One of the many great things about going out in Glasgow is that when it comes to good pubs, you really are spoilt for choice.
Now, I love trying new watering holes but shamefully my knowledge of boozers in the East End of the city is sadly lacking. I just love going on and on about pubs I know in the City Centre, South Side, Merchant City and West End … but the East End was still a bit of a mystery when it came to tasty lager-related adventures.
Things had to change. It had been a few weeks since my last review and by now I was completely CHOKING for a couple of pints in an area of Glasgow I didn't l know so well.
So on a sunny April evening after work, I withdrew twenty quid from the cash machine and decided The Only Way Is Shettleston. I hopped on the bus and headed to the Kirkhouse.
It's a pub that's been around for years. It opened as a bar back in the 18th Century but as I set foot through the door, I could see it was an interesting mixture of the traditional and modern.
The old style bar in the middle of the pub acts as a neat division between the bar and eating area and I had heard from people that I work with that the food's really good. They'd stopped serving meals by the time I arrived (7.15pm) but I wasn't bothered in the slightest as I was only in for lager and crisps. Eating's cheating, so they say!
The friendly wee woman behind the bar served me a cold pint of Fosters which was a very reasonable £3. And then … she apologised for the price of a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.
"They're a pound son," she told me. "I know it's a lot. I always feel bad when people ask for crisps!"
I was genuinely touched by her apology but I assured her the price of the crisps wasn't a deal breaker as I headed for a table in the bar area.
I soon took to my surrounding like a fish to water and enjoyed my pint. It's a nice-looking, comfy boozer. There are screens on the wall for the football and old pictures of Shettleston give it a museum type feel to it. A bit like the Laurieston which featured in my last review.
There were a few younger guys in waiting for an English lower league game to start on Sky. One older lad supped a Guinness as he read his book as a family finished their meal in the dining area. I nipped to the loos and they were bog standard, if you pardon the pun - clean and tidy with lots of adverts advertising forthcoming singing acts and football matches.
I didn't linger in the toilets though. I finished my Fosters and quickly decided to have another one. By this time the friendly wee woman behind the bar had been replaced by a man who was equally as friendly. As the pub's regulars started to drift in, the barman knew what they wanted before they ordered. That's something about a pub I like - friendly bar staff who go that extra mile to make their customers feel at home. I noticed they also serve Tartan Special … so I think my old man would like it here too.
The second pint was quickly despatched and it was time to go. I said goodbye the barman who seemed genuinely pleased that I dropped in. And you know what? I'm fast coming to the conclusion that some of the best pubs with some of the best bar staff in this town are well away from the City Centre. The Kirkhouse is a friendly pub that serves a good pint. And it's cheap too. Don't let the price of crisps put you off!
Marks out of 5
Bar snacks 3
Quality of lager 4
Total 19 out of 25