10 of the best cocktail bars in Glasgow city centre

Searching for somewhere to enjoy a well mixed cocktail in Glasgow? Then read on...

Published 10th May 2023
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

As Scotland's biggest city, you would expect Glasgow to have lots of trendy cocktail bars to choose from - and you would be absolutely right.

Whether you prefer fun Hawaiian, moody industrial, or suave contemporary vibes, Glasgow has the whole gamut of cocktail experience for you to try.

Absent Ear

(Brunswick Street, Glasgow G1 1TF)

absent ear
Picture: The Absent Ear

Award-winning speakeasy, the Absent Ear pays homage to Vincent van Gogh through his most famous missing extremity and is a clever nod to its secret location.

Rhuaridh Paul is heading up the team, which includes the duo behind popular speakeasy pop-up Wheesht, along with a class selection of bartenders from across the city, and further afield.

Guests should expect “flamboyant cocktails with a theatrical presentation” when visiting the Absent Ear.

The bar has been named in the top 50 UK Cocktails Bars for two years in a row and, occasionally runs discount nights on Tuesdays.

Ralph & Finns

(23-25 St Vincent Pl, Glasgow G1 2DT)

cocktail bars Glasgow
Picture: Ralph and Finns

This stylish bar and restaurant opened in the city centre in 2020 on the site of Urban Bar and Brasserie, and serves classic dishes and cocktails with a twist.

Cocktails to try here include the sage and pomegranate margarita.

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They also have a dedicated whisky room, which has over 50 premium brands, including Highland Park 50, Bowmore, Laphroaig and Macallan.

The Locale

(241 North St, Glasgow G3 7DL)

cocktail bars Glasgow
Picture: John Devlin

This Charing Cross bar is a little bit out of the centre of town but well worth a visit.

Offering cocktails and a massive craft beer range, The Locale has something for everyone and, when it's a nice day, there's a small beer garden outside.

Devil of Brooklyn

(42 Renfield St, Glasgow G2 1NF)

Ubiquitous Chip announce Christmas food and drink menu - including festive cocktails and cosy roof terrace
cocktail bars Glasgow
Picture: Devil of Brooklyn

This relatively new cocktail bar opened in November 2022, and comes from the team behind Tabac.

It is located on 42 Renfield Street - where Fratelli Sarti used to be situated, and serves a range of cocktails, wines and beers as well as sharing boards.


(10 Mitchell Ln, Glasgow G1 3NU)

cocktail bars Glasgow
Picture: Tabac

Tabac was opened the man behind Chinaski’s and Berkeley Suite, Fergus McVicar,  in 2015.

Situated in Mitchell Lane, formerly Bar 10, Tabac oozes a Parisian shabby-chic vibe with rustic industrial panelling and dark atmospheric lighting fitted throughout.

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Panther Milk Bar was once situated here, before the brand made it into bottles and on to Dragons' Den.

El Santo

(84 Miller St, Glasgow G1 1DT)

Picture: El Santo

This new Mexican restaurant opened in the city centre in 2022 and is connected to a speakeasy margarita bar.

El Santo is a great day or night out, with Brazilian inspired cocktails, food, interiors, and even dancers if you turn up on the right night.

The Spiritualist 

(62 Miller St, Glasgow G1 1DT)

cocktail bars Glasgow
Picture: The Spiritualist Facebook

It's hard to imagine now, but the Spiritualist building was once a derelict library in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City. It was revived in 2016 as a vibrant cocktail bar and restaurant and is still a popular venue to this day.

There's a vast range of spirits behind the bar, as well as an extensive cocktail menu which includes all the classics as well as new creations.

Bar Soba

(79 Albion St, Glasgow G1 1NY and 11 Mitchell Ln, Glasgow G1 3NU)

Picture: Bar Soba Facebook
Picture: Bar Soba Facebook

Combining a Scottish hipster look with Japanese graffiti, this bar is a perfect chilled hangout.

Full of reclaimed furniture and tubular lighting, the interior designer in us all is bound to be impressed. Ever since 1999, Bar Soba has been striving to create complex cocktails.

Many of the cocktails are fruity, such as the mango tango and Jangshi zombie.

If you've always wanted a bit of cocktail expertise, Bar Soba's masterclasses are a great opportunity to learn how to make professional-standard cocktails. Also, they won't stop you from sampling your handiwork as you go.

If you fancy a bite to go with your drink, the pan-Asian street food on offer is a safe bet.

Tiki Bar and Kitsch Inn

(214 Bath St, Glasgow G2 4HW, 0141 332 1341)

Picture: Tiki Bar Facebook
Picture: Tiki Bar Facebook

If you're not afraid of a bit of in-your-face silliness, the Tiki Bar will be right up your street. Housed in a dimly lit basement, the bar is fringed with what appears to be grass skirts, and large carvings grimace down at the drinkers.

Drink your favourite rum-based cocktail out of a ceramic skull, or out of a very on-trend jam jar.

Be prepared for some innovative fusions of Hawaiian and Scottish flavours.

The bar's syrups, cordials, bitters and tinctures are made on-site, and, as the menu proclaims, “with plenty of love”.

The Salon Lounge

(11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4AD, 0141 248 8888)

Picture: Blythswood Square Hotel Facebook
Picture: Blythswood Square Hotel Facebook

For regency glamour combined with a slick modern sensibility, Blythswood Square Hotel's lounge is one of the most stylish cocktail bars in the city.

Lacy drapes and pink lighting are juxtaposed by Harris tweed-clad contemporary furniture. Look up and admire the Georgian plasterwork while you sip on your cocktail of choice.

Many of the drinks have a well-established place in cocktail history, like the Side Car or the Daiquiri, while others have a modern twist, such as the Eiffel Daisy.

Blue Dog

(151 W George St, Glasgow G2 2JJ,  0141 229 0707)

Picture: Blue Dog Facebook
Picture: Blue Dog Facebook

If New York's late-night club scene is too far out of reach, come and visit this Big Apple-style piano bar in the centre of Glasgow, which has been around since 2003.

Blue Dog provides live entertainment and list of fabulous drinks. The laid-back jazz evokes the 30s, while the 70s wallpaper gives a funky twist.

Further afield

  • Lunar in the southside was recently named in the top 50 UK Cocktail Bars
  • Kelvingrove Cafe in Finnieston has an impressive cocktail menu
  • Crescent, also in Finnieston is ideal for an al fresco drink
  • The Gate near the iconic Barrowlands offers excellent cocktails and amazing toasties
  • Van Winkle, also in the east end, specialises in bourbon drinks
  • Stravaigin, a classic in the west end, this bar and restaurant recently had a revamp

Gone but not forgotten

Rogano Oyster Bar

(11 Exchange Pl, G1 3AN, 0141 248 4055)

Picture: Rogano Facebook
Picture: Rogano Facebook

In this 1930s art deco fantasia, you used to be able to sample some of the most famous cocktails in history, as well as some carefully-crafted classics-to-be.

The Rogano was split into the chic oyster bar and the formal restaurant. In the bar, you could sip on a Manhattan, sample delectable oysters deep fried in polenta with horseradish cream, and take in the glamour.

Rogano has been shut since the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns, with rumours that has been sold. In 2021, there were reports of serious flood damage. The historic venue remains shut, with its future unknown.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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