oh, and there’s a painted forest on the wall. 
189 Byres Rd 01413393108

Haunt of students, artists and tea lovers, Tchai-Ovna draws you in with promises of a relaxed and calming vibe and a delicious vegetarian menu. Oh, and loads and loads of tea. 80 different varieties and blends are on offer, and once you’ve taken your pick the array of mismatching armchairs, wicker furniture and floor cushions allow plenty of space for lounging around.
42 Otago Ln 0141 357 4524

Artisan Roast
The heart of the operation, and the place where the magic happens. When grabbing a coffee at Artisan Roast’s Glasgow shop you’ll probably catch a glimpse of the roaster where their brilliant brew comes to life. The cafe presents a kind of shabby chic, inviting you to stick around and catch the aromas. As you’d expect from people who make coffee literally from scratch, they can do a mean cappuccino. It’s all in the bubbles, apparently. 
15 Gibson St 07776 428 409

Avenue G
This Byres Road cafe has three main focuses; serving up good coffee, making good food with local ingredients, and making sure you lot have a “jolly good time.” We are pleased to report that they succeed on all three counts. That they also provide value for money in a great location with a relaxed atmosphere and lovely staff are all very happy bonuses.
291 Byres Rd 0141 339 5336

Hidden Lane Cafe
This is a fairly straightforward one. The Hidden Lane Cafe is a cafe that is hidden, up a lane. Off Argyle Street, away from the shops and angry jakeys, the Cafe is part of the artistic bolt hole that is Argyle Court. Sitting alongside a gallery and a host of arts and crafts boutiques, it’s a place that inspires creativity, as well as doing a neat line in vintage tea cups and home-baked cakes. 
8 Argyle Ct 0141 564 1363

We know what you’re thinking: It’s a record shop, isn’t it? Well while Monorail next door punts all manner of music to trendy types with thick beards and thicker glasses, Mono is a top-drawer all-vegan cafe and bar which wears its meatlessness as a badge of honour. The variety is impressive, and the execution is brilliant. The cool music from next door makes regular appearances on the PA, as do the plaid-shirted hordes. 
103 King St 0141 553 2400

For over eighty years, spanning three generations, Coia's Italian restaurant has been dishing up tasty grub which marries the best bits of the Old Country with Glasgow's heartiest home comforts. Expect leather booths and polished wood, as well as Italian classics and legendary ice cream. They also offer takeaway, if you want lovely Italian food in the comfort of your grimy student halls.
473 Duke St 0141 554 3822

Mother India's Cafe
Opposite Kelvingrove Museum, this cosy cafe is the experimental little sister of the main Mother India restaurant. Its informal and friendly atmosphere makes for a laid-back dining experience which isn’t too hard on your pocket either. With an extensive spread of Indian food on offer, and plenty of options for vegetarians, the tapas-style portions allow you to try a bit of everything.
1355 Argyle St 0141 339 9145

Taco Mazama
An outpost of Southern Californian cuisine in the heart of the city, Taco Mazama is all about the burrito. All the usual fillings are on offer, with the pulled pork a particular favourite. If you fancy your Mexican food in a different configuration, tacos, enchiladas and quesadillas are also on the menu, and with late-night opening at the weekend this is one to remember for the end of a night out.
6 Renfield St 0141 248 8940

Banana Leaf
There may have opened a new branch in Albert Place, and seen their name partially usurped by a Chinese restaurant in the city centre, but ask any graduates about the Banana Leaf and they’ll send you to Dumbarton Road in the shadow of Kelvingrove Park. It offers the textbook definition of ‘informal dining’ - no alcohol licence, ramshackle service, massive portions and brilliant flavours.
76B Old Dumbarton Rd 0141 334 4445

Seafood can be something of a risky business. We won’t go into detail, suffice it to say that you want to avoid ‘cheap’ prawns. Good value is a different story, and that’s where Crabshakk comes in. The phone box-sized West End restaurant serves up fresh fish and seafood at entirely reasonable prices, in a setting that’s all tiles and stark grey paint. Worth booking for big occasions or when you need to impress a special someone. 
1114 Argyle St 01413346127

