I've always said you can tell a lot about a pub if you take a look at its toilets.
Now, don't get the wrong idea about me here. I don't spend long periods of time in pub loos when I'm out and about. But I've always believed that if a pub toilet is clean and well kept, the chances are the hostelry will be similarly well-maintained. However, if the toilets are a bit minging, well…you should probably put down your pint and find somewhere else to drink.
A little bit of loo-nacy can't be bad
The men's toilets in Lauder's in Sauchiehall Street are clean enough but what makes them memorable is that a lot of women almost end up nearly going into them by mistake. It's quite a spectacle and it works like this. Lady needs the toilet. Lady looks for toilet. Sees door with LADDIES on it and thinks it's the ladies loo. Only it's not. Lady starts to open door. Cry goes up along the lines of 'HAUD ON A MINUTE HEN, THAT'S THE GENTS TOILETS YIR GOIN INTAE!'
Yes it's only thanks to a hardy band of regulars who save dozens of red-faced ladies every day from descending on the men's cludgie. It's very funny … at least the first few times you see it happen.
It's a quirky touch in a pub that has plenty of character and an abundance of characters. It's also a very busy place with a wide variety of punters swarming in and out all day. Students, workies, families, tourists, pensioners in for a wee fish tea, they're all here and they seem to be enjoying themselves.
It gets very busy at the weekends and with the Pavilion Theatre next door, it's often packed early evening during the week. The jukebox is more likely to be playing the likes of Bobby Vee or Roy Orbison than Black Sabbath or Rage Against the Machine so the pub is a haven for fans of easy listening like myself.
They don't show much Scottish football so you can enjoy your pint or meal with your family without that particular interruption either.
Cheap and chips
Times are hard. Especially just after Christmas and I'm an old fashioned fella who really doesn't like paying £3 for a pint of lager. But sometimes you've got to pay that little bit extra and in Lauder's case that little bit extra is four pence. A pint of Tennent's Lager will set you back £3.04 and you'll get a nice, cold, tasty pint for your dosh. If you want a packet of crisps, they stock various flavours of McCoys and their bar meals are popular with a separate dining area at the back.
If it's cheap food you're after, you can get two meals for £7 which might be the answer if you fancy a night out before that oh-so so distant first payday of the year at the end of January.
It's maybe not a pub you'd take a lady on a first date if you're courting. Maybe take her for a couple of expensive meals in the Merchant City or Byres Road before you suggest the £7 double dinner date downgrade. No-one likes a cheapskate, lads. Or so I've been told, anyway.
A waft of nostalgia
The Lauder's bar staff work hard for the money. You won't wait more than a couple of minutes to be served here no matter how busy it is - unlike some other more 'stylish' bars I could mention. And they're a pretty friendly bunch. But the one member of staff you might miss works in the men's loos on a Friday and Saturday night. He's there to sell a skoosh of deodorant or aftershave if you want to freshen up before the dancing. And for me, every time I see him, the memories come flooding back.
There used to be a wee man who did the same thing when Clatty Pats ruled the nightclub roost in the West End. Back in the day in the late 90s when rents were lower, employment prospects brighter and my waist line four inches smaller. Happy days indeed.
So I'd recommend you give Lauder's a try. It's not particularly trendy so leave your designer clobber at home but it's a good bet for a cheap evening out … and there's a taxi rank right next door so it's perfect for getting home too.
Scores out of 5
Bar snacks/meals 3
Quality of lager 4
Total 19 out of 25