Bar Crawls: Glasgow - The Subcrawl

  • The List
  • 18 November 2011
Bar Crawls: The Subcrawl, Glasgow

A truncated version of Glasgow’s infamous subway circuit

The Subcrawl – a circular navigation of pubs nearest the 15 stops of Glasgow’s underground – is an institution not strictly for all. Many stations on the route of the city’s beloved Clockwork Orange, particularly south of the Clyde, emerge in locations heavy on less-than-desirable boozers (read: Rangers pubs). But done in an eight-stop shrunk-down format, it’s a good excuse to get out of your drinking comfort zone and visit a few famous old hostelries by day, before a tour of some of the west end’s best bars after dark.

A Discovery Ticket purchased, Buchanan Street is the logical first stop, and The Horse Shoe (17-19 Drury Street). A lot of this historic, Grade A-listed 19th century establishment’s charm has been worn away under the heavy-handed ownership of Mitchells & Butlers – think plasma screen and live sports overload – but many original fittings remain, including ornate stained glass windows and the horseshoe-shaped bar. At £3 a pint max, the prices – which you’ll find get less the further south you travel – can’t be argued with.

Next up St Enoch’s and The Scotia Bar (112 Stockwell Street), Glasgow’s oldest pub (est. 1792) and one of the saltier taverns on the crawl – the kind of hard-drinking den where you’ll find Tennents Super on tap. A low-ceilinged, care-worn haven for folk musicians and literary types, it’s a place to be experienced even if just the once. Across the Clyde at Bridge Street, another bar not actually as scary as it looks is The Laurieston (58 Bridge Street) a family-run place notable as the setting for scenes in David Mackenzie’s film Young Adam and a cameo in the video for The Fratellis’ ‘Whistle For The Choir’. Popular with gig-goers pre and post show at the nearby Academy, it’s cosmopolitan enough to sell Dutch premium lager in tall frosted glasses from the freezer.

Bomb on a few stops next to Shields Road and The Old Toll (1-3 Paisley Road West. Aim to do this one before nightfall – the walk to and from the station is pretty dodgy). Another throwback to Glasgow long-past (1874), the interior has a striking faded grandeur about it – all original hand-carved elaborate dark wood fittings and huge mirrors – albeit diminished somewhat by gaudy posters advertising a fearsome array of dirt cheap shots (a hint at the kind of carnage you can expect here late on). Skip to Kelvinhall next, and The Lismore (206 Dumbarton Road) for a whisky (they stock over 160 variants, many of them specialities) or a ‘hauf and hauf’ if you dare, an old boy classic of a dram with a half-pint of heavy chaser, on promo for £2.25.

The slightly wilder side of Glasgow walked, get straight to the bourgeois heart of the west end at Hillhead and The Ubiquitous Chip (12 Ashton Lane) an upscale institution that requires no introduction. A stone’s throw from Kelvinbridge you’ll find perhaps Glasgow’s finest pub: The Doublet (74 Park Road) specifically its snug lounge bar upstairs – a living-room sized space with a tiny but excellently-stocked bar, a great jukebox and an always convivial atmosphere.

Finish up at St George’s Cross and The Captain’s Rest (185 Great Western Road) home to the Glasgow music scene hipster set, with a great pre-club feel to it at weekends when DJs spin anything from indie to funk and northern soul until midnight. By which point the Subway will be shut but the city centre is within staggering distance if you’ve got stamina for more.

See detailed maps for all the bars mentioned at

A Ubiquitous Chip
12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow, G12 8SJ
One of Glasgow’s dining institutions – a trailblazer in sourcing and creativity back in the day, and still one of the best venues for a special eating out experience.
B The Old Toll Bar
1–3 Paisley Road West, Glasgow, G51 1LF
C The Doublet
74 Park Road, Glasgow, G4 9JF
New owners have maintained the friendly, warm vibe that has kept West Enders popping in this pub for over half a century of great ale and malts.
D The Laurieston
58 Bridge Street, Glasgow, G5 9HU
E The Horse Shoe Bar
17 Drury Street, Glasgow, G2 5AE
Pubs come and go, but the Horse Shoe endures - the literally horseshoe-shaped, longest continuous bar in Britain ensuring its fame, regardless of the gold and platinum discs donated by Travis, drummer Neil having once worked here. Halfway down a cobbled…
F The Scotia
112 Stockwell Street, Glasgow, G1 4LW


1. Merk21 Nov 2011, 11:07am Report

"Aim to do this one before nightfall – the walk to and from the station is pretty dodgy"

Jesus, get a grip. This poor timid flower should never have been sent on such a dangerous assignment as leaving the West End!

2. Wee Kai's Da9 Dec 2011, 12:40pm Report

Ha ha, well said, I stayed in Tradeston for years and never tired of seeing west end trumpets like this choking down pints in their haste to get away from what are primarily very sound boozers full of character and characters. More elbow room for people who can appreciate that they'll no end up in a scene from pulp fiction if they happen to ask for anything othe than a pint of heavy!
I dont think they mentioned in this article but for those who are not fitba followers, the one thing i would suggest is dont do it if rangers are at home so check that in advance otherwise expect long delays and trains of japanese packed in proportions after 2pm headin toward ibrox.
Also, dont be silly and run up "down" escalators in the station- you ll get chucked out and rightly so- a few beers should not make you a total herbert
Finaly, have fun doin it- the barstaff are used to subway surfers and I ve always had good banterwith them whilst doing the crawl and otherwise as are the vast, vast majority of regulars in these pubs who see people who do the subcrawl as an interesting, passing and partialy engaging curiosity but dont be condescending or cheeky or your walk to the next subway station MAY test your 400 meter sprinting skills!!

3. charlotte corbett14 Feb 2015, 6:19pm Report

Was wondering if there are any self help accomadations in Govan we are coming to Renfrew for wedding but would like to be in Govan if you could point me in the right direction would appreciate it.Thank You

Post a comment

RSS feed of these comments