The Merchant City quarter has been a central part of Glasgow’s reinvention since the brand mavens got to work in the 1980s with their slick bars, restaurants and designer shops. Blackfriars, however, has a rather different appeal with its slightly shabby interior, live bands and basement club sessions. Although it’s best-known as a music venue, it still manages to offer an ever-changing selection of five real ales from breweries including Spectrum, Dark Star and Inveralmond – plus fine bottled quaffs from Europe and indie outfits in the USA. The menu is no-nonsense pub grub, ranging from sandwiches and burgers to black pudding fritters, mac ‘n’ cheese or fish and chips. Some evenings there is live music in the bar; otherwise, catch a quieter moment and settle down with some haggis pie and a bottle of obscure craft beer.