Off to meet a dear old friend.
"What shall it be?" I inquire to this long standing buddy. One of their many Euro Pilsners', Addlestones Cider, Tempest's Saison du Pomme, Kelburn's Jaguar, or are we in the mood for a long relaxing lunch? I tap his wooden counter, bemusing the bar staff and await the decision. A SAGRES I decided and lunch will have to wait. You see Blackfriars is my dear old friend and he's always there when others have fallen. Whether it's good food, drink or entertainment I'm after he's never let me down, unlike some others to could mention :-/
A beer snob's delight, Blackfriars is a prize of a pub. Sat in the Merchant City, it's popular and lively and can be many things to many people - a craft ale pub, venue, meeting place or gastro-pub - take your pick? With a rotating range of real ale pumps plus a large variety of world beers, Blackfriars has everything the discerning drinker could wish for. The venue downstairs plays host to all sorts of late night events and the menu's not too shabby either, with Burgers, Pies, and Haggis all fantastic and decently priced.
The staff seem to stick around too. None of this quick staff turnover nonsense, which makes me think - "If staff are happy, customers are happy". I may be wrong on that, but it's certainly the impression I get. Anyway, staff longevity creates a beer, food and locale knowledge that they're more than willing to share with enthusiasm and warmth. And it's with this warm glow that I retreat to a bay window seat, order the recommended Prawn Thai Red Curry and sup my Malty Portuguese Delight.
Too Darn Hot @ Blackfriars first Saturday of every month with Lou Hickey & Tony Poprock.
I went on Saturday night with my Daughter & wee cuz what a great night.
Superb venue excellent bar staff & superb music to bop along too, will definitely be back.
Somehow, Blackfriars has managed to turn what looks like a wee old man pub into a cool and quirky corner of Merchant City. It doesn't look much, but it has a really nice atmosphere and is always packed with punters young and old.
There's a nice raised restaurant area, with nice lighting and big wooden tables - the quality of the food is impressive and not at all what you'd expect from a pub. The menu boasts the best of local produce and interesting ingredients - mostly meat and seafood, adventurously cooked.
Downstairs there's a dark and dingy basement which hosts clubs, gigs and comedy nights in an ideal environment with a low ceiling and Cavern-esque feel.
Always been one of my favourite haunts on the odd occasion that I'm let loose in the Merchant City.
There's no angle they're shooting for, it's not an Irish theme bar, or a Spanish taverna, or German bierhalle... it's a good old fashioned pub. They always have an interesting collection of real ales on the go (this visit saw me take a Highland Brewey Seafare and mighty nice it was too) for me... erm... people to quaff.
They have tons of live events on the go, and it's to my shame that I've never been down the stairs to see any of them. People that have been have spoken highly about it all, so I'll go with that recommendation.
Given all the pubs in this part of town, it speaks volumes that this is the one I always head for when I'm about if the choice is mine.
Blackfriars is famous for its range of draft beers / ales, which change regularly. And on this visit if continued this tradition, we drank lots of good beer, enjoyed the band - not every night my might point out - and had a very chilled time.
This is what a good pub should be all about, good atmosphere, range of beers, they do food as well, just didn't partake on this visit, have in the past and its good.
Gotta say that this is my favorite pub in the Merchant City area mostly for the friendly staff and excellent beer selection. I don't usually go back to a place more than twice when I am in town for only a short period, but Blackfriars really impressed me and became a habitual stop during my most recent time in Glasgow.
Even on busy nights the staff is attentive and fast, and the layout allows for larger groups to snag tables while others can mill around in the more open area near the bar.
I like Blackfriars. I like that it's a merchant city pub that doesn't make me feel that I'm too poor to be in there. I like that they have a great beer selection, and that the club downstairs has candles and a small but perfectly formed dancefloor. I like that the security do genuinely seem very protective of the atmosphere and won't tolerate idiots.
I do find that it's not always the easiest to move around in - the design means that people seem to always be pushing past you to get to the toilet - but if you get one of the booths, you're sorted.
Down to earth, good service, friendly staff.
The best pub in the Merchant City area of the city centre in my opinion.
Great range of frequently changing ales alongside the usual lagers, heavy and Guinness. And on occasionally a "tap takeover" from a single brewery. A good selection of bottled American craft beers too.
Gets really busy at the weekends so it's often standing room only; but with a fairly high churn of customers so you'll likely get a table if you stick around for a wee while.
Great food here too - a cut above the usual pub fare, with special lunchtime deals. Had the best fish and chips in a very long time earlier this year.
The basement hosts comedy, music and club nights, but really deserved a review in its own right, so i'll just mention it in the passing.
Blackfriars: Great staff, great beer, great food, great location...
Top notch beer pub here, with friendly and knowledgable staff and also good value gastro-pub style grub.
