It’s calling. You should answer. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s dark, wet and sometimes feels like the weekend is never coming… so I introduce emergency cocktail Thursdays to beat the almost-weekend doldrums.
Our inaugural outing leads us to Hillhead Bookclub just off Byres Road. A perfect choice.
Room to breathe and explore
It’s a wonderful vast place with high ceilings and refreshing room to breathe. Even with its different levels, booths facing every which way and old fashioned chairs – it feels reassuringly warm and welcoming.
But we’re here with one objective – to explore the impressive cocktail menu.
Delightful drinks galore
We resist the tempting Book Club Punch served in an old fashioned gramophone and head straight for The Pomeranian. Delicious but over far too quickly. The Red Headed Stepchild is my favourite followed by the Colin’s strawberry Collins. A Vanilla Coke Float tops off our night as a shared delightful dessert. Mission accomplished – not a bit of melancholy remains.
Soul-restoring cocktails aside, Hillhead Bookclub is a comforting combination of conundrums. Ping Pong tables, dentist chairs, cocktails in tea cups combine for the perfect offering of ease and relaxation.
So shake off those winter blues, face the cold to take comfort in the warmth and wonder of the Hillhead Bookclub.
With massive pizzas taking over most of our table and cocktails in a row, we’re set to thoroughly enjoy Vespbar.
We had originally come for the rumoured ping pong but got distracted by the cocktail list.
Tucked away on Drury Street in the city centre, Vespbar is a kitsch cool hang out.
It’s a mix of everything good – a jukebox, delish homemade pizzas and Prosecco on tap. What’s not to love?
The staff are friendly and the prices are just as likable.
The mezzanine level is perfect for taking in the surroundings, people watching and chowing down on scrumptious mushroom pizza.
The variety of choice is both extensive and impressive. We’re blissfully overwhelmed.
The classic cosmopolitan and oh so sweet tutti frutti go down nicely. The double-sided list is a hit that has us singing its praises.
Ping Pong dreams
Although it’s too cold for ice-cream, I still can’t help eying up the ice-cream parlour stand in the corner. I will return for frosted delights and that abandoned ping pong match.
So next time you’re in the mood for pizza and possibly ping pong, veer off the beaten track to something a little quirky and a whole lotta fun.
Boudoir wine bar is in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the Merchant City. But the world outside disappears once I slip into the inviting curtained booth – and I’m instantly seduced by the chic but cosy Italian and French-inspired design.
Cocktail choices galore
The 12-page drinks menu is equally captivating, offering up a delicious range of unusual but delightfully named cocktails.
With its intimate setting and soft lighting, Boudoir is perfect place for a saucy rendezvous. Failing that, it’s ideal for shaking off the work day with friends on a Thursday night – and that’s exactly what I do.
After a quick up and down the menu – I begin with the Aivy Vodka and Fentimans Tonic. It can only be described as dangerously delicious and refreshing. A combination I highly recommend for vodka drinkers.
Variety is the spice of life
Among our favourites are the delicate Violet Butterfly – a beautiful concoction of Giffard Violette Liqueur, Finlandia Vodka, fresh lemon juice and prosecco. With just the right hint of cinnamon, the spicy Merchant of Venice is also tasty.
In the background a pianists sets the soundtrack to our perfect night. And when – after a few drinks – hunger calls, we choose from a delightful menu of reasonably priced light bites. The cheese board is an absolute must.
We reluctantly stray from cocktails to a bottle of Petit Bourgeois red. It’s anything but stuffy or predictable – it’s heavenly. Just as refreshing, the staff are equally charming and accommodating.
So if you want round-up the week with friends in an sensational space, a secluded booth at Boudoir awaits you.
Tucked below St Judes on Bath Street is Mama San. If like us you don’t find it the first time, be persistent. When we somehow missed the entrance and ended up in St Judes, we were warmly welcomed and escorted to our table.
The 5pm deal is a great way to sample the wares and includes two courses and a drink for £12.95. Bargain – and particularly brilliant considering your drink can be one of their totally tasty cocktails.
The recently refurbished restaurant is slick and chic, complete with a larger than life naked lady adorning one wall. Mama San perhaps?
Cocoon of calm and soothing cocktails
But the bum-bearing lady is surprisingly fitting, somehow adding to the calm cocoon-like space. It oozes cool, yet has a warm feel – or perhaps that’s the cocktail buzz.
It’s admittedly tough to decide between the Thai Green Curry and Beef Rendang. In the end I go with the luscious chicken satay starter and an equally enjoyable Basil Chilli Chicken. I have slight food envy when I see my friend’s Pad Thai Spring Rolls and Thai Green Curry.
If you want to stray from the 5pm menu, the Chilli and Lime Sea Bass or twice cooked Pork sounds just as enticing.
So if you’ve had a long week and need to unwind, take a wrong turn – relax, enjoy good food and soothing cocktails in welcoming surroundings.
An old friend is in town and persuades me to check out Grand Central Hotel. Why? The apparent must-see magnificent chandelier, of course. So having decided our drinking locale purely based on light fittings, we set off.
Not my usual scene but I’m intrigued. And the promise of champagne is too good to turn down.
From the bowing doorman at the entrance to luxurious decor –even the floor is impressive at the Grand Central Hotel.
And as promised the elegant chandelier in the hall with its long slim prisms of glass – well, it’s pretty spectacular too. Standing directly underneath gives a wonderful view; it stretches on and on past three floors at least.
We head up the stairs to Champagne Central where we’re greeted by another chandelier. More of a round-faced younger sister compared to the previous all-encompassing chandelier, but dazzling nonetheless.
It’s only 6:30 on a Saturday night but the bar is already heaving. We manage to nab two chairs and settle in. And then the fun begins.
We go for a classic glass of champagne, although there’s a myriad of cocktails as long as the chandelier to choose from. And it’s absolutely buzzing inside – perfect for people watching. Set against decadent wooden furnishings and trains puffing away in the background, anything goes – zebra striped heels, fake furs, bouffant hair, jeans and trainers – it’s all sorts and all good.
Here’s to us
Long before its swanky refurbishment, Grand Central hotel attracted a slew of other interesting characters including Laurel and Hardy, Winston Churchill and the Beatles to name just a few. And I can’t think of a better way to join this illustrious group (past and present) than indulging in a glass of champagne and simply enjoying the view.
I’ve heard about Glasgow’s Poetry Club but never been before now. Tucked away in the SWG3, this captivating multifaceted hangout is a bar, art-hub performance space and general place to happen.
Through the small entrance to the bar we’re greeted by billows of smoke and a welcoming drink. An unusual combination but in the Poetry Club smoking (of the train variety) is absolutely allowed – and I’m instantly charmed by the Flying Scotsman.
Behind the curtain is a world of Oz and open space. It has an anything and everything kind of feel. In one area a small stage offset by sofas to sprawl on – or when the mood and music takes me, a dance floor to show off my moves. And when it all gets too much, I climb the iron staircase to the safety of the mezzanine and enjoy the enchanting feel from the safety of the shadows.
Anything could happen
Even though the hint of the arches that once were is still noticeable, the venue feels very solid. Anything could happen here – and does from private parties to performances, to gigs. Its legendary early beginnings were born out of Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie’s need for a venue for his event with writer and punk-pioneer Richard Hell. So he built it. And that DIY determination and fun definitely live on inside these walls.
So if you’re looking for an intriguing venue with the added benefit of a unusual smoke machine – look no further. And although the Poetry Club doesn’t offer food, the fish and chip van outside hits the spot when lounging becomes passé and you tire of dancing.