The best pubs to recover in after shopping in Glasgow

Glasgow is considered one of the best shopping destinations in the UK but what is there to do once your bank balance is nearly empty and your legs need a rest? Drink, of course. We take a look at where best to recover from a day’s shopping in Scotland’s second city.

Published 31st Mar 2016
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Shopping can be an exhausting task, especially in cities like Glasgow where the selection is vast and the walk is long. After hitting every shop on the Golden Z - shopping destinations Sauchiehall Street, Argyle Street and Buchanan Street - it’s only fair that you reward yourself with a good drink. We take a run down of where the best place are to rest your weary legs after a long days shopping spree.

Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street is a popular destination for shoppers.
Buchanan Street is a popular destination for shoppers.

Buchanan Street is home to some of the best shopping outlets around including Buchanan Galleries, John Lewis, Princes Square and the St Enoch centre. The street in itself houses enough shops to fill a whole day's work. If you find yourself needing a rest after a few hikes up and down its incline, pull up a chair in Bar Soba.

Nestled in the effortlessly cool side street that is Mitchell Lane, just off the main stretch of Buchanan Street, Bar Soba is a chic and minimalist watering hole serving up extra fresh cocktails (the mojitos in particular are one to be devoured), ice-cold pints and, if you’ve had a really hard day shopping, shots of patron. Unmissable pan-Asian street food is also on offer and is definitely worth sticking around for.

cocktails at Bar Soba. Picture Bar Soba Facebook
Cocktails at Bar Soba. Picture Bar Soba Facebook

If you’re after something a bit more traditional, take a quick jaunt round the corner to West George Street where the welcoming light of Waxy O’Connors awaits. With endless amounts of nooks and crannies over its three floors, six bars and nine different areas, all designed to look like the inside of a tree-house, the pub is a perfect place to de-stress after your bank balance has taken a beating. Waxy’s offers a whole host of drinks from traditional beers, wines and champagnes.

The beautiful setting that is Waxy O'Connors. Picture: contributed
The beautiful setting that is Waxy O'Connors. Picture: contributed

Luckily for shoppers, Buchanan Street shopping isn’t weather dependent with various malls to choose from. If you’re looking to take shelter from the rain, enjoy a bit of shopping and finish the day of with a drink, duck into Princes Square. Alongside its upmarket shop selection is a variety of tasteful and elegant bars.

When you’re done browsing the shops, take the escalator to the second floor where October is waiting to welcome you with a refreshing beverage. The bar has a contemporary and relaxed feel, just what you need after a good day's shop. Serving a selection of cocktails, spirits and wines, the venue could also be the beginning of an impromptu night out.

Enjoy a relaxing glass of champagne in October. Picture: October
Enjoy a relaxing glass of champagne in October. Picture: October

Sauchiehall Street

If you’ve exhausted all that Buchanan Street has to offer, taking a stroll up Sauchiehall Street could hold even more potential to spend your hard earned cash. It also, very conveniently, is home to a few of city's best bars.

A quick cross over to Bath Street will see your selection open up dramatically. If it’s a quick cocktail you’re after, pop into Hummingbird, the eclectic bar offers a fantasy land escape from the busy city streets and the best chill out music you could imagine.

The effortlessly cool Hummingbird. Picture: Hummingbird
The effortlessly cool Hummingbird. Picture: Hummingbird

Also worth a visit is its neighbours, Saint Judes and Lucky 7. Both slick bars offer an affordable drinking experience with everything from Glasgow’s own Brew Dog to Italy’s finest Limoncello just an order away.

Towards the end of Sauchiehall Street, when the shops are a distant memory, you’ll find some of the city's coolest bars. Dip into Firewater, a home from home for Glasgow’s indie lovers. During the week you can grab your favourite spirit from as little as 90p while enjoying the wide range of music their jukebox has to offer.

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If you can hold out for a few more minutes, continue further up to Broadcast, a relatively new bar on the scene that has already made quite a name for itself. If you’re into white russians and funky music, this is the perfect stop and if you’re feeling a bit peckish, the kitchen serves some of the best vegetarian and vegan food around.

Argyle Street

If you’ve sauntered down to Argyle Street to have a look at its rails but find yourself to be thirsty after the trek, luckily enough there’s bars there too. If you’re particularly parched, the Counting House is a few minutes away from the big shops and serves an incredibly wide selection of beers and cheap pub grub.

If you can hold on just a bit longer, Maggie Mays in the city’s Trongate area is a bit of an institution. With authentic rock and roll character and a homely atmosphere, it’s the ideal place to pass the hours after a long day.

‡Enjoy the lively atmosphere in Maggie Mays. Picture: Maggie Mays
‡Enjoy the lively atmosphere in Maggie Mays. Picture: Maggie Mays

For all beer lovers, BrewDog is the ideal stop-off. The bar serves its home brewed craft beers in an industrial environment taking you to a place far removed from the cramped shops you’ve spent the day in.

Lebowskis is another of Glasgow’s most popular bars, most likely due to its laid-back atmosphere, famous white russians and tasty burgers - definitely worth a visit.

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Holly is from a small town in Ayrshire but has a big appetite for all things food and drink. Having recently graduated from university in Glasgow, she prides herself on her knowledge of the cities ever growing burger scene. She is also a self-confessed macaroni cheese addict and food blog enthusiast and enjoys keeping up to date with the latest food trends.
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