Asia Style
The proprietors of Asia Style seem to believe in the concept of hiding in plain sight. Widely regarded as a purveyor of the best Asian food in the West End, Asia Style keeps its underground status by unswervingly sticking to its canteen-style chic. The menu is authentic and broad, with a huge variety of dishes to choose from and prices that won’t hit your wallet too hard.
185-189 St. Georges Rd 01413328828

Green Chilli Cafe
When the bank balance looks a bit rough but you don’t quite fancy hitting the cold baked beans, you could do worse than heading to Green Chilli. The Indian tapas restaurant hosts Madness Nights every Tuesday and Wednesday where dishes start at just a pound. Other nights aren’t that much more expensive, and the flavours and style don’t suffer for being so ludicrously cheap. 
1293 Argyle St 01413376378

If you enjoy meat, then the Brazilian steakhouse Tropeiro is the place for you. Waiters circle the tables dispensing freshly barbecued meat. When you’ve had enough, or if you don’t fancy what’s next, simply place your provided red card on the table and the staff will leave you to recover. Alternatively, leave your green card on display and fill yourself up for the weekend.
363 Argyle St 01412222102


The King’s Theatre
The King’s has resided on Bath Street for over a century, and the ornate sandstone facade has earned the building an A-listed status. In terms of content, the theatre houses touring productions, comedy, dance and, of course, the annual panto. There’s also a healthy focus on amateur drama, with several am-dram productions treading the boards each year.
297 Bath St 01412401111

Few venues are more rooted in Glaswegian history than Tramway, having operated as a tram depot, a transport museum, and now living on as a performance and exhibition space. Tramway 1 hosts performance-based events including theatre, contemporary dance, gigs and much more, whilst Tramway 2 is the primary gallery space. To give you an idea of its size, Tramway 2 was convincingly transformed into a sheltered housing complex at the start of the year. This is where to go for the big art.
25 Albert Dr 01412760950

Tron Theatre
The Tron theatre in the Merchant City offers a mixed bill of new writing and re-workings, with an emphasis on Scottish, UK and world premieres. Additionally, it plays host to many of the city's arts festivals such as Glasgay!, Celtic Connections and the Merchant City Festival. In addition to theatre performances, this 16th century building also hosts exhibitions in the Long Gallery and boasts a swanky theatre bar.
63 Trongate 01415524267

 Theatre Royal
The oldest theatre in Glasgow and the longest running in Scotland, the Theatre Royal screams tradition. Its grand auditorium with cherry-red walls, plush seating and an ornate ceiling is home to Scotland's resident companies – Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet. The Royal is a great place to experience both national and international dance and opera as well as touring productions, and some big name comedians.
282 Hope St 08448717627

Grosvenor Cinema
While it may have lost some of its alternative charm, the regular classic movie marathons and the generally solid programming help it maintain a strong appeal. The quaint Ashton Lane backdrop doesn’t hurt either, and makes grabbing a pre-film bite or pint an enjoyably cobbled affair.
Ashton Ln 0141 339 8444

Glasgow Film Theatre
The GFT, as most know it, has been part of Glasgow’s cultural heritage since 1939. The building itself is famous for its incredible art deco design and features, and the interior is cosy yet luxurious. The two screens show a range of international releases, rare and late night screenings, as well as hosting Q&A events with special guests and directors. GFT also acts as the hub of the Glasgow Film Festival every spring.
12 Rose St 01417787773

Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art houses an enjoyable collection of contemporary Scottish art as well as an extensive library and a programme of exhibitions featuring big hitters from the international art world. Centrally located, it has traditionally formed a haven for emo kids on a Saturday afternoon so if you haven’t grown out of it yet, fire away. 
Royal Exchange Sq 0141 287 3050

The Common Guild
Housed in a beautiful Victorian building, Common Guild exhibitions take place in rooms spread over two floors, including a unique library designed by artist Andrew Miller. The library stocks a range of art books, catalogues, publications and periodicals and can be perused by visitors. As well as gallery-based exhibitions, The Common Guild hosts a range of exhibition talks, non-gallery projects and is responsible for the direction of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. 
21 Woodlands Tce 0141 428 3022

Virginia Gallery
Tucked away in a Virginia Street basement, Virginia Gallery hosts regular exhibitions, many specialising in erotic art. The space is also used for artist talks, life drawing classes and burlesque showcases. Upstairs, the shop Luke and Jack Ltd describes itself as catering for love, life, sex, romance and celebration. They stock a wide range of LGBT literature, erotic toys and willy-shaped pasta. 
45A Virginia St 01415525699

