Byres Road is usually described as the "the main artery flowing through the heart of the area" - let's just say that here the heart beats strongest. It is not beautiful but has an attractive vibrancy and feel of doing business and meaning business. People come here with a purpose - to work and play, to shop, to meet and eat and to look around - and there is a lot to see and do! Although in the current climate we frequently see shops close and very soon others open.
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Some of the traditional and long standing attractions include the pubs and cafes, popular with locals, visitors to the West End, Western Infirmary Staff, University staff and students. The University Cafe still remains a favourite despite many new arrivals on the scene, such as the more upmarket Nardini's. Similarly the Aragon, Tennents and Curlers (the oldest pub in the area) are well established favourites. Many others have popped up over the years - being welcome additions to the healthy pub scene. Oranmor, a fabulous venue which has emerged out of the derelict church at the top of Byres Road is now firmly established and popular with the local literati. The venue also draws a large following to its lunchtime theatre - a Play, a Pie and a Pint
Just off Byres Road, behind Hillhead Subway Station, you will find Ashton Lane, the cobbled street is thronged, rain, hail or snow, with hardy revellers enjoying the bonhomie in and around Jinty McGinty's bar. Here you will also find the much loved 'Chip" the pub and wine bar attached to the beautiful Ubiquitous Chip restaurant, recently nominated the public's favourite restaurant in Scotland - (I worked there as a part time waitress back in the 70s). The restaurant is great for a special treat and the bar offers an excellent choice of wine and beers to its faithful clientele of local Westenders - adding stimulus to their deep and meaningful conversations. This is where you are likely to find media, academics and literary types hanging out.
Ashton Lane has great choice of restaurants including Brel, The Ashoka, The Loft and The Lane, the last two restaurants being part of the Grosvenor Cinema. It's a very busy area but unusually tranquil on a Sunday morning - when the Chip offers a lovely breakfast including smoked herring and scrambled eggs with garlic.
On the opposite side of Byres Road in Ruthven Lane you will find Stravaigin2, a very busy little restaurant with fabulous food. I particularly like their sharing platters at lunchtime and their Rijstafel Nights. Further down the lane you can find Di Maggio's - with its lively atmosphere is a popular family eatery - with much acclaimed lasagne.
This is also a good place to shop - especially if you like vintage and retro Circa Vintage is a long standing favourite of Glasgow's student population and discerning lovers of bygone style.
Little Italy - is a great place for people watching and super food and a new favourite is Avenue G, their home made mackerel pate is delicious. Across the other side of Byres Road Heart Buchanan is a particularly pleasant place to sup your coffee. Also check out their wonderful, award-winning Heart Buchanan deli - some great Scottish produce on offer here.
At the bottom of the road Tony Macaroni's has a great deal if you order before six o'clock.
The eclectic selection of eateries is never ending: try the ever popular Amber for Chinese - enjoy a cappuccino at Tinderbox at the corner of Highburgh Road - what is the silver Vespa doing in the window?
Critical acclaim has been heaped on '16 Byres Road'; a small friendly restaurant with a youthful and talented staff providing interesting dishes at affordable prices.
Byres Road is a thriving retail area with estate agents, chemists, supermarkets, travel agents, record shops and many other retail outlets including many charity shops. Pink Poodle is a firm favourite with the young and cool and Papyrus is a popular with browsers. Barrett's newsagents has served the area for decades and you can often pick up tickets for local events along with birthday cards and a bar of chocolate. One of my favourite shops is George Mawes the fabulous cheese shop, which you should never pass.
There are also many hidden treats tucked away in the lanes off Byres Road: Nancy Smillie's, in Cresswell Lane, is great for a browse with lots of artwork, pottery, jewellery, furniture - many interesting items, large and small. It is conveniently situated next to De Courcy's indoor market with a number of specialty shops. Also in Cresswell Lane you will find Zizzi's Italian Restaurant, we had a great time at the opening and have been back a number of times since since - both the food and the ambience are great. Cresswell Lane is a lovely place to sit and have a coffee on a sunny day. There's always a bit of life about but quiet enough to read your book or paper.
Of course, Byres Road is good just for people watching, here you can bump into neighbours and friends and catch the celebrities out and about. Also if you feel like escaping the hustle, the beautiful Botanic Gardens is situated at the top of Byres Road just across Great Western Road. It is huge and varied - with leafy walks by the River Kelvin, its famous Orchid House, pleasant gardens and the fantastic Kibble Palace