They have a good selection of max 5 real ale hand pulls as well as some great craft beers in their fridge (which can be very pricey) and on keg.
If you're around Merchant City and you appreciate good beer you must go here!
Stopped in for a quick drink. Nice atmosphere, good selection of drinks. Seemed to be popular.
Located in the Merchant City, Blackfriars is known throughout the city for its great atmosphere and good beer.
They have an ever changing selection of cask beer and great bottle selection. I would love to see a few kegged craft beers become available to showcase some of the other great offerings beer has to make.
My biggest let down is that they are always mobbed and it is nearly impossible to get a seat or a table in an evening.
They host a variety of events from live music to dj's and meet the brewer sessions in the basement area.
They serve food however I am yet to try it.
When given a choice between cake or pie, I've historically been quite indifferent. They both tend to be sweeter, creamier and/or heavier than my wont. In fact, I'd much rather have steak for dessert.
Imagine my awe when I discovered that you can have your pie and steak it, too. Sheer brilliance! I'm grateful for having Blackfriars pop my steak pie cherry. They did it with the most moist, tender meat topped with flaky crust that's just begging to soak up all the savory sauce. The side of chips it came with certainly didn't hurt...
Then there's the obscure (to me) beer selection. I'm still getting to learn about brews on this side of the pond, and was quite pleased with the pint of Cairngorm Black Gold I sampled. One could get quite an education on ales with all the options on tap at Blackfriars.
Other yelpers have noted how busy it gets in here, but that was counter to my own experience. Perhaps the mid-afternoon timing of our visit played to our favor. Other than the large table of businessmen in the corner, I think we might have been the only other party there. It might only be 1500 here, but it's gotta be happy hour -somewhere-!
For a spot of great pub grub and a pint of spendid ale from a wide range of, eh, splendid ales, then this is a fine establishment to hit.
When in the area with two hungry bellies (I think Kevin may have whimpered at one point) my brain kicked into gear and my yelpdar swung into full action....
Mission: Find a great joint for pub lunch with a possible beer
Tick, tick, tick... Boom (no i'm not the Fresh Prince) Blackfriars!
Friendly staff, nice lunchtime atmosphere, and some excellent grub, Blackfriars again finds itself as my favorite pub in the Merchant City.
Now this is a pub.
Warm, relaxed, cosy, inviting. It's my bar of choice in the Merchant City. I can't comment on the food just yet, though I've heard good things, but the Beer selection is incredible.
Don't just take my word for it though. I was sat at the bar on a wet Thursday evening reading the paper and enjoying one of my favourite local ales, Brewdog's Punk IPA, when a strange thing happened.
About 15 men suddenly entered the bar. All of them with rucksacks, fresh from the train. Without saying a word, they all took a seat at a group of tables and all of them, to a man, took out a notebook and started making notes.
'What's that all about?' I enquired.
'They're from the internet,' The barman answered. 'Some beer forum. We get groups of them in from all over Europe to try the Beers and make notes.'
Like Ray's baseball field in Field of Dreams, people will come. Only it's for beer, not baseball.
Side note: If you're a Rock n Roll fan, check out the resident band, 'The Shivering Sheiks' every Tuesday night. They're pretty sharp, Daddy-O.
Amidst all the trendy (sometimes pretentious) spots scattered throughout Merchant City, it's nice to find a pub like Blackfriars to chillax and enjoy drinks with friends. Blackfriars is a great wee gastropub that also features live music throughout the week, and has a basement club as well. They whip up some tasty grub at a reasonable price, as well as dish out some mouth-watering brews. I'm a big fan of the Hoegaarden, especially since I used to distribute it in southern US ;-)
You'll find a mix of students and professionals... all seeking a break from the daily grind or trying to avoid coursework. There's never a dull moment here... from an anonymous person farting at the bar and the bar staff handing another patron a can of oust to neutralize the offensive odour and the crowd cheering... to arriving ready for a stiff drink only to be greeted with a major sausage-fest (hey single ladies, you might find your man here because there's plenty of them!!). Blackfriars is also where my MBA class came together, and said their last goodbye over the course of the year.
Blackfriars, you hold a special place in my wee heart.
I'll start off by saying this: Blackfriars is the best pub in the Merchant City. Now I'll tell you why.
Having been working in an off-licence for the past two years, I have come to appreciate the finer things in life. In other words, I'm a bit of (entirely) an alcohol snob. For this reason, Blackfriars never disappoints. It boasts a fairly extensive range of bottled beers with a number of real ales always available as well as your standard draught lagers. Just now I am right into North American craft beer, so I felt a trip to Blackfriars with a few mates was in order. I treated myself to a delicious bottle of Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale whilst my friends ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a pint of Fosters (I know, I know. He's only learning).