Transmission Gallery
Founded in 1983 by GSA graduates, Transmission Gallery continues to fulfil its original mandate to offer exhibition space and opportunities for young artists. Transmission encourages interaction between its members to create an inspirational atmosphere. The gallery also hosts film screenings, an annual exhibition of members' work, and acts as one of the host venues for the annual Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.
28 King St 01415527141

Centre for Contemporary Arts
A multi-functioning arts venue, CCA plays host to a dynamic programme of contemporary film, music, performance, and the odd painting as well. It houses the bookshop Aye Aye Books, studio and gallery space for collaborative workshops, and the Saramago cafe Bar with its delicious tapas, quality beers and outdoor terrace. 
350 Sauchiehall St 01413524900

Recoat Gallery specialises in exhibiting street art, graffiti, illustration, photography and graphic art, as well as hosting several off-site projects. If you're a street artist, Recoat is your one-stop-shop for materials and spray paint, as well as magazines and books dedicated to graffiti. Their annual 'Affordable Art Show' is an excellent place to pick up an original piece of art that won't break the bank.
323 North Woodside Rd 01413410069


La Cheetah
A space for club nights at the smaller, DIY end of the scale, La Cheetah has a number of elements going in its favour. First, there’s the size of the place, which means that it never feels anything other than busy. Then there’s the eclectic mix of music, with techno, dubstep, house and electro all getting an airing. If that’s not enough for you, then go just to see the DJ booth. Seriously, it’s bonkers.
73 Queen St 01412211379

The vegan tapas palace hosts gigs and club nights in its stark and spacious basement, with bigger promoters, DIY outfits and curious independents all getting a look in. Expect locally sourced avant-garde stupidity one night, and your favorite aging post-hardcore act the next. Club nights often take the form of gig after-parties, but some of Glasgow’s finest DJs have be known to hijack the place.
22-28 Renfield Ln 01412222254

Flat 0/1
Flat 0/1 is a bar and nightclub decked out like a student flat. It comes complete with a buzzer, mismatching furniture and a bike chained up in the hall. The bar serves some very cheap booze, such as the ever classy White Lightning, as well as decent draft beers and spirits. The music played is a mix of funk, house and electro, and in true flat party style you need to dance around the furniture.
162 Bath St 01413316227

Nice ’n’ Sleazy
Aiden Moffat got it right when we asked him to sum up Sleazy’s in five words; “Very, very difficult to leave”. That’s not to say you won’t want to – the Sleazy’s basement can be hellishly claustrophobic, festering with the very essence of the messy night out. Persevere. Sleazy’s is home to the city’s most intelligent, open-minded gig bookers, regularly handing the stage over to acts that others would barely consider music.  
421 Sauchiehall St 01413330900

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
A niche-defying institution, King Tut’s is both a homely basement bar with pool tables and food, and an upstairs gig space with an incredible reputation and a track record for booking great bands. Provided you don’t get stuck behind the pillar at the top of the stairs you’ll see just why this is one of the best small venues in the city, and the powerful PA means you’ll definitely hear why.
272a St Vincent St 01412215279

The Arches
The Arches’ location underneath the West Coast mainline among previously derelict caverns may cause consternation to newcomers, but there’s no doubt that it's one of the city’s largest, most creative venues. The not-for-profit organization invests much of what it makes back into programming, allowing promoters to bring in acts and DJ’s, both new and established, whose fan base can no longer fit in a sweat-choked basement bar.
253 Argyle St 01415651000

The Barrowlands
If you’re in Glasgow for any amount of time then the chances are you’ll end up at a gig in this Gallowgate institution. It’s truly one of the greatest venues anywhere in the UK with incredible acoustics, a ridiculous starry facade and a sprung dance floor that allows Barras crowds to genuinely jump higher and go crazier than anyone else. An incredible venue which plays host to great bands from across the world almost every night.
244 Gallowgate 01415524601

