Glasgow Music Spots Walking Tour, Glasgow

Glasgow Music Spots Walking Tour (Self Guided), Glasgow

For decades, Glasgow has been renowned as a stomping ground for both young and seasoned music bands. The variety of spots – from snug, unpretentious cubbyholes catering for small intimate gigs to huge arenas hosting the biggest names in business – are as an integral part of Glasgow's evolutionizing music scene as its musicians. And while Glaswegian accents have dominated international music halls, the city itself has turned into a melodious smorgasbord.

Here are some of Glasgow's top music haunts:

Barrowland Ballroom – a dance hall set in a delightfully aged building whose spark, accentuated now only by the famous, neon, star-clad sign, has never been extinguished since opening in 1934.

Old Fruitmarket – a legendary location for jazz, ceilidhs, rock, pop and other music, renowned for its enormous capacity and amazing acoustics; attached to the City Halls, was once a market filled with fruit until around the 1970s.

Mono Cafe Bar – a unique alternative to the usual music/food venue; hosts an independent record shop sporting all the good stuff, from vinyl records to CDs.

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – a cracking, hi-tech home base of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; also a playground for other genres like country, jazz, pop, and rock.

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Bar – named after the original King Tut's in NYC; a mandatory musical pilgrimage site well-known as a launch pad for some big name bands in the early days of their career.

The Garage – Scotland's largest nightclub; primarily known as a stepping-stone for bands attempting to make their way to the top.

If you take interest in the spots where music legends were formed and continue to be created, embark on this self-guided walking journey!
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Glasgow Music Spots Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Glasgow Music Spots Walking Tour
Guide Location: Scotland » Glasgow (See other walking tours in Glasgow)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: irenes
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Barrowland Ballroom
  • Old Fruitmarket
  • Mono Cafe Bar
  • Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
  • King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Bar
  • The Garage
Barrowland Ballroom

1) Barrowland Ballroom

The Barrowland Ballroom is an entertainment and music venue in the Calton district of Glasgow. Opened initially in 1934 by Maggie McIver, it was originally part of a mercantile zone. The name of the venue and the surrounding area is derived from the Glasgow Barrowland market. However, the original building was destroyed by fire in 1958, leading to a complete reconstruction and reopening on December 24, 1960. The Barrowland complex includes not only the famous ballroom but also large halls for weekend markets, with the ballroom itself located above, renowned for its distinctive animated neon sign.

Barrowland Ballroom has been an integral part of Glasgow's music scene, influencing various elements of popular culture and being referenced in songs by artists such as Amy Macdonald and Simple Minds. The venue's capacity is 1,900 for standing concerts, celebrated for its excellent acoustics and a unique sprung dance floor. Since 1983, it has mainly functioned as a concert venue.

The Barrowland Ballroom has a strong tradition of live music, hosting the Scottish Music Awards annually since 2020. Additionally, the Northern Irish punk band Stiff Little Fingers has performed sold-out concerts every Saint Patrick's Day since 1992 at Barrowland and recorded their "Best Served Loud" album there in 2016, marking 25 years at the venue.

The venue's cultural significance extends beyond music, having been featured in various films and television shows. Movies like "The Legend of Barry Thomson", "God Help The Girl", and the British crime TV series "The Field of Blood" have all used Barrowlands as a filming location, further cementing its status as an iconic element of Glasgow's cultural landscape.
Old Fruitmarket

2) Old Fruitmarket

The Fruitmarket has no fruit but it does have enormous capacity. It holds 1,525 people standing and 450 cabaret style, or 600 theatre style with 300 standing. There are bars within the venue and cafes outside.

There is one common entrance for both the Fruitmarket and City Halls. The old signs of the fruit merchants have been refurbished and hung about the hall. City Halls includes the Grand Hall, a 1,036 performance space since 1841. It is Glasgow's oldest dedicated performance and meeting space and home to BBC's Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Go through the doors of a civic center, then through another door. You are in an old wooden hall with empty fruit market stalls and amazing acoustics. Spoiler alert: there are no seats. You must stand, mostly. It's an adventure.
Mono Cafe Bar

3) Mono Cafe Bar

Mono Cafe Bar in Glasgow, opened in 2002, is a prime example of the city's lively and diverse culture. It's a special place that mixes a cafe with a music venue, providing a great mix of food, drinks, and entertainment. Mono focuses on being a friendly and open place, with strong values in ethical and community-based practices.

