10 things to do in Glasgow [off-the-beaten-path]
10 things to do in Glasgow [off-the-beaten-path]
The dark ages are long gone, and we can finally celebrate life again. If you’re planning a visit to Glasgow and are looking forward to enjoying a drink or two – sipping on a Prosecco under the sun or an Old Fashioned under the rain – then you should check out this blog. It offers some great ideas for visiting places where you’ll feel right at home. Let’s explore some hidden gems in this beautiful city that often go unnoticed.
The following blog highlights 10 things to do in Glasgow beyond the usual whisky spots. It is important to note that this article will not discuss the popular whisky spots on Hope Street or George Square. Instead, we offer alternative ideas for off-the-beaten-path venues.
1) Lebowskis West
This place brings the Big Lebowski to life with a quirky selection of over 30 White Russians. Before discovering this spot, I thought a White Russian was a simple mix of three ingredients: Vodka, Kahlua liquor, and cream. I was mistaken. Lebowskis offers a vast range of elements and variations of the famous cocktail.
Lebowskis has two locations in Glasgow – one in the Finnieston area in Glasgow’s West End and the other in the Southside of Glasgow. The bar offers a wide selection of creative white Russians inspired by the famous film. One of their most fantastic cocktails is “The Smokey,” a well-balanced combination of Islay single malt whisky, coffee liqueur, cinnamon, and cream. This drink is a great starting point for adventurous whisky drinkers looking for something entirely different.
2) The Bon Accord
An extraordinary whisky spot right in between the city centre and the west end of Glasgow. It is one of the most impressive whisky pubs in the city. It is a place where you can try truly outstanding single malt whiskies. The world-famous bar has more than 500 bottles, primarily single malts. However, you can also find other international whiskies from the USA, Japan, Ireland and a few other quirky whiskies you probably didn’t know existed.
Some honorific whiskies I would like to mention are:
- A 72-year-old Macallan
- A 70-year-old Glenlivet
- A wonderful collection of Springbank and Glen Scotia
- Any smoky whisky you can think of
- A 5-star selection of independent bottlers
- And even a whisky shop inside the bar where you will be able to purchase full 70cl bottles
Inspired by the life and work of the infamous German-American writer Charles Bukowski, this place is one of the very best cocktail bars in the city. Being a whisky lover, Old Fashioned is, of course, my go-to cocktail. Chinaskis has a great atmosphere inside and a fantastic beer garden outside. The music is delightful, and their summer parties are among the best things to do in Glasgow off-the-beatten-path. Last but not least, their whiskey selection is as fantastic as unusual.
Chinaskis displays a fancy collection of American whiskies on their shelves, but their selection suits any budget and taste. Visiting Chinaskis will give you a unique perspective on the world of whisky. While they focus primarily on bourbon, they also offer a decent selection of single malts from the most prestigious distilleries in Scotland and a wide variety of other drinks such as beer, wine, and gin. I highly recommend visiting this place to taste some good American whiskies.
It is just a few steps from the beautiful Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow’s west end. Dram is a fun bar perfect for sports watching, attending comedy clubs and, of course, my friends, tasting some of the best Scotch whiskies in town.
If you are a fan of single malt whisky, you should visit this place, even though their selection is smaller than at the Bon Accord. Their prices are unbeatable, making it an affordable option for whisky research. I highly encourage you to drop by if you visit Glasgow or live in the neighbourhood.
Interestingly, a shot of whisky is called a “Dram” in Scotland. You can ask for either a shot or a dram of whisky here. The name of this place couldn’t be more appropriate.
5) Òran Mór
Òran Mór is a legendary restaurant/bar/arts and entertainment venue in Glasgow’s West End (inside a stunning church). While Òran Mór is well-known for its cultural events, live music, theatre, and dining experiences, it also boasts a notable whisky focus with an impressive selection.
The venue features an exceptional whisky bar with an extensive selection of whiskies, including local Scottish whiskies and a wide range of international offerings. Òran Mór occasionally hosts whisky-related events, such as tasting sessions, masterclasses, and whisky-themed evenings.
Moreover, they have also incorporated whisky into their dining experiences, offering food pairings that complement and enhance the flavours of specific whiskies.
If you want to enjoy the fusion of fine cuisine with excellent Scotch whiskies, this place is not to be missed!
Speaking of memorable dining experiences, let’s look at Stravaigin, a restaurant just across the street from Kelvin Groove Park that offers an inventive and eclectic menu of Scottish and globally inspired dishes.
