Glasgow – it was awarded the UK’s first ever UNESCO City of Music and it’s the home to some of the best-known musicians in the world – Primal Scream, Deacon Blue, CHVRCHES & Travis to name but a few.
Music is the beating heart of the city and Glasgow offers one of the most vibrant and exciting music scenes in the UK. With so many incredible music venues in Glasgow it can be difficult deciding where to go, so we asked Glaswegian music journalist Chris McCall to talk us through six of the best music venues that the city has to offer.
The best-known venue in Glasgow is much loved by music fans, and for good reason. The Barras, despite a modest 1900 capacity, has hosted many of the biggest names in music – from David Bowie to Daft Punk. Much of its faded 1950s decor remains intact and its famous sprung dancefloor is ideal for boisterous crowds. Taking its name from a long-running market in the city’s east end, it was originally built as somewhere for traders and their families to socialize. By the 1960s beat explosion it was hosting gigs by the likes of the Rolling Stones and the Who, only to later drop off the live music map. An appearance in a 1983 Simple Minds video brought the old place back to prominence and it’s been welcoming stars ever since.
244 Gallowgate, Glasgow G4 0TT
A smart cafe/bar in the heart of the city’s late night quarter, Broadcast is a relatively new kid on the block but has quickly built a reputation for great shows and clubs. With a capacity of just 150, the downstairs basement venue has hosted memorable gigs by rising stars like Sleaford Mods, who now sell-out venues 10 times the size, as well as cult Canadian punks METZ.
427 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3LG
There are some music fans who swear this singular city centre exhibition space is the best small venue in Scotland. Downstairs, there’s a spacious bar that offers a laid back vibe during the day but becomes increasingly lively as the night marches on. Upstairs, there’s a tiny live room – there’s no stage, you just gather round the band and their PA system. Expect to see shows by the likes of Glasgow art-rock luminaries The Yummy Fur or the clued-up promoters behind the acclaimed Freakender music festival.
27 Renfield Lane, Glasgow G2
Mono is far removed from your typical subterranean bar venue. A bright and airy ground floor vegan cafe by day, it hosts a variety of performers and clubs by night. If that’s not good enough, it’s also home to Monorail – perhaps the city’s best record store, where well-known musicians and vinyl obsessives can be spotted spending hours carefully looking through the racks. Local heroes Franz Ferdinand are among the big names who have graced Mono’s stage over the years.
12 King Street, Glasgow Metropolitan Area G1 5RB
The Hug and Pint
A welcome addition to Great Western Road in the west end of the city after the demise of the much-loved music pub Captain’s Rest, which stood just a few doors along. The Hug and Pint takes its name from Arab Strap’s seminal 2003 album, Monday at the Hug and Pint. While the alt-folk duo have never played the tiny basement venue, fans of the band can live in hope it happens someday. The venue’s bold mission is to “serve the musicians and music fans who make Glasgow what it is today”.
171 Great Western Road, Glasgow G4 9AW
The demise of The Arches, an internationally famous venue that hosted everything from superstar DJs to experimental theatre, was a closure that Glasgow music fans keenly felt. Thankfully, the SWG3 has stepped in to offer an almost ready-made alternative. A sprawling former factory complex, it’s a short walk from both the trendy districts of Partick and Finnieston and the plethora of bars they offer. The 1,000 capacity warehouse venue has hosted sets by big names such as 2manydjs and Patrick Topping. Downstairs, the tiny Poetry Club venue has witnessed already-legendary sets from rising local bands such as Catholic Action and Bossy Love. From beer festivals to outdoor shows from the likes of the xx, there is seemingly nothing the SWG3 can’t offer its army of dedicated fans.
100 Eastvale Place, Glasgow G3 8QG