Pub/Bar of the Month January 2015: The Laurieston, Glasgow, UK
The Laurieston, Glasgow, UK
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Based on a recent pub experience, I think that’s pretty sound advice.
If Glasgow’s Laurieston bar had been a book, I would not have ventured even as far as the first page because the pub has as grim an exterior as you’re ever likely to find – something, I’m sure, that has deterred many potential visitors.
But I am so glad I did step over the threshold because, inside, The Laurieston is a real heart-warming experience.
This pub is over a hundred years old, although its defining features belong to the 1960s when a fundamental remodelling took place.
An old picture, framed inside, reveals a building that was tall and rather ornate, but now the top storeys have disappeared, leaving a squat, ugly ducking with a flat roof and tiled walls. The graceful etched windows have long gone, replaced by unalluring little rectangles of glass covered by protective grills.
Inside, however, the place is a joy, a remarkable tribute to 1960s pub design. Red vinyl banquettes and tiny formica-topped tables are a pleasurable reminder of how things used to be in the pub world at the time when the one large bar here was divided into lounge and public areas.
The lounge side is the plusher of the two – it has a carpet, steam railway prints, a well-primed jukebox and even a few remaining bell-pushes for service at the table.
The public side, in contrast, is a busy old place, its polished wood walls pinned with pictures of locals and visitors who have made The Laurieston a port of call on their Glaswegian pub crawls. Many leave signed beermats as a memento.
Globe lights are suspended from the wood-panelled ceiling, casting a glow on old brewery adverts, a large selection of books for customers’ perusal and a rather odd collection of obituaries torn from daily newspapers.
If anyone is hungry, there’s a hot pie cabinet by the front door, and if you venture around the large oval bar, you’ll find three handpumps ready to dispense beers from Fyne Ales and Jaw breweries.
As you order, the service from long-serving landlord James Clancy and his team is warm and friendly. You’ll end up in conversation whether you want to or not.
There are some fine places in which to enjoy good beer in Glasgow these days. A rather run-down area, in the shadow of a railway bridge, may not seem an obvious place to find one. But make the effort.
Just ten minutes’ walk south from Central station, across the Clyde, The Laurieston has to be on your agenda and, when you get there, put first impressions to one side. You won’t be disappointed.
The Laurieston, 58 Bridge Street, Glasgow, G5 9HU
Tel. (0141) 429 4528
Opening Hours: 11–midnight; 12.30–11 Sunday