Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crawling on a bank holiday Monday.

In most normal cities, you have a pubcrawl.

In Glasgow, you have a subcrawl.

Here in Glasgow, the subway isn't really an expansive network. It's just one circle. There aren't multiple lines, there's nothing to figure out. It's just a circle, with trains moving in an inner loop and an outer loop. It is literally impossible to get lost on the Glasgow subway, sometimes (but not often by actual Glaswegians) called the Clockwork Orange.

So a subcrawl? You and your group go stop to stop, getting off at every station and having a drink at whatever pub's right there off the subway line. 15 stops in all! Needless to say, it makes for a long, but fun, day of drinking and also gives non-Glaswegians like me a chance to see parts of the city that they would never ever in a million years otherwise see. Places like Ibrox, Kinning Park, and Govan? Without the subcrawl I can promise that I'd have never set foot in them.

The Glasgow south of the river is like a different world. Where the sectarianism is very real and apparent, not just something joked about for football reasons. While some of it is probably part urban legend, the fact that there's likely some ounce of truth to stories about people being thrown out of bars around Ibrox for ordering Guiness is half scary and half amazingly interesting.

But south of the river ended up being really cool. Save for one (Hawaiian themed?) pub in Govan, all the others were fantastic and people treated us well. My favorite may have been the District Bar in Kinning Park, where every decoration on the wall was Rangers something, the people were fantastically nice, and I had a feeling I'd be stabbed if I used the "c" word (not the four-letter one, but the one rhyming with "schmatholic." The Laurieston, at Bridge Street, was great too. Super dodgy looking from the outside, with warm and friendly bartenders wearing bowties on the inside. And by early evening, we were comfortably back across the River Clyde and into familiar territory, before ending things on Byres Road, closing down Curler's. All in all, a good day and good furthering of my Glaswieducation.

Subcrawl: definitely a Glasgow must if you're with a group, want to get a big-picture look at the city, and if you're in here with an entire day to spare (and a next morning devoted to sleeping in and consuming lots of coffee and greasy food to help get you right again). But bring along a Scot or two or three, don't wear green, get through the Govan-to-Bridge Street stops while it's still very light, and most importantly, EAT SOMETHING along the way.


At May 6, 2009 at 10:45 AM , Blogger Scotsman said...

Despite all its critics I always liked the subway, it's just a pity that no-one thought to extend it to other parts of the city. But thats Glasgow, the city with a logic all of its own. How many other cities have a bypass that cuts through the centre of the city instead of going around it?


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