I knew I'd like this place from three doors down - so much so that I took a picture. I just liked the name and the look of it.
When our local Glasgow friend brought us inside, he warned that the "violins may seem a bit twee" - oh but I'm from Los Angeles and I found the violins - and flute and other instruments to be lovely. This was a group of musicians seated in the pub along with the rest of us, playing at just the right volume.
Inside, we were lucky enough to find great seats early Saturday evening. The walls are white and the pub is very convivial. Our friend bought me a half-and-half - half pint of ale plus a lovely whisky. I mean really lovely. Isle of Jura. Must get more.
One would be really lucky to have this as their local.
Great bar, and nice to have a 'quiet' place away from the madding crowds.
That said, it's never all that quiet as it's definitely not the best kept secret, which isn't surprising as they offer a good range of ales, some good hearty food, and whilst the clientele are usually on the upper range age wise, there is always a lively mix.
Relaxing, simple and comforting, this is the kind of pub in which you could happily while away the hours. They usually have a (Scottish) guest ale on tap, and the staff are knowledgeable and down to earth.
Can be a wee bit cramped when it gets busy but if you like (or play) folk music, get there on a Saturday night and take along your fiddle, bodhran, or banjo and join in (you'll need to know your stuff though!).
I recommend Babbity Bowster to friends and visitors to Glasgow, as it's a good example of a friendly Glasgow boozer.
A great alternative to the bigger pubs in the Merchant City, this has a great local pub feel to it which makes it nice and inviting.
For a start it looks lovely. Clean white walls, great pictures of Glasgow and its people, and a good sized bar it's a place you can feel comfortable in pretty quickly. There wasn't any music playing on the Saturday night we were in, which was actually really nice, and the atmosphere was great. It did look like we had missed some folk busking which would have been cool.
The beer was great, and the staff were really friendly. We didn't get a chance to try the food, but I'd definitely come back and give it a go.
The fact that its not on the main Merchant City thoroughfares is a blessing and a curse: it's feels good to go that little but further out to a really nice pub, but you do wish more folk would know about it.
Ever since the beginning of time (or when I first discovered this pub) I thought it was actually Babbity Bowser and it was only when I looked at the sign on Saturday night that I discovered the extra "t" in there. I'll still call it Bowser though!
I'd visited for afternoon drinks a while back, and we headed her for an after-dinner drink on Saturday night. While it was heaving with people at 9pm, it wasn't hard to get a seat or a drink which was good!
This is a simple pub - classy, nicely decorated and a comfortable place for a chat over a pint. There wasn't any music on but it was pleasantly filled with the rumble of Saturday night chat from other patrons. Prime seating options are along the wall, whereas the tables in the middle mean you'll be perching on a small stool.
I didn't have anything to drink (I was driving!) and was too full to even look at the food options, but I'll definitely be back for visit # 3 when I'm in the area again.
A hidden treasure!
Such a cool little pub hidden down a back street of the Merchant City. I went here a couple of times during the summer so I got to experience their beer garden as well! It's so nice to have a beer outside and not be served it in a plastic glass. Classy eh? Moving on inside cute decor and very spacious. Old style wooden table and chairs and on the outside the building itself is a beaut! Over to the food, the mussels with crusty bread is a must! They serve a massive portion which is great to share especially if your spending the afternoon drinking!
Over all a 4 star for me! Very cosy little place. Staff are very friendly ready waiting to give you recommendations on whiskey and beer! A fab selection all around! Great food, great beer and great atmosphere! What else could you look for?
Try the haggis! It is really good here
Something of a Glasgow institution, I'd never actually been to Babbity's until this weekend. I don't often go to The Merchant City.
Alas, this Friday, two friends and I decided after the Steps Bar we'd venture somewhere else. They both recommended BB's.
First off the bat, I really liked the interior - wooden tables, benches, and I think there was a fireplace - although I may have just imagined this given my several pints beforehand. It has a really nice feel, with a traditional appearance - and gets the balance right; it comes across as homely, welcoming and traditional - rather than tacky, kitsch and like it's trying too hard.
The selection of ales was smashing - and that always gets my thumbs up.
