Speciality Coffee Cafes and Beer Bars



My not so guilty pleasure is grabbing a coffee and a cake at a cosy café. Luckily, Glasgow provides me with a lot of specialty coffee bars. I fit perfectly into the group that by academia is named as creative or cognitive cultural class: highly educated and occupied with a creative or managerial job. They are – or I am – part of a wider process of gentrification: the upgrading of neighbourhoods in value and amenities through regeneration. Since I am exploring urban life, I recently developed an internal conflict. Inevitably I am more or less part of the ‘gentrifiers’, but I am also aware of the negative effects of this process. In this column, I will elaborate on this internal conflict.


Wherever you go in whatever city, you will find clues that lead you to areas that are showcases of the creative culture. Some cities try explicitly to attract people that are part of this development. If you believe Richard Florida, the creative class will lead the pack to a flourishing urban economy. Explaining this theory is beyond the scope of this column, so I will give a few examples of how the hipster culture can be recognised in Glasgow, and elaborate on its implications.


The creative class wants to distinguish itself. A lot of studies and theories around the concept of distinction exist, for example by Bourdieu. The most obvious ways in which distinction can be achieved, is in behaviour in general and in consumption patterns in particular. The places of consumption where this group in society likes to drink coffee or sip their beer can often be labelled with A-words: authentic, artisanal and artistic.


How do we distinguish the creative café from the ordinary bar? Often craftsmanship is highly valued in these places: the beer cafes have their own beer brand, and the coffee shops have a range of choices in coffee beans and specials. Your coffee is often finished with a nice figure in your milk foam, such as a leaf or a heart or even more complicated ones. Glasgow houses a lot of these kinds of places of consumption. On many occasions, to enjoy a coffee or a beer in those establishments is more about the spot than about a person’s knowledge about the products.


A city is obviously not hipster proof if it doesn’t host a specialty coffee festival. And that is what Glasgow has had over the last few years. The Glasgow Coffee Festival is dedicated to the celebration of the growing vibrant Scottish specialty coffee scene. The amount of adverbs is often a clue to creativity. The venue where this festival took place is indicative for the authentic component that is part of the hipster culture: the old Glasgow fish market. Bars and cafes readily adopt an industrial feel to their businesses, to add some authenticity to their brand. This sometimes clashes with the individuality that these establishments are trying to achieve, because in the end they all seem to look alike.


The problematic part of it all is the fact that cities and their governing bodies see the attraction of a creative class as a problem solving mechanism for a lot of societal problems. But it seems to deny the fact that society exists of a lot more groups than the creative, who deserve equal attention and amenities in every area. Amsterdam for example is so successful in attracting an affluent creative or middle class, that the inner city is becoming more and more expensive to live in for the average citizen. And London has also had an uprising against a ‘hipster café’. A process of displacement that leads towards a homogeneous population in certain neighbourhoods is taking place. And that is dangerous in a way, because some parts of the city are not perceived as accessible for every resident. Although I love my coffee, and Glasgow isn’t and may never end up the way Amsterdam has, it is good to be aware of your behavioural choices and how they influence urban life. Societal balance must not get lost.


By Rosa de Jong

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Glasgow Vintage Festival 27th-28th July

Soul Casino will be in full swing on Saturday 27th

This weekend time will be rewound. As part of the Merchant City Festival  Wayne & Geraldine Hemingway are bringing  their Vintage festival to Glasgow with a program celebrating and emulating the cream of British 20th century popular culture.

Filled with a series of daily classes, pop-up shops and special one off events including the Vintage Charleston Brunch, visitors can explore fashion, art, beauty, food and dance of eras bygone. While many vintage and retro events struggle to rise beyond  half-hearted nostalgia for twee  tea dresses and scooters, the Vintage festival has an excellent record of creating an authentic, exciting experience for visitors of any age.

The festival is also offering a series of vintage themed club nights including Soul Casino on Saturday night, transforming the Old Fruitmarket into a celebration of 70s soul and 80s disco from 8pm-1am.

Book tickets and find out more here.



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Chillies West End: Food Review

GUM was delighted to be invited to Chillies West End, an exciting Indian located on Woodlands Road, to promote the new student deal they have just launched. The invitation coincided nicely with our new food and drink section, which seeks to promote affordable dining for all us broke foodies out there. The deal sees students walk out with 10% off all sit-in meals from Sunday to Thursday, and 10% off take-away throughout the week. A valid student card must be shown on order.

