11 Great Pubs & Bars With Live Music In Glasgow

Sarah Clark ·January 12, 2024Reading time: 5 minutes

Glasgow’s legendary bar scene is many things, but you can always be sure that a toe-tapping traditional (commonly known as ‘trad’) music session is underway somewhere. Not surprising for a city which plays host to countless gigs each evening.  

From Local institutions frequented by the city’s old timers to sleek bohemian spots popular with students – each one has a unique character, warm hospitality, and a deep abiding love for Scotland’s rich musical heritage. Here are just some of our favourite trad music bars in Glasgow.  

  1. Òran Mór Byres Road, Glasgow

    The Scott Wood Band perform at Celtic Connections Festival at Òran Mór

    © FirstThreeSongs / James Carney

    You can’t miss Òran Mór. A converted church with a neon hula hoop wedged to its spire, it ranks among the most unique music venues in the UK. Set in the city’s trendy west end, it has an upstairs auditorium with murals painted by esteemed writer and artist Alasdair Gray, and a crypt where most gigs are hosted. With its low ceiling, it offers an intimate musical space quite unlike any other where you can enjoy an eclectic array of trad, folk and exciting new acts on the cusp of fame. 

    Key facilities
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  2. The Clutha Stockwell Street, Glasgow

    Clutha Bar

    Located on the banks of the Clyde, the Clutha is one of Glasgow’s oldest and most iconic pubs. It’s seen many a famous face pass through its doors, from Glaswegian natives like Billy Connolly to superstars including Frank Zappa. Live music is played here every night spanning the full gauntlet of the musical spectrum (including trad) attracting locals and visitors from all walks of life. The stone-baked pizzas aren’t bad either.  

  3. The Cellar at Stravaigin Kelvinbridge, Glasgow

    Stravaigin

    This acclaimed restaurant combines fine dining with live music. Book a table for one of its monthly Cellar Sessions. Enjoy a meal in this unique dining space filled with tantalising global flavours prepared using the finest Scottish ingredients alongside with delicious cocktails, and an authentic Scottish soundtrack courtesy of talented local musicians. What’s not to love? For a truly memorable experience, don’t miss their famous annual Burns Night supper. 

    Key facilities
    • Pets Welcome
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • Vegetarian/Vegan
  4. The Scotia Bar Stockwell Street, Glasgow

    The Billy Connolly Mural which forms part of the Glasgow Mural Trail.

    The Scotia Bar is said to be the oldest in Glasgow. Dating back to 1792 it was a time-honoured favourite of merchant sailors on shore leave. More recently, it’s become a popular haunt of musicians, poets, comedians – Billy Connolly performed here back in the day – and the politically minded. Live music acts perform here throughout the week including rock, blues and trad musicians, many visiting from overseas. If you get the itch to perform, musical customers are welcome to borrow from the bar’s collection of instruments.  

  5. The Aragon Byres Road

    The Gilbert Scott building of the University of Glasgow from Kelvingrove Park.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    You don’t get more old-school than the Aragon, a pub on Byres Road near the University of Glasgow campus. It’s a firm favourite among students and locals thanks to its excellent selection of ales and lagers – look out for the malt of the month – and fantastic wine offering. It’s also popular with trad musicians, regularly hosting live evening sessions throughout the year.  

  6. The Islay Inn Argyle Street, Glasgow

    A trad music session underway at the Islay Inn

    © @theislayinn

    A neighbour of the Ben Nevis, the Islay Inn is another famous trad pub located in the fashionable district of Finnieston. Named after the Inner Hebridean island, in days gone by the pub was popular with Highlander and islander newcomers to the city. Today, it attracts a diverse crowd of locals, students and tourists, but it remains true to its roots offering live trad music five days a week, an extensive whisky list, and first-class craic (that’s Gaelic for ‘banter’). 

  7. The Old Toll Bar Paisley Road West, Glasgow

    The Old Toll Bar

    © @girl_drinks_guinness

    The Old Toll Bar harks back to a more genteel era as evidenced by its magnificent mahogany gantry with its mirrored centrepiece. The dark wood panelled walls adorned with elegant, mirrored advertisements for the favourite spirits and wines of the Victorian era add to the old-world ambience. It regularly hosts trad sessions while their new hip sister venue, the Red Door Club, showcases an array of contemporary sounds. 

  8. The Flying Duck Renfield Street, Glasgow

    Fiddle player in a ceilidh band

    The Flying Duck used to be one the city’s best-kept secrets. Now renowned for one of the quirkiest and busiest event calendars in Glasgow, this basement bar is as popular with clubbers as it is with jazz aficionados and trad music lovers. Its eccentric interior doesn’t disappoint with the bar’s “kitchen corner” reserved for live musicians and weird and wonderful duck ornaments scattered throughout the venue. The drinks menu is equally idiosyncratic, boasting unique ales, beers and a vast array of liqueurs and spirits.  

  9. The Lismore Dumbarton Road, Partick

    Fintan Magee's ‘The Model Boat’ mural on Purdon Street, Partick

    Visiting the Lismore in the Partick district of the city is like stepping into a time capsule. With its stained-glass windows and dark wood décor, the Highland themed bar offers an atmospheric backdrop to enjoy traditional live music. Hunker down in one of the many nooks and crannies of this narrow yet buzzing bar and blend in with the loyal clientele. 

  10. The Ben Nevis Argyle Street, Glasgow

    The Ben Nevis Bar

    © @the_tropicalist

    Contemporary trad players flock to the Ben Nevis in the evenings to perform in this lively, rustic pub with its exposed stone and timber walls. Grab a seat, choose a dram from one of the countless whisky bottles proudly displayed floor to ceiling, and imagine yourself spirited away from the hustle and bustle of Argyle Street to a bothy in the Highlands.  

  11. Redmond's of Dennistoun Duke Street, Glasgow

    Glasgow Cathedral located in the Dennistoun district of the city.

    Let’s round things off with one of the youngest entries to Glasgow’s pub scene, Redmonds. Located just on the edge of Dennistoun, this chilled out bar with a distinctly American feel has already grown a devoted local following. It offers a great range of spirits, wines and cocktails, and an ever-changing menu of craft beers. The weekends are dedicated to music with a local DJ spinning an eclectic vinyl set on Saturday while Sunday is reserved for local trad and folk musicians.  

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