Michael J. Darton
NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Glasgow article click DailyXtraTravel
Click on the link for a handy PDF version of our July 2008 Glasgow travel feature!
Scotland's biggest city, Glasgow once was known as the British Empire's 'second city.' Today, it remains a competitive force in the worlds of business, finance, and gay frolic.
Glasgow's streets are busy and vibrant, and the charming River Clyde runs through the city center. Fast talking, friendly Glaswegians are proud of their city and give a warm welcome tovisitors.
The Glasgow Gay & Lesbian Centre (84 Bell Street) is the nerve center for local events and info. Manager Drew and his staff are always courteous and helpful.
Glasgow Guest House (56 Dumbreck Road; +44-141-427-0129) is quaint and comfortable, and dishes up a wonderful Scottish breakfast. They're a five-minute train journey from the city center of town, or a taxi ride costing about £6. Your hosts are happy to help orient you around town.
Marks Hotel (110 Bath Street; +44-141-353-0800) is gay-friendly, in a great location, and sports an elegant, modern design. The room-service menu offers tasty vegetarian dishes, and there's free wi-fi.
Coming up on its eight birthday, Revolver Bar (6a John Street) remains an integral part of the Glasgow scene. Darren keeps things humming here now at this venue that draws locals and tourists. There's a large bar area with stalls, comfortable chairs and tables, and pool. Check out the comedy nights, and on Tuesdays, the "Wii" -- the new craze in interactive gaming. There's a communal atmosphere and Darren, with his keen eye, will team you up with someone you'll get along with.
Delmonica's Bar (68 Virginia Street) is a large venue. Look out for Big Brother nights, following showings of the popular British reality TV show throughout the summer. Their private karaoke booths are free on Mondays.
Polo Lounge (84 Wilson Street) hosts Resurrection on Thursday with '80s dance music and £2 drink specials.
Waterloo (306 Argyle Street) doesn't rest on laurels, even if it's Glasgow's -- and maybe Scotland's -- longest-running gay bar. Rainbow flags dress the windows of this laid-back, traditional pub.
Bennets Disco (80-90 Glassford Street) is lively and fun -- but not on Mondays or Wednesdays, when they're closed. Sherry Trifle hosts Bingo here.
Byblos Nightclub (71-73 Albian Street, Merchant Square; Byblosglasgow.com) offers music on different nights, ranging from fun, cheesy pop to the classic.
Moda (58 Virginia Street) is a fashionable pub and club open daily from 5 p.m., and staying open till 3 a.m. at weekends.
Court Bar (69 Hutcheson Street) is small and mostly straight all day that gets gayer from mid-evening on.
For midweek dancing there's Tunnel (84 Mitchell Street) with Allure on Wednesday nights, billed as "Scotland's biggest gay night out."
Other queer Glaygow nights include Utter Gutter, a alternative event at the Art School Renfrew Street on second Saturdays; and Violate, an area fetish club with dates, venues, and dress codes at Violate.co.uk.
Previously a bank, Schwartz (1 Bridge Street) features intriguingly large rooms that allow for continuous exploration over a number of levels. There is a grand communal space with large sofas and internet access. Downstairs you'll find a sauna, steam, jacuzzi, plus private rooms. Take the lift upstairs to find a small gym with exercise equipment. There's a fully-licensed bar here selling beers and spirits, and for everyone, there's water and biscuits. Schwartz is centrally located, directly on the corner as you go over Glasgow Bridge away form the city.
Pipeworks (5-10 Metropole Lane; Thepipeworks.com) is modern and clean, and open daily till 3 a.m. There's a 35-man spa pool, a 20-man sauna, a sling room, and lounges for TV and internet. Pipeworks is just off Howard Street down a small mews; look carefully as the sign is small -- a Glasgow city ordinance demands it!
Relax Central (27 Union Street, 3rd floor) is another local gay sauna.
MED Cafe (84 Bell Street) stands for Meet, Eat, and Drink. This is connected to the GLBT center and has an extensive menu of snacks and main courses, plus a great bar. Steaks, chicken, scampi, salmon, or sandwiches and jacket potatoes -- it's all here. As well as cakes, sweets, gourmet biscuits, coffee, and tea.
Tron Theatre Cafe Bar (Chisholm Street) is a busy mixed establishment in a classic Victorian setting with tasty fare. They're open daily from 10 a.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Shopping and services
Clone Zone - Glasgow (45 Virginia Street) is jam-packed with clothes, videos, magazines, books, and toys. They have a good book selection, too. Loads of free magazines and flyers for local events are on-hand.
ACDC (59 Virginia Street) is an innovative clothing and designer shop. Andy personally designs custom-made clothes, including, jeans, kilts, and accessories.
Touch of Class Travel (111 Union Street; Touchofclasstravel.co.uk) can arrange low-cost weekend and city breaks, theater tickets, and corporate travel, too. Ken Clifford, who runs the show here, has over 25 years' experience.
Q! Gallery (87-91 Saltmarket) is a studio and gallery showcase for queer artists.
Upcoming events and more info
Pride Glasgow happens this year Saturday, August 30. A huge stage is planned in George Square, which sits aptly right next to Queen Street train station. Acts are being lined up for all-day, all-night entertainment.
Glasgay is a yearly arts festival that runs this year October 1 to November 9. Glasgay has venues throughout the city hosting shows, films, and exhibitions. This year, Glasgay becomes simply "The Tennessee Williams Festival," in honor of the famous Scottish -- er, make that Southern -- writer.
Scotsgay Magazine and Gay Scotland are helpful websites for more info.