I was thoroughly impressed with this boozer - and whenever I am back in Merchant City, I'd most certainly pay it another visit.
Sometimes you walk into a bar and think to yourself 'Wow, I'm such a dumbass'.
I shall explain. Up until recently I'd never stepped foot in this place having lived in Glasgow for almost a decade (wait, is it a decade.. must ask the female one). Now in fairness to myself, the Merchant City is an area I don't often frequent, i've been there two many times to have never dropped into this joint.
Things that make me go 'yay':
- Real fire!
Big win on this one. It was roaring away last night, taking the nip off the air and making sure my cheeks were a nice wee rosey red (nothing to do with the whisky!)
- Good beer selection, including a nice few ales.
- Nice bright interior. Fresh, warm and welcoming which is so nice on a dark scottish winter evening.
All in all this is most likely my new go to place in this area. Appears too that they also serve food. Must make a return visit (always nice to have an excuse eh?).
Decisions, decisions! First choose the several places we will not visit for today's lunch. Well, we could easily not visit a lot of them, but it would be harder not to visit Babbity's.
That decision made, what lunches would we forego?
Everything here is always good. The administrator would forego all else in favour if the pie of the day. With apologies to the rest of the menu, I'd focus on the mixed grill.
As always, the food was excellent and we could visit other menu items on another occasion.
Babbity Bowster's manages to bridge the gap between cosy, stylish, traditional and modern. Don't ask me how, but it seems to be successful at mixing its genres!
A traditional Scots bar set in the stylish, upmarket Merchant City, Babbity's subtly exerts a sprinkling of Scottish heritage without being too O.T.T. It's comfy without being cluttered with memorabilia, and its decor is simple. I couldn't really figure out its layout but I get the impression it's deceptively big! It has a bar loaded with booze, including a variety of whiskys, and a menu packed with cullen skink along with other tasty Scottish fayre.
I visited Babbity's with the Yelp squad and found it very pleasant. I must confess I was drinking tea that night (much to the disdain of my colleagues), but will definitely head back for a few drinks and a bite to eat since they seem to offer variety in both areas. One to return to, and a chilled out (but nevertheless upmarket) alternative to some of the more uptight, self consciously trendy bars that litter this area of the city.
This pub in the Merchant City opened in 1986 in the late Georgian warehouse designed by James Adam. The name comes from an old Scottish Country dance which traditionally ends a wedding celebration.
It has a very nice and relaxed atmosphere and unlike the Strathduie, the Babbity Bowser has no background music.
The interior can reveal its recent origins but the some of the original Georgian features do shine through.
Very good pub food at more than reasonable prices. There is also a restaurant on the first floor, with a good variety of game.
Not stayed at the hotel, so I cannot comment on the accomodation.
Babbity's is a great, but rather expensive pub ideally placed in the Merchant City.
A pint of Tennent's should never cost more than £3, but the price in this quaint establishment has been known to rise as fast as the bubbles themselves.
Sometimes the bar can get a little cold. With no music or (normally) television, conversations have to be kept a little on the hushed side. Thankfully, a superb beer garden solves that problem. Naturally, this is Glasgow, not Greece, so its use is somewhat limited.
Despite my initial gripes, the food in here is superb, rising well above most standards. Soups, haggis, stovies and the famed Cullen skink all come highly recommended.
Tourists may struggle to comprehend the barman with the eyepatch.
When I lived in the St Andrews Sq we were regulars at Babbity, it's all been said here already about how welcoming and friendly the place is.
It is quiet and the only music occasionally is a wee Scottish band playing in the corner next to the fire. I'm into Rock Bars nowadays (no neds!) but I will def be going back to Babbitys in the near future for a pint and a good yap.
The only down side for me was when I tried the food, was couple years back now but I've never had it since, I didn't hardly touch it and wasn't even asked why which is a shame. I was born and bred in Scotland and love scottish food such as Stovies, Haggis etc. but the food I had was gristly, greasy and very ye olde world? ...and I'm 37 not 17 before someone says!
For the people saying the beer garden "saves it", go somewhere else! lol. It's meant to be like that and that's how people like it and go back!
