Pub Crawls, Part 1: Subcrawl

A series of posts on pub crawls in the fine city of Glasgow could not be started with anything other than the mighty Subcrawl. Otherwise known as the Clockwork Orange, it’s a bit of a big one.

For those who have never heard of it (or been to Glasgow), the premise is simple: Glasgow has a 15 stop, circular underground. The idea is to get off at every stop, go to the nearest pub and have a drink. A great way of getting the full flavour of Glasgow (seeing pubs all over the place), but with some problems.

First, you should aim to clear Govan, Ibrox and Kinning Park as quickly as possible. Not the best of areas, especially for non-regulars or tourists. Secondly, you miss the East End, Merchant City, and some other nice areas of the city. Not that the Subcrawl will give you a chance for sightseeing, since you’ll be rushing around the underground.

The whole thing takes up to 10 hours (for large groups, with a food stop) so will wipe out an entire day from pub opening, but well worth the effort.

  1. Neil’s avatar

    As someone who has succesfully completed the SubCrawl twice I feel obliged to offer some advice…

    Start at Times Square in St Enoch as early as possible. Best idea is to start as soon as it opens, about half eleven. Drink your first pint in no more than twenty minutes and then leave, buy your discovery ticket and start out going Clockwise.

    Next up is Bridge Street.. the nearesst pub is The Glaswegian. It’s, um, a bit of a Rangers pub.. the staff have Rangers logos on their shirts and the place is covered in banners and flags and stuff. I’d recommend drinking a pint of Tennents or McEwens as otherwise you’ll be laughed at… I had to order cider here once and was given some nasty looks. If anyone can explain the meaning of the “Vietnam Loyal” Rangers flag I’d be quite grateful.

    The next stop is West Street… you WILL argue here. The nearest pub is the Lord Nelson and it’s a good 15 mins walk from the station. Most people elect either to take a drink at the Laureiston in Bridge Street or to drink two at the next stop (The Honours Three in Shields Road.. nice pub).

    I’ll condense the next few stops..

    Kinning Park = another Rangers bar… very small and if it’s busy it can be mildly scary. There’s usually just two guys at the bar harassing the barmaid though.

    Cessnock = Not much to say really.. except the first time I was here some guy wheeled over his friend’s wheelchair (with friend still in it) and just dumped it at our table so we had the pleasure of chatting to some drunk old perv for twenty minutes. Also I burst a pink giraffe balloon animal in here once and they didn’t seem to like it… shame.

    Ibrox = EEK! The Ibrox Bar can be mildly scary.. lsat time I was here I accidentally knocked over a chair which broke but I quickly fixed. I then went to the toilet and came out to find all my friends absent and a broken glass on the floor. Mix-up in communication leading to someone breaking a glass, apologising at the bar and everyone else thinking we were going to get slashed.

    About now, you’ll feel a little bit tipsy… but you’re last than half way round. Long ways to go yet.

    Govan = Horrible decorations.. scary people. I once endured fifteen minutes of dancing from Auntie Mary from Upper Cessnock (“I’m no a billy I’m a tim” “Guess what age I am?” “40?” “Nah, 57!”). Erotic.

    Partick = Back to “civilisation”… the pub on the left on Dunbarton Road has Dominoes if you’re interested.

    NOTE About now the bonds of friendship will become severely strained… people will start to drift off now. They’re weak, let them go.

    Kelvinhall = Time for your first food break! Blue Lagoon.. you’ll need it. Plenty of pubs to choose from.

    Hillhead = Ah, students returning home… I like Jinty’s here but went to the Loft last time.

    Kelvinbridge = you MUST, MUST run up the Escalator the wrong way. Then go to the Doublet.. good pub. It was here that I switched from pints to spirits last time. 35ml measures.. but you HAVE to have a double. SubCrawl rules. They also have bottles of soft drink on the bar rather than out of a gun.

    St Georges Cross = Liquid Ship’s a good bet from here…

    Cowcaddens = Yeah, fine..

    Buchanan St.. final stop! I like to go to Waxy’s here. If you’re lucky one of you will still have the power of speech and able to order the round.

    Now go to Pizza Crolla and have some food.

    Those brave souls should now attempt to get into a club.. if you do, here’s some advice courtesy of my friend Gus. When the bouncer asks you how many you’ve had to drink it is NOT clever to say “FIFTEEN”. Gus knew this. Gus thought “I’d best knock a few pints off” and said “ELEVEN”. Bouncer laughs… we try the next club. Gus thinks “Hmm, eleven didn’t work” and says “JUST THE EIGHT PINTS” when again asked how much he’s had to drink. D’oh.

    I realise this is far too long.. if you’re still reading, sorry.

  2. Jocky’s avatar

    I consider myself a veteran- I first subcrawled in 2001, and averaged about one a year since. The best one was when we caught up on a group of 30-odd Glasgow uni students, all wearing yellow T-shirts, just in time to molest them at Fat Boab’s in St Enochs as we closed the circle.

    Neil’s given a pretty decent summary of events- but be warned, the Honours Three on Shields Road is now a restaurant/cocktail bar- it’s table service and a round of drinks is expensive. If you started at St Enochs, it’s all good- a decent cocktail will kick start the messiness nicely. If you started in the West End, will they agree to serve you? Will you ever leave? I dunno.

    The Star Bar (turn left out of West Street) is not worth the walk. Yes it sells three course lunches from £2.20, but unless you set off on time you won’t have time to spare for a three course meal, especially when the pudding is either ice cream, semolina or jelly, and the starter is always tomato soup. Go to the Lord Nelson instead (turn right out of West Street) and embrace the friendliest Rangers pub on the south side- a cult student classic for its 8am opening time and matey-harsh atmos.

    Last but not least, start early- if you don’t leave by lunch time, you’ll spend the rest of the way round faffing about and telling each other to drink up, rather than chilling out. And leave plenty of time for swingparks (Kinning Park and Kelvinbridge) and kebabs (Cessnock, Kelvinhall… maybe Cowcaddens but I’ve never been sober enough to notice if there’s a kebab shop there or I just imagined it).

  3. Peter’s avatar

    I heard that Sub Crawls are now banned!

    Still me and various mates and relatives are doing half a crawl (the North half) on Saturday 23rd January.

    Thanks for the tips!

  4. Aaron’s avatar

    Bus beats the subway every time!

  5. Wulllie’s avatar

    How can a Subcrawl be banned? Who banned them?

  6. Gillian’s avatar

    The police tried to ban the Subcrawl because two groups of people (rather dodgy) went opposite ways, met in the middle when they were half cut and decided to have a big fight! This does ruin it for us Subcrawl regulars who like to do the 15 stops and have a laugh on the way! It isn’t banned and they will never be able to ban them but if the police approach you just say you are getting the underground home after a few fine ales – they should leave you alone :)

  7. begby’s avatar

    Hi there,Im looking to do a crawl/treasure hunt based on the sub-crawl although I like decent beers/ales, could you suggest some decent ber pubs to visit on a Saturday mroning/afternoon? I want to set off from George square or a decent ale pub in town at 11am and be back around the same area around 4ish, any ideas? Cheers. begby

  8. Marie Claire’s avatar

    I’ve only done the subcrawl once and ended up spending way too long (given the time limits) at a bar in Kinning Park singing Karoke with the owner and his sister! Might’ve just been good timing but just thought I should point out its not as bad as it seems…

  9. Stevie’s avatar

    Just a further tip…when making your way round, it’s best to try and not get on the bad side of the staff. These people are your gatekeepers. Nonsense like running up escalators the wrong way is likely to get you chucked from the station. Heed my words, and have fun.

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