Glasgow, Scotland, is an up-and-coming destination for food and drink travelers. Between traditional Scottish food and international cuisine, there’s a little something for everyone. For many travelers, though, they want to learn about the water of life while visiting Glasgow. In this Glasgow whisky guide, we share our top tips for whisky tasting in Glasgow. This includes the best pubs in town for tastings and distilleries to visit in the city and near Glasgow.
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Why Plan A Whisky Trip To Glasgow
Every scotch whisky lover should plan a whisky trip to Scotland. Even if you don’t have the time to explore the country in search of the perfect dram, Glasgow is a perfect place to plan your own scotch-focused city break.
It’s easy to go whisky tasting in Glasgow city centre and there are opportunities to visit distilleries in the city or nearby. Even though there aren’t as many distilleries in Glasgow as there once were, the city has a history that is intertwined with the water of life.
The 7 Best Whisky Bars In Glasgow
When I started researching whisky bars in Glasgow, a handful of names kept coming up. We also received some recommendations from Scottish friends as well as other friends who travel for food and drink.
We visited a handful of these pubs to conduct our own little whisky tasting experiences. We also found a hidden gem that was not on anyone else’s list of where to taste whisky in Glasgow. These bars are open from noon to midnight seven days a week.
The Pot Still
An institution for tasting whisky in Glasgow, with over 700 bottles on hand. Although The Pot still doesn’t offer whisky flights the bartenders are uber knowledgeable and can put a flight together for you. During lunch, they offer warm, homemade meat pies as well.
The location started as a spirits shop in 1867. Although it’s gone through various owners over the decades and various iterations, it’s family-owned and traditional feeling for sure.
The Pot Still, 154 High Street, located just a few blocks west of George Square
Glasgow Whisky Pro Tip
In the US, most liquors are served in one-ounce portions. The British measurements are different and lighter on the pour. A dram is about 1/8th of an ounce. Yes, that’s small in comparison but after all a dram is meant to be a wee bit.
The Bon Accord
Certainly the farthest thing from a touristy-whisky bar in Glasgow as it is set just off the main highway. The McDonagh family has run the Scottish pub for the last 17 years.
They offer an extensive menu until 8 pm each night. As much as they started as a pub for quality food and real Scottish ale, they started to cultivate a quality, small whisky menu and never stopped. They offer some of the top drams in the county, a few of which cost £1000 each.
The Bon Accord, 153 North Street, is located along the M8 ring road that circles the city. It’s a good walk from the city center, but a good “technical stop” on the way to or from the West End, Finnieston, or Kelvinbridge.
The Ben Nevis Bar
Located in the West End in Finnieston, The Ben Nevis is a must-visit stop before or after dinner at one of the trendy restaurants in the neighborhood. It feels a little more refined than the Pot Still, and is much smaller than the Bon Accord.
Check out some of the shelves behind the bar that seem to defy gravity. The Ben Nevis hosts traditional Scottish music sessions Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday starting at 9 pm, which is a real treat.
The Ben Nevis, 1147 Argyle Street, was once considered one of Glasgow’s best-kept secrets it seems everyone in the know talks about The Ben Nevis for its collection of whiskies.
Òran Mór has to get points for the unique location for whisky pubs in Glasgow. Located in an old church, they currently share their space with a theater and event space. It’s a large pub with outdoor seating just in front of the church facade.
They offer a wide variety of whiskies, but their staff might not be as knowledgeable as some of the other recommended whisky bars on this list.
Òran Mór, Top of Byres Road, located in the former Kelvinside Parish Church across from the Glasgow botanical garden.
Claiming to be the oldest pub in Scotland, the Scotia in the East End is a real hidden gem. Although they only have about 50 whisky offerings, their staff is very knowledgeable. Most important, their pricing is some of the lowest in the city.
It’s the perfect destination for people who might not be uber-knowledgeable about whisky but want to taste some traditional whiskies from around the country. They have whiskies from all of the Scotch whisky regions.
The Scotia, 112 Stockwell Street, ask for Ryan, a real doll who can walk you through the entire menu.
Hutchesons City Grill
Known more for its restaurant and high-society feel, this is one of the places to go in Glasgow if you want to drink whisky in style. Or, ask one of their expert mixologists to put together the perfect cocktail. They are also located in a stunning historic building in Glasgow’s City Centre.
Hutchesons City Grill, 158 Ingram Street, the City Grill is where to go for dinner and the 158 Club Lounge is for cocktails. Whisky is served at both.
Another posh location on Ingram Street. Many of the old bank buildings in Glasgow’s City Centre have been turned into clubs, restaurants, and hotels. The Corinthian is one of these buildings. Prepare to feel like you’ve stepped back in time with glass ceilings and ornate decor under a 26-foot-high dome.
