A lot of people I know consider the Lismore to be one of the finest pubs in Glasgow. It's a place I know and like, so reviewing it was hopefully going to be a pleasant experience. And the men's toilets are the stuff of legends ...
The minute you walk through the Lismore's doors, you know you're in a pub that prides itself on the way it looks and doesn't try to follow other so-called trendy pubs in the West End by changing what has been a winning formula for many years. It looks pretty much the same as it did when I first visited about 15 years ago and I find that strangely comforting as I edge towards my mid 40s. Oooft.
I dropped in on a sunny evening this week and I was mightily impressed by the decor. The sun shone through the pub's stained glass windows and gave the place - and myself - a warm glow. And that was before I even ordered a pint! The wooden interior gives it a traditional feel and there's only a couple of TVs which weren't switched on when I was in. This, I soon realised, is a place where they like you to chat while you enjoy a drink, rather than just sit watching Sky Sports News. Which I do watch quite a lot, I must admit.
The Lismore is split into two bars. The back bar lighting is slightly dimmer and was busy when I arrived and there an area outside where you can sit and watch the comings and goings of daily Partick life. But I opted to get a beer in the front bar. The staff were friendly and efficient, and a cool and tasty pint of Fosters cost me very reasonable £3.05. If you like whisky, the Lismore is a bar you absolutely must visit as there a huge range of drams to choose from but I am not a huge fan of spirits so I was happy with my pint and I took a seat and had a look around at my surroundings.
And that's when it hit me. Everybody in the pub looked as if they were having a good time. And that's not something you can say about every bar in this city. Students, pensioners, couples, workies, the lot. All loving their night in this pub. American tourists mingled happily with regulars at the bar and laughter filled the air as they swapped stories. A couple of guys sat on their own but they looked quite relaxed and happy too. I think the physical beauty of the Lismore just puts you at ease. You can't help but enjoy yourself.
I decided to upgrade to a Heineken for my second pint, shelling out £3.75, and I appreciated the difference. As I savoured my beer, some young and clearly talented student musicians came in and started tuning up for a night of traditional Scottish music. A good night was quickly getting even better.
After my pint was done, it was almost time to head to home. But before I did, I paid a visit to the loos. If you've never been to the Lismore, a trip the men's toilets is a must. But only if you're a man, obviously. A notice on the urinals invite you to pay your own personal respects to three of the men behind the Highland Clearances. Go see for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
I finally left the Lismore and headed along Dumbarton Road in search of a bus home, happy in the knowledge that I'd just enjoyed a delicious taste of pub perfection. A beautiful bar that every pub-going adult in Glasgow - Scotland, in fact - should frequent at least once in their lives.
Marks out of 5
Quality of lager 4
Total 24 out of 25