The Skinny guide to Glasgow's East End

The East End of Glasgow is home to some of the city's most iconic gig venues, some top quality independent food and drink, and a genuine community buzz, all updated for 2023

Feature by Tony Inglis | 06 Jul 2023
  • Young Fathers @ The Barrowland Ballroom

This article has been updated for the Skinny Guide to Glasgow 2023, available now at venues across Scotland.

Stretching from the Gallowgate to Dennistoun and beyond the football stadium at Parkhead, the East End retains a rough and ready feel and a community spirit that gentrification has dulled in other parts of the city. It’s cheaper, with colour and buzz, drawing in creatives and long-time residents alike.

The Barras

The historic Barras Market (242 Gallowgate), the bustling hub of the East End, is coming back into its own with a slightly different flavour. Vendors still hawk everything from pirate DVDs to vintage clothing, but now it’s surrounded by independent shops that stick out for their uniqueness. Two of the best are Ripe (Barras Market, Moncur St), a tiny magazine shop selling high-quality independent journalism that spills out onto the street, and The Woom Room (Stall A7, Barras Market) a workspace and shop with pieces from Glasgow-based artists. There are too many great stalls to check out, and the fun is in the discovery. But do sample the hidden gems that are Fishball Revolution (self-explanatory) and Café Veera (for hot chai) on Moncur Street. Clyde Built Radio should be on air blasting tunes too.

Other shops in Glasgow's East End

Get lost in the piles of books at Good Press (2 St. Andrews St) or find something cute at The Passenger Press (24 St. Andrews St). Just off Duke Street, the Econic Shop (27 Hillfoot St) offers a sustainable way to get your groceries, and Studio Pylon (10 Hillfoot St) has a colourful array of books, cards, prints and more.

Food and drink in Glasgow's East End

Mesa (567 Duke St) has the best sandwiches but the ones on sesame bread at Akara Bakery (567 Duke St) are also great. An unrivalled brunch item is the scampi roll from Scran (239 London Rd). Further towards town, the rustic-chic of OUTLIER (38 London Rd) is great for a rotating menu of sandwiches from the in-house bakery and for people-watching. Baked on Duke Street was the best pizza in the city, but after it recently announced its closure due to the impact of the cost of living crisis, we hope that the soon-to-open Frank's (358 Duke St) is an ample replacement. Arancini is plentiful over here it seems, as Italian deli Celino’s (620 Alexandra Parade) has mounds of the stuff, plus cold meats and focaccia for sunny park picnics. Dennistoun Bar-B-Que (585 Duke St) is a sloppy, delicious American-style diner. For a more extravagant eating experience, head to Celentano’s (28-32 Cathedral Sq). It offers a vibey night of fine dining with wine on tap and Italian small plates with a contemporary twist.

Outlier. Credit: Richard Gaston

In terms of bars, Redmond’s (304 Duke St) is the cosy neighbourhood fave for a late-night drink. Larger breweries WEST (15 Binnie Pl) and Drygate (85 Drygate) offer space for big groups. Good coffee is in abundance too: Tapa (19-21 Whitehill St), Andina (527 Duke St), Daily (160 Garthland Dr) and Zennor (354 Duke St) are the best.

Things to do in Glasgow's East End

The Glasgow Necropolis boasts the best view of the city. Glasgow Green is where TRNSMT festival takes place each summer, and is home to the former Templeton Carpet Factory, a 19th century brick impression of a Venetian palazzo. The People’s Palace gives a nice overview of Glasgow’s history.

Glasgow Women’s Library (23 Landressy St) in Bridgeton is a community-driven, grassroots-established celebration of the lives and achievements of the city’s women, boasting art, archival materials and exhibitions. The Iraqi diaspora-established Listen Gallery (204 Hunter St) is an intriguing grassroots experimental sound space. Both are worth visiting.

The East End’s role in Glasgow’s musical heritage is essential, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the Barrowland Ballroom on the Gallowgate (no. 244), a favourite of touring acts from all over and perhaps the best venue in the world. St Luke’s (17 Bain St) is another top smaller venue.