As always the atmosphere was extremely relaxed and friendly, as were the bar staff. It happened to be a beautifully sunny day for a change so we sat outside in the small seating area in front of the pub to people-watch and enjoy the sunshine.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Blackfriars to anyone who enjoys drinking good beer in good pubs. They also host regular comedy and live music nights which are great. I strongly suggest going on a Tuesday night when The Shiverin' Sheiks are on - they are awesome!
I have a confession yelp - despite working literally one street over for a long time, I've never been in this pub. For shame.
It was a lovely sunny day yesterday and myself and my lovely colleagues had spent 10 hours working inside and we wanted to make the most of the sunshine with an outdoor pint. After trotting around the merchant city we arrived here, with "oh why didn't we think of this first" "well I've never been here so that's why".
Tongues hanging out, parched of a tasty beer, we went inside. I honestly nearly wept with joy when I saw the beers (adding on the shame) there was not one ale on tap I wouldn't drink, looked to the fridge and saw it chock a block with Magic rock beers and other sublime specimens. Quickly ordered a great pint of SWB Resistance and a tub of Sahara nuts and headed back out into the last of the sunshine.
The only reason for not giving the full 5* is that there wasn't a beer garden, so we were sat on the street. I realise that this seems a bit fussy. Maybe I'll go back and drink some more of the lovely beers and go to the comedy venue downstairs and give the extra star. Oh and the food looked good too, although we didn't eat there this time.
For now Yelp, forgive me for my stupid error in over looking this cracking wee pub. I am ashamed and will make up for it by making many more trips back for the tasty beers!
Right off the bat I'll say this. I'm rating Blackfriars as a pub and not a restaurant. It's been a loooooong time since I've eaten here so any comment, good or bad, would be unfair.
I love Blackfriars. In my opinion it is one of the best pubs in the city. The prices are reasonable, they change the ales all the time, there's a great selection of whisky, and it has a nice atmosphere every day of the week. There's something unique about the feel of the place. It's a modern, but with an old ambience. More importantly, it pulls this off without being cheesy or trying too hard for that image.
In my humble opinion Blackfriars epitomizes what it means to be a modern Glasgow pub by staying true to the history of the city, but maintaining an identity of it's own. I go here often, and unless something changes drastically, I'll continue to do so.
PS This is where my Groomsmen and I went for a whisky before heading to the wedding venue.....
Blackfriars is definitely worth a look as it provides sanctuary for those of us in the Merchant City who don't want to go to Tiger Tiger because its too expensive, O'Neill's because its too Irish or the Steps because its too much of an old man pub.
I've usually ended up in Blackfriars on my way to gigs at the Barrowlands, getting a drink as close to the Barras as I can without going too far into the dodgy area beyond Glasgow Cross. Although I've found the Merchant City can be a dodgy area, the area around Blackfriars is pretty quiet and there is certainly no threatening atmosphere in this pub.
The clientele is very mixed and during the evening it can be a very warm and atmospheric place with it being busy and a bit of music on in the background. There are quite a few unusual guest ales here, though at the same time there isn't much of the common pints of beer to choose from. The prices are okay though. My only real complaint in here is that the mens' toilets are far too small and in quite poor condition.
The Merchant City is still missing something for me. Despite all the good restaurants, bars and pubs, even when it's busy it rarely feels truly buzzing. Quite a few nightspots, notably Citation, Arta and Tiger Tiger attract the appaling demographic best desribed as "neds with money", and a few others I'll spare the dignity of naming, seem to attract punters from the very armpit of Glasgow society. They're very much in the minority, but still a sign that the area has in some ways, not lived up to expectations.
Blackfriars, to my delight, has no such problem. It remains one of the best, perhaps one of the only, proper pubs in the area, with pub grub on the menu, plenty of ales and fancy beer, and a bustling, varied crowd of punters.
They also get marks for having the balls to put on some very eccentric, underground and arty club / band nights in the venue downstairs, some of which do very well. The Merchant City needs more places like this if it's to truly live up to the "Covent Garden of the north" tag it's been aiming for.
Blackfriars is a proper pub. With a great range of ales, spirits, wines, and with food that isn't pretending to be upmarket to suit the area, it's the kind of pub the big chains try and fail to replicate.
With a single, lonely telly hanging up near the bar (it's rarely on), this isn't the pub for Sky Sports and the jeering football mobs. It's where you go when you want a quality pint of ale that's kept well and served by friendly staff that look like they take pride in their place of work.
And rightly so - the bar is well run, and the regular music and stand-up events make it the kind of pub you can keep going back to even when you're in the mood for different kinds of evening.
The only downside are the tiny, cramped toilets off to the side of the bar. I've been in a pub in London (The Captain's Cabin, near Picadilly) that has smaller toilets... but that's the only one!
If you're at all a fan of ale, live entertainment, or both, then Blackfriars is well worth a visit.
