Getting to know Byres Road

Stretching from the all-human-life-is-here Great Western Road to Dumbarton Road at Partick Cross, Byres Road is Glasgow at its most idiosyncratic, freewheeling and fun. The epicenter of independently-minded enterprise, the street’s handsome sandstone tenements are now home to snug bars, student-friendly charity shops, eclectic boutiques and fine restaurants.

And encouragingly, the chain store-creep has been kept in check.

The street’s proximity to the precincts of the University of Glasgow means that there’s a definite boho tinge to the area, but it’s also true that gentrification is seeing some swanky new apartments, and some of the recent restaurants openings are a world away from the cheap and cheerful favourites of old.

Yet the spirit of the street survives – especially in the Ubiquitous Chip, a pleasingly off-kilter restaurant, that more or less single-handedly, brought gastro fare to the city over 40 years ago (41 Ashton Ln), the menu’s been tweaked a touch, but the thespian-heavy crowd ensures a good time is still had by all.Ubiquitous Chip, Byers Road, Glasgow


Ashton Lane itself is an artistically-inclined little side shoot – a cobbled hinterland of bars and restaurants, and utterly charming. Try the colorful Brel with its hidden garden, and great veggie-friendly food and globe-spanning beers.

Or pop into the vinyl-loving The Grosvenor Bar, complete with its own mini-cinema. The Lane continues to Creswell Lane, where there’s a smattering of specialty shops – try De Courcy’s Arcade (5 Creswell Ln) for jewellery, vintage clothes and made-in-Scotland gifts – it’s like a mini Covent Garden, but much more affordable, and without the pesky jugglers and blokes spray-painted as statues.

Ashton Lane, Glasgow


On the opposite side of Byres Road you’ll find Ruthven Lane (just next to the Hillhead subway station) – and here, the kookiness factor gets ratcheted up further.

Look for the green shack of Starry Starry Night (19 Downside Ln), chock full of vintage clothes and accessories, the Scotland-on-steroids restaurant, The Bothy (1 Ruthven Ln) and the enjoyably easy-going Italian, Di Maggio’s (61 Ruthven Ln).  Great cocktails and soulful tunes aplenty at Hillhead Bookclub (17 Vinicombe St).

Hillhead Bookclub, Glasgow Inside image of the Hillhead Bookclub, Glasgow Inside Image of the Hillhead Bookclub, Glasgow


Back on Byres Road the real fun here is just taking a stroll, stopping for coffee (maybe at Avenue G, 291 Byres Rd, or Tinderbox 189 Byres Rd) and deciding where to eat: if it’s modern Scottish bistro food, head to Number 16 (16 Byres Rd), if you’re after a pie, a pint and a play Oran Mor’s lunchtime theatre’s for you (top of Byres Road – Botanic Garden end).

The Alpine French cooking at recently opened Casa Russo is proving to be a hit (360 Byres Road), while the steaks at Bo’Vine are sensational (385 Byres Road).  By night, the street (and its tributaries) really come alive.

The choice is phenomenal – you can sit and sip fine single malts at Curler’s Rest (256 Byres Rd), Asian-inspired cocktails at Bar Soba (116 Byres Rd), or Vodka shots at Vodka Wodka (31 Ahston Ln), or for that matter, a hundred other places. Be careful out there…


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