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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan



36 Bell Street, Glasgow. G1 1LG.Tel: 0141 552 5924.


Blackfriars. 1991.

Blackfriars was opened in 1995 and is well established now in the Merchant City. The pub has several awards for music and this year won pub of the year from CAMBRA. The pub has a good selection of real ale in great condition.

Black Friars 2005

Blackfriars. 2005.


In the News 1978...

Bell Geordie advert 1978

Candleriggs Comes Alive...

Normally I don't walk the length of myself if I can help it. But recently I've found myself heading for Candleriggs more frequently. For Candleriggs, perhaps one of Glasgow's less busy areas seems to have taken on a new lease of life, over the past year with businesses sprouting up with increasing regularity.

Dyer Interiors for instance, have a new showroom there, full of curtain materials and carpet samples all being sold at discount prices. Curtains are made up at the firm's Anniesland factory and normally take about two weeks to complete.

They have a special American machine at their factory which can give your curtains a pinch pleat effect. Managing director Mr Jim Dyer was so keen about this machine that he travelled all the way to California to get it.

Health is big business these days, and with this in mind, Alex McGregor, a fourth Dan Karate instructor, has opened the Exclusive Sauna at 89 Candleriggs. It's a luxury club, open to men only, which offers everything for the man who likes to keep himself in trim.


Apart from the sauna, there are showers, lounge with TV and stereo, luxury recliners and if desired, a soothing massage. Free coffee is also available. The Sauna has gymnasium equipment, where you can lose a bit of that pent-up energy you've built up during your working day.

It's only five months since Mr Jim McGavock opened his restaurant and lounge bar, the Bell Geordie, at 36 Bell Street just off the Candleriggs. Mr McGavock reports that business is doing well. Bell Geordie was called after an 18th century Glasgow character, and the decor in the pub is on traditional lines.

Bell Geordie's menu is really superb. It has a wide selection of mainly British and Italian dishes and has already gained something of a reputation for its steaks.

By the way, MrJim McGavock plans to make his restaurant available for private functions every night of the week except Friday and Saturday. They can even cater for functions on Sundays, if necessary.


In the NEWS 1978...

Bell Geordie exterior 1978

Exterior view of the new lounge bar and restaurant "Bell Geordie."

A Pub with Character...

I thought my colleague Jack House knew most about the history of Glasgow, but I've just met a man who could prove a bit of a rival.

He is Mr Jim McGavock. So keen is he on Glasgow and its history that he has used it as the theme for the decor in his new lounge bar and restaurant in Bell Street.

The lounge and restaurant are called Bell Geordie, after an eighteenth century character, George Gibson, an assistant bell ringer who was eventually dismissed from his job for accusing the city's magistrates of corruption.

Portraits of George and other well-known characters from the Trongate area of the city appear on the windows of the pub and also on some beautiful mirrors decorating the interior.

"The Trongate in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was full of characters. There were people like Hawkie, a kind of street poet, and Hirstling Kate, who was so crippled that she used two tiny stools to get around," Mr McGavock told me.

As my new pub and restaurant is near the Trongate I thought it would be apt to acknowledge the characters in some way."

Bell Geordie interior

Celebrating the opening of the "Bell Geordie" (left to right): Waitress Irene Newlands, Glen Daly, Mr Jim McGavock and his wife Frances, Mrs Alice McGavock (his mother) and waitress Anne Ryan. 1978.


Bell Geordie is Mr McGavock's first venture into the entertainment business. He already runs a successful electrical contracting business in the city. With the new complex he is hoping to cater for all tastes whether it's a business man looking for a quick snack at lunchtime or a couple wanting a quiet evening meal.

It is also ideal for people attending concerts at the City Halls.


Certainly the Bell Geordie's a la carte menu is superb. It has a wide selection of mainly British and Italian dishes including home-made pate, smoked salmon and seafood salad as starters, and a choice of steaks, veal, and venison, cooked in various sauces, for the main course.

What was particularly appealing about the menu is that the main course includes a choice of potatoes and vegetables. There are no nasty hidden extras.

A comprehensive wine list is also available. Business men's lunches will be served in the restaurant at a cost, Mr McGavock hopes, of about £1.50 but it you don't feel like a full meal bar snacks are available in the lounge.

Jim McGavock has spent a lot of money on Bell Geordie. The premises were originally a large butcher's shop which had to be completely gutted. Now both the lounge and restaurant are warm and comfortable.

The mirrors add an original touch to the place and that combined with soft background music makes Bell Geordie an ideal place to spend an evening. Bell Geordie is open seven days a week and closes at midnight.

In the NEWS 1983...

Rockwells Bell Street 1983

The Bell Geordie closed and reopened as Rockwells a 1950s / 60s American Bar in 1983. Rony Bridge and Nino Verrico celebrated their new-look bar, with friends Elaine Barton and Carolyn Lynch.


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