10 of the best Glasgow real ale pubs

We love real ale and think you should too, here are ten of the best pubs to grab a pint or two in Glasgow.

Published 10th Feb 2017
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

Don’t get us wrong we love being ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest craft beers but for us there’s nothing finer than enjoying a great pint of real ale.

And in Glasgow you really are spoiled for choice for places to go to get your cask ale fix.

The Bon Accord

(153 North Street, G3 7DA)

Picture: Bon Accord
Picture: Bon Accord

Again, another Glasgow pub that’s famous for its whisky offering, the Bon Accord sits slightly off the beaten track on the city’s North Street, however it is well worth seeking out if you are a real ale fan, as owner Paul McDonagh ensures his cellars are always well stocked with some of the best casks around.

Spacious, with plenty of seating, but also with a cosy atmosphere, you’ll find yourself happily whiling away more than a few evenings here.

The food offering is second to none so don't worry if you want to settle in for the long haul .

Drum & Monkey

(93 St Vincent Street, G2 5TF)

Picture: Drum & Monkey Facebook
Picture: Drum & Monkey Facebook

Another pub run by one of the bigger chains (Nicholson’s this time) however, they are another pub that definitely deserve to be on this list having championed real ale for a few years now.

Much like their southside stablemate the Granary, they hold regular festivals and always provide a great selection, the team at the Drum and Monkey are proud of their beer offering and rightly so.

In fact, they take their ale offering so seriously they even have their very own cask master role to ensure the beer is always at its best.

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(36 Bell Street, G1 1LG)

Picture: Blackfriars
Picture: Blackfriars

Surrounded by a glut of pubs offering everything from cocktails to cabaret, you are almost glad when you enter Blackfriars and find their refreshing, no-nonsense approach to beer.

Basically, if its good it gets sold. Not only do they have a cracking craft beer range, they honour their roots by keeping a regular flow of great Scottish beers pouring from their six taps. There’s also great food available should you get peckish and if you are lucky they usually have some decent live music too.

The Counting House

(2 St Vincent Place, G1 2DH)

Picture: The Counting House
Picture: The Counting House

We know, we know, a Wetherspoon's you say? Well yes, and though our usual preference is to focus on the smaller pubs, but when the range are prices are this great, we really can't complain.

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Situated on the Queen St side of George Square, the venue offers no less than 18 pumps, which ensures a great variety of the best of Scottish beers (and of course the occasional English ones).

The staff are also pretty vigilant and unlike some other big chain pubs we can mention we haven't had a shoddy pint yet so we recommend checking them out.

The Raven

(81-85 Renfield St, Glasgow G2 1LP, UK)

Picture: The Raven Facebook
Picture: The Raven Facebook

Such is their excellent craft beer range (and food offering, don't forget the delicious, delicious food) that many might overlook the fact that they also have three great rotating cask ale taps as well as extensive range of ales in their fridges.

The Raven is a fun place to spend an evening with sport on the TVs most night, a cracking atmosphere and some very friendly staff, there are few places that cater to so many different types of customer.

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Spacious without feeling cavernous, there's usually always a seat on offer, so pull up a pew and order yourself one of the best pints of real ale available in the city centre.

The Potstill

(154 Hope Street, G2 2TH)


Situated just a short walk from both of the city’s major train stations, the Potstill is not only a mecca for whisky lovers but is also great place for real ale fans too.

With four dedicated taps, the Potstill always has a decent variety of great Scottish and British beer and you get the added bonus of enjoying a ‘Hawf and Hawf’ with a wee whisky too.

With classic brands like Kelburn and Ayr sharing the taps with newer breweries like Alechemy and Swannay there's always guaranteed to be something great on offer.

The staff take pride in their pints and the lines are kept healthy with regular cleaning after every cask change.

The Three Judges

(141 Dumbarton Road, Partick, Glasgow G11 6PR)

Picture: The Three Judges
Picture: The Three Judges

There is no better signifier that a pub takes real ale seriously than the classic ‘real ale board’ – the humble black board that happily advertises what beers are on tap that day.

And the Three Judges’ board perfectly highlights the pub’s commitment to great beers, not only in the variety of ales but also in the fact there’s no less than nine on offer at any one time.

Not to be outdone by its younger, hipper neighbour Brewdog, we still think the Three Judges is one of the best places to get great beer in the West End.

The Laurieston

(58 Bridge St, G5 9HU)

Picture: The Laurieston
Picture: The Laurieston

The Laurieston has built up a reputation over the past couple of decades, as the sort of pub you need your very own reputation to drink in, however over the past few years people are beginning to discover it is a bit of a hidden gem.

Mainly thanks to its location, which causes it to feature on the Glasgow Sub crawl , the Laurieston has begun to see a rising trade, though it is the partnership with Fyne Ales, that has really seen it become a go to destination for beer drinkers.

Great value and usually offering something special, we definitely recommend checking this little pub out next time you cross the river.

The Griffin

(266 Bath Street Glasgow, G2 4JP)

Picture: Griffin Facebook
Picture: Griffin Facebook

Ok, cliché incoming, The Griffin is a true institution in Glasgow and one of the best old school pubs in the city, straddling the lines between Bath Street and Sauchiehall street it draws in a fun crowd and the craic is always overflowing - much like the pints of real ale.

Comfort food, cosy seating and the newly instated Gin fling make this wee bar well worth a visit.

The State

(148-148A Holland St, Glasgow G2 4NG)

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller
Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller

An omission by us and rightly rectified, the State, as has been pointed out by real ale fans, is the Glasgow CAMRA pub of the year for 2016 (it also took the title in 2012).

At the business end of Sauchiehall Street, The State has been delighting beer fans since its inception in 1902. They have a continually changing selection of cask ales from all over the UK (with a regularly recurring cast of Fyne and Oakham ales) and an emphasis on Scottish brewers like Williams Bros, Kelburn and Fallen.

They also do a roaring trade in comedy with past acts including Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle having performed, meaning great value, great ales and plenty of laughs.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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