The main draw of Mono is its completely vegan menu that highlights fresh and tasty food. The kitchen staff makes all the food in-house, showing the great potential of vegan cooking. Their drink selection is also top-notch, focusing on beers and other beverages that go well with the food.

But Mono is more than just food and drinks. It's known for a wide range of events and has been a key spot for music lovers and the wider arts community for over 20 years. They've had all sorts of events like concerts with local and international bands, art shows, book readings, performances, and workshops. All these activities have made Mono a well-known spot in Glasgow's cultural scene, offering something for everyone's interests.
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

4) Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Longing to listen to some really good music or take in a ballet while you are in Glasgow? Then book your seats at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which stands on the junction of Buchannan and Sauchiehall Streets.

The hall was designed by Sir Leslie Martin and it opened its doors in 1990. It has many different concert rooms: the Main Auditorium is huge and seats 2475 concert-goers. A rubber skin sound-proofing system was built into the floor to keep out the noise from the underground train system that passes under the building.

The Strathclyde Suite seats 500; the Lomond Foyer, the Clyde Foyer and the Exhibition Hall each have seats for 300 people, while the Buchannan Suite holds 150. There is a VIP Room, a gift shop, five bars, the Encore Café, and the Green Room Restaurant, so you will have plenty to occupy you while waiting for the show to begin.

Although the hall is the home of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, it also puts on a variety of other music, including country, jazz, pop, and rock concerts. It also hosts ballets, opera, musical comedies, as well as non-musical events such as the Miss Scotland finals.

Why You Should Visit:
Best acoustic settings in Glasgow if not the UK – even drab gigs sound amazing!
Also remarkably intimate for its size.

If you are visiting in January/February time be sure to check out the Celtic Connections music festival which showcases Scottish and Irish music.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Bar

5) King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Bar

King Tut's got its name from the original King Tut's in New York City. The New York Tut's operated in the eighties and nineties on Avenue A on Manhattan's Lower East Side. It was a club and theater space and experimental venue. Glasgow's King Tut is a live music venue and bar. It carries on like the NY club but also in its own way.

It was started in the old Saints and Sinners club on Saint Vincent Street in Glasgow. The spark plug for this venture was Stuart Clumpas of DF Concerts fame. Clumpas wanted to have a platform for bands at the club level. He wanted to hold gigs seven days a week at earlier hours. It was impossible to find venues like that at the time in the city.

The club went open in 1990. It is known for backing bands new to Glasgow and Scotland. The Verve, Radiohead and Oasis have played at the venue in two week stands. The success and good name of King Tut's is based on their consistent backing of new talent.
The Garage

6) The Garage

This nightclub has been in operation for 15 years and is considered one of the top nightlife destinations in the city. It has gained popularity among renowned bands and DJs who often perform here. The establishment, known as The Garage (formerly The Mayfair), holds the distinction of being the largest nightclub in Scotland. Its main hall was originally the first Locarno ballroom in the UK, although it has since undergone remodeling with the addition of an extension to the mezzanine level.

The Garage is comprised of multiple rooms, each dedicated to different music genres, all conveniently located under one roof. The largest room, the Main Hall, plays chart-toppers and remixes, while G2 focuses on RnB hits. The Desperados bar offers cheesy and nostalgic tunes, and The Attic features indie and rock music. Additionally, there is a shot and cocktail bar situated at the back of the Desperados bar.

However, it's important to note that not all rooms are open every night of the week. On Friday and Saturday nights, the entire club is open for patrons to enjoy, but on quieter weekdays, only one or two rooms are typically accessible unless there's a special event happening.

As for the club's unique features, the main entrance boasts a distinctive design with a tractor cab projecting over the venue's doors. The Garage is primarily recognized as a venue for emerging bands aiming to climb the music industry ladder, similar to the now-unavailable O2 ABC Glasgow. Moreover, The Garage offers various rooms that can be rented for public events, including the Band Room, Lounge, Balcony, Cocktail Bar, Attic, and G2. They have the capacity to accommodate over 300 people or provide smaller, exclusive spaces for private parties.

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