When I arrived in Glasgow for my first year, I knew I wanted to drink and I wanted to drink a lot. What I didn’t know, though, was where. But rest assured Freshers – I’m now a very, very seasoned drinker here in Glasgow. Whether you like indie club nights, cheesy pop singalongs, classy cocktails or dive bars, I’ve got suggestions for you that I’m happy to swear by.
Vodka Wodka, Ashton Lane. This is, without a doubt, my favourite cocktail spot in the whole city. It’s a cliche declaration but a justifiable one – for just over £3 between Sunday to Thursday, you can get cocktails ranging from cosmopolitans to French martinis to their customer-favourite Jolly Ranchers. The cocktails are genuinely delicious, its Ashton Lane and fairy light-clad setting is both convenient and atmospheric, and their cosmos are the best in town.
Hillhead Bookclub, Vinicombe Street. With £3 strawberry mojitos, an abundance of tasty veggie food and a very quirky West End decor, Hillhead Bookclub is a staple Glasgow Uni eating and drinking spot. If you’re quick enough you can also have a go at their ping pong table – it’s a bit wanky, but still a laugh.
Driftwood, Sauchiehall Street. Harry Potter, Star Wars and Disney themed fishbowls with £3.50 cocktails – that’s all. They aren’t quite as well-crafted as ones you’ll find at Vodka Wodka or Hillhead Bookclub, but they’re cheap and the music is great. Their weekly quiz (Tuesdays) is a lot of fun too and a great way to bond with your new flatmates.
Beer and wine
Beer Bar, Glasgow University Union. A lot of people start Glasgow Uni with the idealistic notion that they’ll hate the GUU in the name of its dodgy past, but it often doesn’t take long to realise it’s the better and more fun drinking venue on campus. With cheap pints, their legendary pints of fun that’ll get you drunk after only two drinks and an electric atmosphere in the evenings accompanied by an overused jukebox, Beer Bar is, unironically, one of my favourite drinking spots in the West End. From weekly (and Christmas!) quizzes, drinking competitions and its laidback atmosphere on weekdays, Beer Bar is an all-rounder drinking spot.
Dram!, Woodlands Road. Cosy, intimate and relatively reasonable, Dram! is the go-to pub if you want a quieter night with a few pals. They also host a free comedy stand up show in Wee Dram every Monday that’s genuinely a lot of fun and not that secondhand embarrassing. It’s also just up the road from the Old Schoolhouse, where you can pop to if you want a Spoons-style pitcher.
Nice N Sleazys, Sauchiehall Street. This iconic Sauchiehall Street indie dive-bar and music venue is perfect for a multi-purpose night out. Whether you want to soak up the fact that you’re sat in a Glasgow-classic bar with a beer in the upstairs area or dance to more obscure indie music downstairs, Sleazys is a great choice for either. It’s also normally free entry, too.
Firewater, Sauchiehall Street. Sauchiehall Street in general is the place to be for any night out, but Firewater is the place to end it. Open until 3 am, this bar/club boasts a main bar and dance area that plays indie classics old and new (from The Cure to Catfish and the Bottlemen) with cheap mixers, as well as another room, “The Casbah”, that hosts a weekly ABBA night. If you don’t want to dance, there’s also a huge seating area where you can sit, drink and scream along to the music with your pals. For drunk food when the lights finally come on, head to Bistro just opposite for cheap pizza and garlic bread. Best nights: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Bamboo, West Regent Street. Bamboo is a first and second year student favourite and you’d be a fool to be snobbish enough to give it a total miss. Although by the time most students have reached their third year they’ll roll their eyes at the thought of a night spent in this West Regent Street nightclub, it was once their favourite clubbing spot for a reason: the drinks are cheap (£1.50!), it’s never empty and its three rooms (pop, R&B and indie) caters to the many, many competing tastes of any friend group. Best nights: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Cathouse Rock Club, West George Street. Sneer all you want, but if you went through an emo phase in school that you’d rather forget, Cathouse is the place to go if you want to be doused in cheap drinks and beautiful, embarrassing nostalgia. There’s several floors to choose from, but my personal favourite is the top floor – from All Time Low hits to miserable Taking Back Sunday belters, Cathouse understands its clientele and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s also conveniently right next to a McDonald’s. Best nights: Fridays and Saturdays.
Polo, Wilson Street. If you want to sing and dance to Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Lady GaGa and Tina Turner until the sun rises, Polo is the place to be on a Wednesday. It’s the perfect crowd-pleasing venue for an LGBTQ+ club night (my “dump him” t-shirt has spent many a night here). Best nights: Wednesdays.
The Buff Club, Bath Lane. Cheap shots, a calm-ish bar area downstairs and a club area upstairs with an abundance of 70s, 80s and disco music – Buff Club is a great night out if you’re sick of Freshers’ favourite locations like Bamboo.