Where to Drink WHISKY in Glasgow?
Glasgow, a fantastic place for whisky appreciation and enjoyment.
You might have heard about the industrial history of the city, a famous place for shipbuilding and the hub for merchants and entrepreneurs of all kinds. Back in the 19th century, Glasgow was well known as the second most important city of the British empire and its geographical position contributed to developing the flourishing whisky industry.
Believe it or not, Blended Scotch Whisky was leading the industry back then, famous brands like Johnnie Walker, White Horse and Dewar’s were being sold in more than 200 countries worldwide thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of the whisky barons. Well-known personalities such as Alexander Walker, James Buchanan, Peter Mackie and John Dewar were leading the whisky industry in a way that seemed to be unstoppable. Their business model was quite simple:
- Source the best whiskies in Scotland
- Blend them to obtain a smoother and lighter flavour than the traditional single malt
- Bottle them and ship them worldwide from the Glasgow docks in the Clyde River.
The whisky distillery
Speaking of docks and whisky, let’s take a look at the newest Glasgow distillery. The Clydeside Distillery, built in the same point where the whisky barons used to ship their cherished labels overseas. Located on the north bank of the Clyde where the Glasgow’s magnificent Queens Dock used to operate. The distillery is a combination of history and modern distillation. If you are curious enough to visit this beautiful place right on the west end of Glasgow, I guarantee you it won’t disappoint. The tour will explain everything related to the production process while discovering amazing historical whisky facts. The tour is also an exploration through Glasgow’s rich history from different perspectives.
The whisky bars
After finalizing the tour at the distillery, probably the best place to go is The Ben Nevis whisky bar in Finnieston. Located in Argyle Street just a few minutes away from the distillery. This cosy and very welcoming whisky bar has been named after the Ben Nevis mountain, the tallest in the UK. The bar itself is a representation of the Scottish Highlands where you will be able to find a collection of more than 250 single malt whiskies from all over Scotland.
This number might sound overwhelming but the friendly staff will be more than willing to recommend the right whisky for you. The Ben Nevis is by far, one of the best venues for whisky enjoyment in Glasgow and if you are lucky enough to be there on a Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday night they have a magnificent display of Scottish Folk music to pair with your favourite whisky. This is something not to be missed.
Continuing the route to the city centre, and right next to the very beautiful Mitchell Library on North Street will find The Bon Accord whisky bar. And well… what to say about this place, they have been awarded on several occasions for being the best whisky bar in the whole UK! Yes, the very best of the best. Bon Accord is a fantastic place for whisky appreciation. In their shelves, you will be able to find around 450 bottles of Scotch whisky.
This collection might sound impressive but it is not about quantity, it’s all about quality. They have some of the best whiskies you can find in Glasgow and some of the most expensive too. For example, a very fancy and rare Macallan 72 years old. However, be prepared to empty your bank account since only one dram (shot) of this legendary whisky is no more and no less than £5.000.
Anyway, don’t get the wrong idea, in this place they have a wide variety of single malts suitable for all budgets and tastes. Looking for that tiny distillery in Campbeltown you heard from a whisky expert the other day? They’ve got you covered. Looking for that famous whisky you saw on television? They’ve got you covered. You have no idea what are you looking for, they’ve got you covered too. Seriously, if you like whisky (or maybe not so much) and want to have a very Scottish experience surrounded by the best whisky in town you must visit The Bon Accord.
Fancy a whisky cocktail?
Next stop, The Spiritualist because you know what they say. Drinking too much alcohol doesn’t make you an alcoholic but a spiritualist. This is one of the best cocktail bars in Glasgow. Apart from having one of the most beautiful bottles display this place hosts a collection of around 200 bottles of different spirits, not only whisky but gin, tequila, mezcal, rum, among others. The bar itself is stunning, the bar staff is super friendly and of course, cocktails are pretty much the best of the best.
Not only do they have all the classic ones such as Manhattans or Old-Fashioneds but also signature cocktails, and very creative mixology able to surprise all your senses. If you ask me, my favourite drink is “In the Rocks”. A cocktail that they have managed to serve inside a frozen ice-ball. Not only looks beautiful and very impressive but the cocktail is pretty much delicious too. They offer quite a few options to be served “In the rocks”.
However, if you prefer to make your cocktails and stay home sharing with friends and family. Here is a useful link from our friends of Kitchenistic where you will be able to find fantastic and beautiful cocktail shakers and tons of valuable information in the art of cocktail making.
Looking for super-premium whisky?
Just a couple of blocks away from The Spiritualist you can find Hutchesons on Hutcheson Street. It is almost impossible to miss it because is one of the most beautiful buildings in Glasgow. From the outside it looks like a white church with a blue clock on the top. The building was built in the 1600s and it operated as a hospital for several years. Today is one of the fanciest bars and restaurants and the only one in the city that hosts the entire collection of the Glenfarclas Family Cask Reserve Single Malt whisky.
Glenfarclas is a Speyside distillery located in the northeast of Scotland, is one of the very few distilleries that still are family-owned and every year they release a very special edition that comes from only one cask and it is supposed to be an outstanding whisky.
The price range of this luxurious selection goes from £30 to £450 per dram.
Where to buy Single Malt Whisky in Glasgow?
While in town, why not buy a fantastic souvenir from your trip to this beautiful city? My suggestion is to visit The Good Spirits Co. on Bath Street. This shop is very convenient for many reasons.
- First of all, their shelves are divided into whisky regions so you can go directly to the region you are after.
- Secondly, their variety is more than amazing and they have bottles that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
- Third, their prices are very fair and it’s also very unlikely that you will find better prices in the area.
- Finally, the staff is super friendly and incredibly knowledgeable about whisky.
- There’s a whisky for everybody and these guys will help you find the one for you.
Whisky festivals in Glasgow
Finally, if you come to Glasgow in early November there is great news for you. Glasgow Whisky Festival takes place every year in November. If you love whisky, this is an event that should not be missed. One of the best scenarios to try the very best whisky in the world directly from the producers.
In this fantastic event, you will not only find your favourite brands but also hidden gems and independent bottlers that I’m sure will be able to surprise all your senses. If you are lucky enough to read this before your trip in early November (each year) here you can find all the info about it.
Not sure where to start? Book a whisky tour!
If you want to discover all this and more about the whisky culture in Glasgow, please give us a shout. Our mission is to connect people, cultures and whiskies from a different perspective and our main objective is to pass on the passion of whisky through a storytelling experience.
As always, thanks for reading us and please, let us know if there’s anything we can help you with.
Slàinte mhath (Gaelic)