Built in 1842, the Corinthian prides itself on keeping as much of the original architecture as they could. They also pride themselves on their whisky list and cocktail menu. I enjoyed a gin and tonic here, but it’s a must-visit place for whisky too.
The Corinthian, 191 Ingram Street, with a casino, rooftop terrace, private event space, and a bar and brasserie.
Tour A Whisky Distillery In Glasgow – The Clydeside Distillery
Glasgow’s history is intertwined with the history of scotch whisky. The docks on The Clyde River were the departure point for barrels destined to the far corners of the world. In the 1800s, there were several whisky distilleries in Scotland as well as whisky blenders.
Over the years, as the city became more international and cosmopolitan, all of the distilleries closed. In 2017, though, the Morrison family established the Clydeside Distillery in a historic location on the banks of the Clyde River.
The Clydeside is the only whisky distillery located within the city limits. They offer a variety of tours, tastings, and events. Their Glasgow whisky distillery tour is unique for a few reasons.
First, because they are a new distillery, it is going to take a few more years before you can taste a dram of Clydeside. Visitors can see the distillation process, including the still room, which has an unrivaled view over the Clyde River.
Their tasting focuses on how to taste whisky, which is a great way to learn from a professional. They also offer a whisky and chocolate tasting in a small room again with a view over the river. The chocolates are produced by a local, artisan chocolatier and are paired with whiskies from around the country.
How To Experience The Clydeside Glasgow Distillery Tour
We visited Clydeside from the city center and took an Uber for only £7. They are also a stop on the red Glasgow City Sightseeing Bus. Tastings and tours should be booked ahead. The Clydeside also has a little cafe for snacks and lunch, which is a good option for visitors to the nearby museums. And, even if you don’t book a tour, visitors can order a whisky tasting flight to try a few drams from distillers across the country. Book A Tour At Clydeside Distillery Here
Whisky Distilleries Near Glasgow Scotland
There are over 100 distilleries in Scotland. More than half of them are located in Moray Speyside, on the banks of the Spey River. We spent most of our recent trip to Scotland exploring the food and drink in Moray Speyside. We also visited a good number of distilleries while there. There are other options for travelers who are focused on a Scotland city break to have a similar experience.
Because of Glasgow’s relatively central location, there are a handful of scotch distilleries near Glasgow that can be visited on a day trip from the city.
Auchentoshan Distillery Tour – Lowland Whisky
Auchentoshan Distillery is classified as a Lowland Distillery in the scotch whisky regions. The distillery is only located about 10 miles from the city center. They offer tours, tastings, and whisky master classes.
Auchentoshan, Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire. Can be accessed from the Kilpatrick or Dalmuir train stations. The entry-level Auchentoshan tour costs £10. Learn more here.
Glengoyne Distillery Tour – Highland Whisky
There are a few dozen Highland whisky distilleries, one of which is only a short drive from Glasgow. The distillery is only 15 miles north of the city center. Glengoyne Distillery offers a variety of tours and tastings, including chocolate and whisky tasting and a blending experience.
Glengoyne, Dumgoyne. The easiest way to visit is by renting a car to get up there although there is a train and bus combination as well, which takes a little more than an hour. The Glengoyne Highland whisky tour starts at £11.50. Learn more here.
Other Whisky Distilleries Near Glasgow
There are a few more distilleries that are a bit farther afield. They can still be reached during a day trip, but a car is the best way to visit. The Deanston Distillery is less than 35 miles from Glasgow. It’s located on the River Teith. The nearest station is Dunblane. The Tullibardine is about 40 miles from Glasgow. It is located between Stirling and Perth, and the nearest station is Gleneagles.
Or, for a full-day trip, check out the Isle of Arran Distillers. Be rewarded with a distillery tour after a drive and ferry combination out to Brodick. Or, there is a train, ferry, and bus combination, which takes about three hours. It’s also a great way to see the Scottish countryside.
FAQS – WHISKY TASTING IN GLASGOW SCOTLAND
Yes, each November Glasgow hosts top distillers in a one-day event for whisky aficionados.
Find more whisky tours on Viator here.
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Glasgow Whisky Guide – How To Drink Whisky In Glasgow
We loved Glasgow so much we are thinking about renting an apartment there for a month next summer. And, it’s more than just the whisky. There’s a whole craft beer scene we would love to explore plus great international cuisine. Glasgow is often overlooked in favor of Edinburgh or the Highlands, but it should bee on anyone’s food and drink destination bucket list. Cheers!