...and I for one have never once had to keep my voice "hushed", that's ridiculous. It's not a library! Yeah, it's not got neds or the usual idiots falling about and shouting and that's the attraction as the majority of bars and pubs have said idiots or an intimidating atmosphere.
4 stars but only cos of the food I had. Could possibly have improved now.
If your looking for a dark pub packed with young folk shaking their behinds to the latest grooves while pouring impossibly coloured alcohol into their faces, then this is not the pub for you.
The light, airy, almost sparse decor here is like a breath of fresh air, and the lack of music means that conversation is your entertainment.
It's usually fairly empty although I was in here on a Saturday night recently. There was a good old Scottish hedrum hodrum fiddle and guitar group playing. It looked fairly spontaneous, but the place was busy.
Drinkwise it's the usual selection of gaseous lagers from Tennents to Peroni with one or two guest ales, usually from the Kelburn brewery, and my favourite high strength cider, Addlestons.
There is also a decent selection of single malts.
The food is very good Scottish fare. I had mutton pie here once and it was sublime.
Summer time is when this place really comes into its own. I've wasted many an afternoon in the beer garden, eventually dragging my Addlestoned body indoors only when my friends remind me that I'm in Scotland and will probably catch hypothermia if I continue to sit outside in the dark.
Babbity's is probably the definition of the Merchant City.
The bar itself is quite cold - there's a great atmosphere about the place, even if it is quite quiet at times (ok, very quiet), but as Jamie points out, the beer garden saves it, even if it is raining...
A little on the expensive side, it's home to some of the most high quality traditional food in Glasgow - stovies, cullen skink, haggis... mmm! Be prepared to pay a high price for the high quality though...eeep! I paid £6 for a slab of chocolate mousse once. To say I was unimpressed doesn't cover it. It was tasty yes, but £6 for chocolate mousse. No thanks, I'll go to Tesco's next time.
How nice to find a little traditional pub tucked away in the heart of "style bar" filled Merchant City.
Not that Babbity Bowster is cosy; as previous reviewers have pointed out, this place can get bloody cold at times.
The menu is filled with a cut above standard pub grub such as sausage and mash and some extremely tasty haggis, neeps and tatties.
Babbity Bowster would be a good place to bring a tourist due to its traditional Scottish feel and selection of malt whiskies at the bar.
A really nice atmospheric pub . Has a limited range of real ales but what I tried was well kept . They are a bit on the pricey side though . Get the feeling place has a split personality , pub ! Restaurant !
Love the food, quirkiness and ambience: however, The Portonian finished his main course well before me, and his plate was cleared away while I was still eating. Please do not do this. This is not the only venue where this happens and it makes the other customer feel rushed. The Portonian was invited to order a pudding while I was still eating my main course. Please do not do this, this makes the other customer feel rushed and a tad invisible. Based on this visit, a 3 star experience.
We stayed at one of the rooms above the Babbity Bowster for 1 night while in Glasgow. The staff were very friendly and helpful, the room was clean, and the location was great. We had a couple meals there as well and the food was good as well-great Cullen Skink. Although breakfast wasn't included, £60 for a double room was a fabulous deal for that location-I would definitely return if staying in Glasgow again.
As other contributors allude to, this is very pricey for Glasgow. Laid back, liberal atmosphere but this makes it feel slightly pretentious. A nice place to go if you're trying to impress someone who is a bit up-tight, but not my cup of tea.
Glasgow has few decent pubs with real ale and good food - about 3 I think, but this is one of them.
They have a pie of the day which is always excellent
Great atmosphere. Great pub food. Worth the extra if you dine upstairs where the French chef never disappoints.
A great atmosphere at Babbity Bowster where the warm hearth is particularly welcoming on a cold winter night. The Schottische Restaurant upstairs must have the best Christmas Menu in Glasgow as you can eat 3 courses fit for a King for under £30 and the menu is varied and FRESH! Canny whack it!
nice(beware the owner!!!!!),bit pricey,but worth the extra occassionally ,gets full on days when cetic are at home,my only gripe please ban smoking on outside drinking area
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