O2 Academy
Arguably one Glasgow's best gig venues, the Academy represents the middle ground between intimate gig and stadium tour. Formerly an Art Deco cinema, the large capacity allows for established acts from home and abroad, and pleasingly the Academy don’t stick to one musical genre, and offer a real mix of shows. It is also home to the notorious Club Noir, a live club night with titillating burlesque performances that always sells out. 
121 Eglinton St 08444772000

Sub Club
The best club in the country and one of the best in Europe, this dance music mecca is home to some of the finest DJ talent around. That has a lot to do with the soundsystem, which will take your face clean off if you aren’t braced for it. It has a fair amount to do with the history and community vibe that has existed around nights like Optimo for the Sub’s 20-odd years. And it has plenty to do with the punters, who turn up and bust out on a nightly basis.
22 Jamaica St 01412484600

The 13th Note
Standing tall amid the creative decay of the city centre’s east end, The 13th Note has cemented its reputation as an uncompromising believer in, and supporter of live music in Glasgow. The absurdly cheap overheads allow all manner of mentalists to have their way with the bar’s crumbling cellar. Shows lean in a heavier, more esoteric direction as a result, so amongst other things expect hardcore, drone, noise, and plain silliness.
50 King St 01415531638

Just on the right side of the Clyde’s industrial wasteland is Studio Warehouse Glasgow. As a venue, it’s come a long way since its days as a rotting, semi-legal hipster’s wet dream. The bleak interior has been transformed into a sleek, haunting auditorium. SWG3 itself is home to all manner of graft-dodging creative types, many of whom have been involved in the highly innovative gigs, festivals, and club nights you’ll find there.
100 Eastvale Pl 01413577246

Glue Factory
Whilst SWG3 has sought to rejoin polite society, the Glue Factory at Spiers Lock revels in its post-industrial squalor. The former production plant hosts gigs, mini-fests and club nights within its unsettling, labyrinthine interior, and many of them make creative use of the space. Just watch yourself on the homebrews – they’re cheap, delicious, and some of Glasgow’s most dangerous concoctions.  
22 Farnell St


Glasgow is blessed enough to have two of the eight remaining Fopp stores in the UK. Both stock a massive selection of films and TV boxsets, with an extensive range of world cinema titles. They house a wealth of CDs alongside classic novels and modern favourites, all priced reasonably cheaply. They also offer music merchandise such as t-shirts, posters and headphones. In short, it is immensely hard to leave Fopp without buying something.
Byres Road 01413377490 Union Street 01412857190

Mr Ben Retro Clothing

Mr Ben Retro Clothing is a haven of clothes, shoes and accessories from yesteryear. Stocking everything from antique wedding dresses and vintage bowling shoes to retro football tops and fur coats, this treasure chest of unique designer and labelled pieces guarantees every customer leaves with something unique. Reasonably priced, trendies of all ages flock here to find inspiration.
Kings Court  01415531936

Voltaire and Rousseau
Voltaire and Rousseau is a delightfully grand name for a shop that displays their stock in great tottering piles across the floor. Specialising in rare and second hand books, it’s a brilliant place to pick up cheap reads, rare finds and old course books. It’s not catalogued, so is a good place to grab a text before a tutorial, or, if you’ve time to rootle it’s a book worms dream.
Otago Lane 01413391811

Tam Shepherd's Trick Shop
Why would you not want to visit a century old magic shop run by a magician? As well as practical jokes and magic tricks, Tam Shepherd’s Trick Shop stocks theatrical make up, wigs, masks and costumes, making it a one-stop-shop for any dress up situation.  With an array of accessories and staff who always “have something in the back” great costumes are created, not bought, here.
Queen Street 01412212310

Love Music
Inside the Aladdin’s cave of Love Music, indie lovers can while away the hours foraging through CDs, music DVDs, vinyl and magazines, as well as a wealth of second hand merchandise. The emphasis here is on supporting Scottish music, and whilst they do sell some mainstream indie, the majority of stock you won't find in larger music stores.
Dundas Street 01413322099 

The Good Spirits Co.
The Good Spirits Co. is an emporium of all things alcoholic. Specialising in all sorts of spirits, the room is filled with floor to ceiling shelving groaning with gins, vodkas, whiskies, rums, tequilas and bourbons. It’s not supermarket brand prices, but if you’re passionate about spirits, looking for something specific, or just want to bask in its alcoholy goodness, it’s the best booze shop in town.
Bath Street 01413322099