Head here if… you’re looking for the most fabulous eating and drinking spot in Glasgow
There are not many venues that could lure us away from London but this one manages to do just that. It’s not the best cocktail bar in the world but the setting knocks spots off the rest…
First Things First
A world away from the ‘two-for-the-price-of-one’ and ‘theme’ bars that seem to abound in this part of Glasgow is this haven of refinement and restfulness. Like Lord and Lady Muck we instantly felt at home, taking to the all-round gracefulness like ducks to water. We had to tear ourselves away from our sumptuous suite to descend one of the many grand staircases but our efforts were rewarded with an extremely sumptuous bar. What bliss! As we sank into our pick of sofas we found it hard to decide whether to drink in our surroundings or get down to the serious business of the drinks menu. Dividing to conquer Ms S took care of the former while Mr G set about the latter.
A little about those surroundings. This particular Hotel Du Vin has been created from a sensitive conversion of five massive, very striking townhouses which manage to combine historical opulence with just the right amount of contemporary chic. Trust us, it’s all very gracious and wouldn’t look out of place in an Elle Deco spread. However, the room manages to retain an inviting and comfortable feel, thanks to the vast expanse of drapes and abundant cushions, not to mention the use of lush, sink-into textures like rich velvets, suede and super-soft leather. Now, to that drinks menu… As you would expect from the hotel’s name the focus here is very much on wine but the short cocktail list more than stands up for itself in this illustrious company.
You know how it is: sometimes you’re so smitten by your surroundings you’d forgive quite a lot. Average drinks among them. That’s how Ms S felt even before sipping her cocktail. But she needn’t have worried. After enquiring about the Signature, she was asked her drink preferences and an Apple & Basil Martini was deemed the perfect match. After offering a silent ‘hallelujah’ for presentation and taste, Ms S commented on the fact that this lightly fragranced concoction made the perfect pre-dinner drink as it wouldn’t interfere with any overpowering foodie flavours.
As we would have hoped from such a grand hotel this was a pretty good martini. Not exciting but a pleasantly agreeable and well mixed drink. Having been offered a choice of gins including Tanqueray No. Ten Mr G opted for a French gin which promised to sit happily with its compatriot Noilly Prat. He watched as it was mixed slowly and thoughtfully arriving good and cold, sporting an elegant rectangle of lemon. The first sensation brought a gentle and pleasing citrus aroma, but more surprising was the first taste. Almost a little sweet from perhaps a tad too much vermouth it felt rather like drinking a conventional aperitif. This could have proved disappointing but it was quickly followed by a strong, long gin finish. All in all a solid pre-dinner martini.
As we’ve already mentioned this particular Hotel du Vin offers quite a short cocktail list. Although it holds its own in terms of Classics it isn’t the place to discover the new or unusual. So both Ms S and Mr G took their lead from the gloomy Glasgow weather and opted for the warming characteristics of an Old Fashioned. Mr G was pleased to find that it was mixed carefully and very, very slowly as an Old Fashioned should be. After her first sip Ms S just smiled that smile of the pleasantly contented.
And To Eat?
Whether or not you’re staying at the hotel do yourself a favour and try the wonderful creations in the restaurant. It’s not one of the cheapest places we’ve eaten in but it is up there with the best. God, it’s good. Clearly the chef is in hot pursuit of a Michelin star and based on our exquisite meal you wouldn’t bet against him grabbing it. However, back in the bar for a second evening we also checked out the bar menu. We’d just returned from an unsuccessful trip in search of other local drink venues and were really glad to escape the rain and discover an emphasis on comfort food such as good old BLTs and omelettes. We both zoned in on the succulent burgers and were pleased to find them simple and tasty, providing the perfect accompaniments to our Old-Fashioneds.
Look Out For
We could go on and on about the many delights of this wonderful hotel but for the sake of space, we’ll restrict ourselves to two. Firstly, the spectacular paintings of wine bottles. Measuring about two metres high by a metre wide these hyper-realistic oils adorn not only the walls of the bar but all of the rooms as well (each is named after individual wine varieties available to order in the bar and with your food). Were they life-sized studies you probably wouldn’t give them a second glance but their impressive scale adds drama and a welcome touch of humour. The other individual, well thought out touch to look out for is the outdoor humidor. Turning the whole indoor smoking ban on its head, the hotel has created a space in its garden which manages to feel like a smart take on an old-school smoking room while still being semi-exposed. Two walls and a vast canopy welcome you to yet more sofas and an open fire. And thanks to an extremely efficient extractor fan this space is equally accommodating for non-smokers who just want to enjoy their drinks in the open air.
What’s The Damage
£8.50 or so which is more than most of the bars in Glasgow but less than you’d expect for the same calibre and surroundings in London.
Ms S says:
This is a bar for sinking into the squidgy sofas and spending a bit of quality time – definitely not a quickie cocktail. It’s not the liveliest bar in Glasgow but it’s certainly one of the most refined – very ladylike.
One Devonshire Gardens, Glasgow G12 0UX. T: 0141 339 2001 Find it here