But crime figures paint a different picture of the Merchant City - and reveal there is an ongoing wave of anti-social behaviour.
From public urination to street drinking, figures obtained by the Evening Times show crime has surged by 60.8% in the past six years.
There were 1404 offences recorded in the area in 2012-13, compared to 873 in 2006-07.
In the past year alone offences have increased by 15%.
The Merchant City is different to other areas of the city centre because it is home to thousands of people, as well as being a major nightlife destination.
Residents and businesses say they have become increasingly concerned over low-level crime and anti-social behaviour.
They say fights, rowdiness and people using the street as a toilet are blighting their home and working lives.
A Merchant City restaurant manager said she had noticed a steady increase in crime over the past four years.
She said: "There are a lot of scuffles happening outside our door and drunk people gathering around here.
"We've been here for seven years and in the past four, there have been more problems.
"I think that would be down to the different pubs that have opened here, it's much more built up now.
"We've had to call the police on several occasions because of drug users.
"Once, a man came into the restaurant with drug needles on him.
"We also had to call the police when someone did the toilet outside the restaurant."
She said there were also fears over muggings.
In 2012-13, police recorded 175 common thefts, with 166 the year before.
This crime has remained consistent over the past six years, with 166 incidents recorded in 2006-07.
She added: "We have had times when customers have left their phone on the table and someone has come into the restaurant to steal it.
"There seems to be a lot of that when it's quite busy here.
"There have also been times when someone's been mugged outside the restaurant and we've brought them in to call the police and calm them down."
Not surprisingly, for an area with so many busy nightspots, the number of people caught drinking in public is continuing to hike the figures up.
There were 279 reports last year, compared to 150 in 2011-12.
Police Scotland's City Centre Area Commander Alan Porte put that rise down to officers taking a hard line on the offence.
He said: "It is down to a proactive approach.
"We go to these areas and target people who break the law to stop violent or more serious crime from happening later in the night.
"We give all of our officers intelligence which points them to the areas known to us and lets the officer know what issues there are."
Mr Porte said, despite appearances, he felt there was "no greater problem in the Merchant City than anywhere else in the city centre".
He said: "The Merchant City has an eclectic mix of businesses and clubs as well as residents, so there can be more complaints over noise and drunken behaviour.
"That makes it seem like there are more problems, but people are just noticing it more."
During the day the Merchant City is known as one of Glasgow's most exclusive shopping areas.
High end stores make it a sought-after designer destination.
Despite the high number of stores, shoplifting has decreased over the past year.
There were 40 incidents recorded in 2012-13, and 60 the year before.
In other parts of the Merchant City there are certain streets, such as John Street, Candleriggs and Hutcheson Street, filled with bars and clubs.
Local resident David Pratt, 54, said people living there felt the high number of bars led to issues, including noise pollution.
He said: "There does seem to be far too many licenced premises in the one place.
"The council doesn't seem to have struck the balance between retail and residency.
"That side needs to be looked at - we often have to call the council's environmental noise team because it's just too loud.
"You can almost time your watch by it. But it's not just when the clubs finish, it's when people are smoking or drinking outside.
"There are problems with vandalism, too."
A city council spokesman said overprovision of bars in the city was being looked at.
He said: "The licensing board is consulting on a new policy that contains a section on how the board proposes to manage overprovision within the city
"Any comments on the draft proposals in the policy statement should be returned to the board by October 31."