Sometimes you finally visit a bar that you’ve passed hundreds of times over the years. And when you venture in for the first time it knocks you for six. Well … that’s what happened to me on my latest pub adventure.
If you want a glimpse of what a night out in Glasgow was like in the 1960s, take the Subway to Bridge Street Station, cross the road and step back in time through the doors of the Laurieston.
It doesn’t look like anything special from the outside. In fact I’d always avoided it and passed by on my way to and from work when I lived in the South Side.
Now, I’ve been wrong a few times in my life and I’m the first to admit I got it wrong about this place.
The minute you walk in, it’s like you’re stepping back in time to a Glasgow from a long-gone era.
The place is like a museum. The décor is incredible. It looks as if it’s basically been untouched for 50 years with a circular bar, stools for the regulars and wee red tables. The pub is separated into a bar with a wooden floor and a cosy lounge which is carpeted. I think a couple of Glasgow ladies had just left, as two small empty Mateus Rose bottles were sitting on a table. You really could be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported way back to 1964.
I was served a pint of Fosters by a barman who wore a shirt and tie and was very friendly and chatty. He pulled a frosted glass out of a fridge and I was happy to part with £3.20 for the pleasure as the coldest pint I’ve tasted in ages hit the back of my parched throat.
As I savoured my beer, I scanned the pub’s walls which were full of old Glasgow pictures and loads of photos of punters down the years and all those people who stop off at the Laurieston when they’re doing the Glasgow Underground pub crawl, or the Subcrawl as it’s better known.
A vintage pie heating machine caught my eye and it was packed full of tasty looking pies and bridies. There’s a good selection of crisps and peanuts too but I went for a pie and beans and devoured it as I sat on a stool by the bar. My savoury snack was, in two words, absolutely magic!
The music was from a by-gone era too and the sound of Connie Francis’ Lipstick on Your Collar filled the room as a small band of friendly locals supped their pints and read their papers.
The men’s toilet was OK and there was a quirky touch … a height indicator like the ones you’d find on an identity parade sits above the urinal. You’ll have to go to the lounge to find the ladies’ loos. Again, a nod to the traditions of pubs of the past
It’s an old fashioned place but, like the Crosslands pub which featured in my last review ,you might just have seen it a film. It was used as a set for the 2003 Ewan McGregor movie Young Adam and has also featured in the video for the Fratellis' song Whistle For The Choir and the Franz Ferdinand hit Darts Of Pleasure. In the Franz Ferdinand video, lead singer Alex Kapranos gets beaten up outside the pub but happily, nothing like that was happening when I was there. To be fair, it doesn’t look like that sort of establishment.
Sadly, it was soon time for me leave the Laurieston. I drained the last drops of lager from my glass, returned my empties to the friendly barman and made for the door. For a brief moment as I stepped out into the teeming Glasgow rain, I imagined I had been transported back to the early 1960s and I thought of dashing over the river to get the train from St Enoch Railway Station … or perhaps bounding up Buchanan Street and heading to a hostelry on the Parliamentary Road for a wee snifter.
Sadly I couldn’t. Those days have gone. But this gem of a bar gives you a delicious, refreshing taste of how Glaswegians used to spend their leisure time. Nondescript on the outside, beautiful on the inside. And a must for anyone who loves a good Glasgow boozer.
Marks out of 5
Bar snacks/meals 5
Quality of lager 5