When you’re looking to make the most of everyday life, it is best to keep things simple and the Get Around Glasgow team is as simple as it gets. With respect to pubs, there are a few things that we like, including:
A range of craft beers
The option to watch football if there is a game on
The option to have food, even if we often forget!
There are elements like decent music, comfortable surroundings and friendly bar staff that can add to your day or night out but the top three factors rank fairly highly in deciding if a pub is decent for us or not.
Quite often there is a trade-off to make and it depends on what factor is most important at that time.
If there is a game we’re meeting up for, seeing the screen will come out on top over the craft beer selection. If we are out for a while and want to catch up, the choice of beers will be much more important. We apply a horses for courses approach to pubs…and when it comes to food, that means finding a pub that doesn’t serve horses for courses. (Are people still making horsemeat jokes? Anyways.)
While there are times when a trade-off is required, there are some times you want it all. Why shouldn’t you watch the football with a great beer with some decent food to soak it up? We’ve really liked going to Munros on Great Western Road of late. Plenty of screens, a great range of beers and lagers, value for money food and the bar staff seem pretty knowledgeable and friendly. They’ve even had a mate of ours DJing on some nights so all in all, that’s a bar that ticks plenty of boxes for us.
The news that the people behind Munro’s are opening up a new bar on Renfield Street (81-85 Renfield Street, the site of the former Bay Horse pub) got us excited and we were delighted to be asked along to check out The Raven. Maclay Inns is the company behind these bars, and a total of 31 pubs and inns across the country. You may have visited The Hope in town, The Lee at the top edge of the city centre or even The Clockwork on the south side. Clearly there is a common thread to these bars but they are all different in their own right. The Raven is due to open on Wednesday the 25th of June.
A bar to watch sports in but not a sportsbar
As a big city centre pub, The Raven offers something different. As a quick overview, you can probably think of it as a sports bar without any of the negative connotations you may have of a Glasgow sports bar. There are no pool cues to worry about in here. Yes, there are 11 screens in the venue and they will be able to show different channels at the same time but it doesn’t strike you as the sort of place that will get dragged down into being like a Walkabout or a Campus. Rather than a sports bar, it may be better to consider The Raven as a bar for people to watch sports in. If you’re looking to appeal to stereotypical sports fans, you probably don’t name the bar after an Edgar Allan Poe poem.
As for the beers, they gave us everything we were looking for. There was Caesar Augustus from the Williams Bros. on tap (along with guests, which including Camden Hells when we were in) and there will also be Deuchars as a permanent fixture, along with other guest ales. If you prefer a more standard pint don’t fret, they still have Tennents, Estrella, Heverlee, Guinness, Magners and Caledonia on draught as well. Bottles included Camden Town’s Gentleman’s Wit, the Shoreditch Blonde from Redchurch Brewery, St Mungos from WEST, Birds & Bees from Williams Bros. and a whole lot more. The Railway Porter from London brewer Five Points was a very pleasant surprise and that’s one I’ll be returning to again – it had a very sweet coffee and chocolate aroma, making it an excellent drink for winding down the evening.
We’re more interested in the alcohol side, so we’re pretty satisfied but it’s also a bar that is focusing on food and they like their meat smoked. A quick perusal of the menu indicates that a great deal of the food in question is slow smoked for up to 12 hours. Yes, plenty of places at the moment are serving up pulled pork, baby back ribs and smoked chicken but there are reasons for this. This is clearly what a lot of people want and when done well, it’s an excellent way to enjoy food.
We were treated to a few dishes and the pulled pork ranked very highly amongst any that we had tried. The chicken was great and the rib meat glided off the bone with ease but the pulled pork was spot on. We tried the Sharing Platter #4 which had half rack ribs, half chicken, pulled pork, corn on the cob and pickled slaw. It cost £17 but we found it will easily feed 3 or 4, so there is value for money.
The rest of the menu probably writes itself for this style of place but the slider burgers were great (including the mac n cheese effort), the beef nachos had a great quality where the smoked flavour was really notable and there are wings of various hotness on offer. Throw in some salads, hot dogs, sandwiches and desserts and you have a variety of food that will suit you for a quick snack while watching the game or taking the family out. Kids are allowed in until 9pm and given that the pub is pretty close to Buchanan Street and the top end of town, it’s another option to consider for dining if you are on a shopping day out or having a fun family day.
There’s plenty of space, the bar is over two levels and there is The Nest, an area which can be booked out for private functions. This area has space for around 100 people and it even has a standalone bar so you can create your own gathering or event with ease.
We had a brief chat about the music policy for the pub and over the course of the evening; there wasn’t a bad selection of tunes on offer. The playlists are still being worked on but you had tracks from the Flaming Lips, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem and BRMC blending with some more populist stuff, so there shouldn’t be anything too off-putting. There is also hope for some acoustic sessions in the bar, which will be something to look out for.
Of course, if the bar is looking for any suggestions that will tie their music to the food, we highly recommend Smokin’ by the Super Furry Animals (mind you, we’ll recommend the Super Furry Animals at any point):
The staff were very friendly, very conversational and they knew their stuff when it comes to the food and drink, if you have any questions, feel free to stop them and ask. Of course, when things are a bit busy on a Friday or Saturday night there may not be the same option for the team members to spend loads of time conversing the ins and outs of every product but on first sight, and knowing the way that staff in Munro’s operate, we’ve no concerns about getting good customer service at The Raven.
There will be a few folk bemoaning the loss of The Bay Horse and the continual changing and upgrading of Glasgow but life goes on. There have been plenty of positive changes and upgrades in Glasgow of late and the addition of The Raven to the city centre adds a good all-rounder to the mix that should be of interest to plenty of folk at different times.
You can find The Raven at their own website, or on Twitter – all of the food and drink menus are on their site and they seem happy to chat on social media so engage with them if you are looking to find out more.