A good pub with an broad selection of bottled and cask beers. This is not a pub I've deliberately frequented, but somehow, I have found myself in here loads of times--a handy local landmark, I suppose.
The pub is generally quite comfortable and bar staff seem friendly enough. I've never eaten in here, and in honesty, it's not somewhere where I'd even think of going to for food.
A pub that does what it sets out to do well, it seems, and a little pub oasis in the otherwise wine-bar-and-chain-pub-centric Merchant City.
Good selection of beers, some foreign lagers and a few guest ales. Food served during the day.
The pub is a nice corner to find yourself in when the surrounding establishments fill up.
I like this place.
It's a good lazy afternoon pint on a day off sort of place for me and the sort of place I can happily kill time on my own waiting for someone if I am early or more commonly, when my friends are running late.
The staff are nice enough and the bar is impressive, with a good range of ales and spirits.
Havent sampled this place in a 'night-out' capacity, but I hear only good things.
One of the best bars in the Merchant City, Blackfriars keeps itself more interesting than its neighbours through its hosting of varied events in its downstairs section. For instance, during the recent comedy festival they even managed to bag Kevin Bridges for an intimate show.
Upstairs is pricey but given you're probably in this area for a proper night out, this isn't too much of a problem. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere welcoming.
Can I just say one word?
This is one of the best gastropubs for brunch that I've found. Melt-in-your-mouth-delicious and in a classy way.
At night-time, it's a swinging pub, nearly impossible to get a seat, as it's usually packed. But you won't mind...small price for a great venue.
Ii don't know how they managed it, but even on a tueday night it's jumping. It may be the band; but surely that can't be the only reason it's always busy in there.
Perhaps it's because you think to yourself, 'It's a Tuesday. I want to go to a place for a drink that isn't dead as a doornail.' and everyone in Glasgow thinks the same thing and then you all end up in Blackfriars.
Hence why all the other places are dead as a doornail.
It is a bit pricey here, but nevermind. They've got ale here, and they don't try TOO hard to make it a typical Scottish pub, it is one anyway, but with a jazzy edge.
Great for an ice-cold pint, or a premium gin and tonic. It has outdoor seating in the summer, and you can easily spend hours that pass like minutes sipping your pint lazily among friends.
The Blackfriars has been in Bell Street for about 30 years and has a very warm, welcoming atmosphere. Staff + Management provide excellent Customer Service; Toilets clean + well-maintained. Bar Prices are average for the Area.
The Comedy Club is exactly what you would expect from a Comedy Club.
Bar Meals are of good quality; well prepared + presented.
If in the Merchant City, why not give it a try. I'm sure you will enjoy the experience.
An attractive pub in the centre of the town. A very good selection of ales and reasonable food. Live music on many nights and cheerful and efficient bar staff.
One of my favourite pubs in Glasgow city centre. Located in the Merchant City, it's been here long before the area really took off in terms of nightlife.
Serving a good selection of real ales along with the usual drinks selection it is a warm, welcoming and friendly traditional style pub.
Downstairs is a small club area where they host comedy nights. The quality of comedian varies, as is always the case with comedy clubs, but I have had some great nights here - and some good laughs.
My favourite pub in the merchant city, with a very good selection of beers and ales, a friendly staff and clientele. Can be busy though.
Used to have comedy on in the basement, but now there's only comedy during festivals.
Have spent some pleasant evenings here sampling the great range of beers and ales. Fair to say it's not the cheapest place and not the most spacious either, but I would still recommend giving it a shot. Weekend club nights downstairs can sometimes be quite good too, though the room is pretty small.
Lunchtime food excellent value at 2 courses for £5.50.Quality was excellent and the portions more than adequate.Had a pint of Orkney Blast to go with lunch.Hadn't tried it before.If in the Merchant City again I would definitely revisit.
Whenever I am in glasgow its the first place i hit . Gets very crowded do not expect to sit . Great atmosphere and very good beer though a little expensive . Holds regular gigs and theres a comedy club , not tried the food but it looks good .
I love this place for always having delicious ales on tap, like any good Scottish pub should. (It's surprising how many only serve tasteless lagers!) The one time I ordered food, it was quite good too. A nice place to be.
Great cask ales! Great service and knowledgeable staff!
one of the best real ale outlets in glasgow
shame about the jazz
This is a great wee pub and they have some great club nights downstairs. Very unassuming and cool.
Another overpriced Merchant City bar which thinks it's better than it is.
No sign of any prices anywhere, and when you pay you can see WHY they don't display them.
Good for real ale, but so are the Wetherspoon pubs(nearby) -at half the price!
If you prefer a traditional pub then the "Bon Accord" and the"State Bar" are superior, cheaper, and show their prices.
great wee pub, brilliant atmosphere. good venue downstairs for alternative club nights and gigs. nice merchant city location.
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