Stravaigin’s menu is designed to encourage exploration and adventure in dining, from traditional Scottish cuisine to innovative creations. Their commitment to quality and sustainability is reflected in their use of locally sourced ingredients and global culinary techniques. In addition to the remarkable food offerings, Stravaigin also offers a good selection of whiskies, cocktails, wines and beers that complement the diversity of flavours of the cuisine.
Stravaigin is a standout choice for those looking for a genuinely Glaswegian dining experience. If you fancy some excellent Haggies, this is the place for it! Order it with an addition of whisky sauce. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
7) The Ben Nevis Bar
The Ben Nevis is one of my favourite whisky venues on this list. It takes its name from the tallest mountain in the UK and a Highland whisky distillery by the same name. The Ben Nevis accurately represents Scottish culture.
It is located in the Finnieston area in Glasgow. A neighbourhood that is famous for its great offering of Scottish cuisine and drinks. The Ben Nevis possesses a selection of (roughly) 250 single malt whiskies from all over Scotland.
It is also one of the friendliest venues in town. Whether you’re chatting with the owner, one of the bartenders, or even strangers sitting at the bar while enjoying a “hauf & hauf” (a half-pint of beer and a dram of whisky), you can be sure that you’ll end up making a friend or two at this place. For the whole experience, visit on Thursdays and Sundays after 8 pm to enjoy an excellent performance of Scottish folk music.
8) The Clydeside Distillery
The Clydeside is one of the newest distilleries in Glasgow. It was founded in 2017 and is situated in the Finnieston area. It’s a perfect blend of history, architecture and storytelling, making it a must-visit destination if you want to learn about whisky straight from the source.
Unlike many other distilleries in Scotland, their whisky experience includes a self-guided tour that takes you through Glasgow’s whisky culture and its historical connection with the Queen’s Dock, from its beginnings in the 1400s to the modern days of whisky-making. One of the tour highlights is the distillery’s location next to the River Clyde. It is the exact spot where the whisky barons of Glasgow transformed the Scotch whisky industry into the global phenomenon we all know today.
Learn more about the Clydeside Distillery, the Queen’s Dock and Finnieston at their website.
Other honorific mentions regarding distilleries in Glasgow are:
- Auchentoshan Distillery is open for tours and visitors, but it’s not within walking distance from the city centre, so taking a taxi might be necessary.
- The Glasgow Distillery Company does not offer tours, but their 1770 single malts are exceptional especially the small batch releases. You should definitely try a dram or two.
9) The Wee Pub
A tiny little bar right in the heart of Ashton Lane is famous for serving more whiskies per square foot than any other bar in Scotland. It is an excellent place for food and drink lovers alike. Although The Wee Pub is for sure one of the smallest bars in Scotland, their whisky selection will make you feel small. From peaty monsters from Islay to very delicate and easy-drinking single grains, The Wee Pub’s got you covered.
We recommend visiting this place after a nice dinner at Ubiquitous Chip, a five-star restaurant next to The Wee Pub. Both venues are located in the same building and connected through a hallway in between. There’s no way to get lost.
So, in short, this is the plan: have an early dinner (and dessert) at the Chip on Ashton Lane, then go straight to the Wee Pub and enjoy a whisky or two; we recommend Auchentoshan Three Wood and Port Charlotte Heavily-Peated—two very different whiskies but both with great personality. After the whisky, you are ready to party at Jinty McGuinty’s, an Irish Bar across the street with live music every night!
10) The Gate
I want to end this list by mentioning a fabulous bar in the city’s east end, across the street from the iconic Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow. The Gate is a neighbourhood bar showcasing everything about Scotland, from incredible produce to famous hospitality.
Their drinks menu focuses on Scottish brands, with over 160 whiskies hand-selected to showcase the diverse flavour profiles of Scotland’s national drink. Additionally, they offer an expanding selection of gins and a range of craft beers and wines. With regards to food, they also serve tasty toasties and host several kitchen food takeovers featuring some of Scotland’s best chefs.
What other Glasgow off-the-beaten-path venue must be included on this list?
Is there any other whisky bar/attraction that should be listed here?
Either way, if you want to learn more about whisky, distilleries, independent bottlers and other ways to enjoy whisky. Join us on one of our whisky tours in Glasgow.
We promise an exciting blend of education, fascinating facts, and magnificent whisky you’ll never forget.