On entering Chillies one is greeted with a warm decor with dark woods and brick inlays offering a casual yet chic ambience. The open kitchen particularly grabbed my attention given the energetic cooking style Indian cuisine offers. The staff were friendly and prompt, with our waiter gladly offering suggestions and explanations of the origin of certain dishes as we sat down to order.The venue has a BYOB policy, but on the occasion that you decide not to drink the smoothies and lassi’s are exceptional. We ordered a mango lassi and a pineapple and ginger smoothie to start, the aforementioned being rich and bursting with flavour, and the smoothie wonderfully balanced with a good kick of ginger. They were so good we ordered a third smoothie with the unusual combination of banana, pistachio and yoghurt, which didn’t disappoint.



The starters offer a range of tastes and textures with a varied origin. The Desi Chilli Puri, the combination of spiced chickpeas on a crunchy pancake was well balanced with the tart mixed pickle. This was followed by two standout dishes, the house speciality of Charcoal lamb Chop, chargrilled with a warm heat cooked in a traditional tandoori oven. It is the chef’s own recipe which draws from North Indian cuisine that is characteristically more dry than the curries we normally associate with Indian here in the UK.

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Bar Soba Byres Road – Review

After 12 successful years at Mitchell Lane in the Glasgow city centre, it’s time for pan-Asian restaurant Bar Soba to take on the West End. GUM headed down to the launch party to check out this new addition to the already restaurant dense Byres Road. Situated just below University Avenue, at the site of what used to be cocktail bar The Blind Pig, Bar Soba is just around the corner from the university. With a trendy interior, drink promos and discounts, it is clear that Bar Soba seeks to appeal to the student crowd. Deals worth checking out is their 2 for 1 mains for students, Monday to Thursday before 5pm and the all day Sunday to Wednesday drinks promos which include Stoli, Beefeater, Havana and Jim Bean + mix at £2, a pint of Carling at £2 and Apple and Ginger Mojito at £3.

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Bar Soba – a review

I’m no Asian food expert. In fact, my ventures into that culinary territory are limited to an occasional Chinese take-out and the one-off trip to Yo-Sushi! – inevitably reflected in my handling of chop-sticks, which comes close to resembling a circus performance. But things might very well be on the cusp of change, after being invited to attend Bar Soba’s Christmas Menu launch. Right now, it is true, my mind could not be further away from thinking of festivities amidst a whirlwind of uni work and essay deadlines, but seeing as we’re talking Asian fusion cooking, it was inevitably going to be Christmas food with a twist – something, I feel, I’d quite happily tackle at any time of the year.

Admittedly not your “241 burger” or “lunch for £3.95” deal, Bar Soba – tucked away at the foot of The Lighthouse – is nevertheless within the student price-range with a 2-course lunch for £9.95 or sushi plates starting at £2.75. Following a prosecco welcome, Wednesday evening’s event saw us tasting a range of Asian canapes: from duck gyozas dipped in plum sauce to the more adventurous small toasts of Korean chicken with pear on a bed of rocket, or sticky tempura prawn balancing on sweet chilli & coriander mayo. All this was rounded off nicely by a mini Um-Bongo cocktail and a Thai massage that sent everyone reeling home to bed, full, content and sleepy. In any case it was proof that Bar Soba can do food tantalising to the taste-buds, and that their Christmas menu boasting the likes of Cinnamon and Plum Duck Confit should be a good’un. Disappearing down Mitchell Lane for the space of an hour or two is therefore well worth a shot.

Review by: Ginger Clark

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Preview: Royal Hen-Doo @Corinthian, this Saturday


Yasmin Ali

Workers all around the country have planned days-out for the extra day off to celebrate the Royal Wedding. An events company in Glasgow has planned celebrations the week prior with its ‘Royal Hen-Doo’ – aright royal mix of pamper treatments, afternoon tea, a party and even a sit-down dinner – all included in one ticket for just £30!

The event sees top bar The Corinthian and new club Chambre69 join forces for a day and night to remember, with spa treatments, champagne, chocolates, High Tea, dinner, dancing and more!

Limited tickets are available from 5pm website here.

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Dinner, Drag and Desserts
Picture Credits: Arches PR

Dinner, Drag and Desserts

Photo Credit: Niall Walker

Photo Credit: Niall Walker

Yasmin Ali

Glasgow-based thespian Adrian Howells has temporarily re-branded The Arches Restaurant until end November as his alter ego’s ‘Adrienne’s Bar and Grill’. This was an extension from Howel’s theatre performance as part of the IETM Biennal Plenary Glasgow voices Artistic Programme, which featured 3 day run of live show ‘An Audience with Adrienne‘, with frank conversation, friendly banter and parlour games, served up tea and sympathy in Adrienne’s living room.

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