Quieter trading for pubs in the shadow of Glasgow School of Art
Pubs in and around Sauchiehall Street have reported quieter trading since last month’s Glasgow School of Art fire, DRAM can report. According to people in the trade that we spoke to it’s only added to the sense of chaos on an already battle-scarred Sauchiehall Street, still very much in recovery after the fire that ravaged and later condemned Victoria’s night club back in March.
Campus was one of the buildings directly affected by the fire. In terms of how quickly Glasgow City Council reacted and how effective the communication has been about where is and isn’t accessible along Sauchiehall Street in its wake, GM Gavin McGreish told DRAM, “This is obviously devastating for me personally and when it first happened, things were very much up in the air and communication was patchy.
“The council has since really opened up the lines of communication and since the council has taken over there has been far more clarity. Having said that, no timescales are in place, so I can’t even begin to make any kind of estimation as to when we’ll be able to begin trading again. Six months? Nine months? I simply do not know. The Business Improvement District has also stepped up.”
Bars in the vicinity have also noticed a perceptible difference.
Ryan Doyle from The State Bar on Holland Street told DRAM,“We are one of the closest pubs to the Art School and many of the students and lecturers drink in here, so it’s something that has affected us closely because it’s been a hot topic and a cause for concern among many of our regulars.
“In a wider sense, the closure of the ABC and Campus has affected trade for us because we’re a feeder bar for both venues.”
It’s a similar story at The Variety Bar on Sauchiehall Street, according to Nathan Schuppan from the bar. He said, “It’s been a quiet couple of weeks for us. Perhaps customers have been deterred from coming down this far along Sauchiehall Street from the centre of town because of all the road blocks and diversions that are now in place.”
Pete Neil from Jackson’s Bar on nearby Cambridge Street added, “I don’t think that it’s affected our trade too much in what is already a quiet time of year following the departure of the students, but that in itself makes it difficult to say for certain”.
Both fires raged against a backdrop of Glasgow City Council’s tree-lined pedestrian walkway installation, The Avenues Project, which, while still allowing access to businesses, has also caused disruption to both the pedestrian and traffic flow. Speaking to DRAM, Brian Fulton of Hold Fast Entertainment and Chair of Sauchiehall Street Business Improvement District, said,“I’m just out of a task force meeting and we are very focussed on the guys that are open as well as the guys that are closed, and particularly on the guys that are still open getting the best deal and healthiest trade possible. The main reason being, if we can keep the street vibrant and busy, it’ll make it easier for businesses to reopen once the cordon is lifted. There are so many great reasons to come to this city, like the TRANSMT festival, and not everyone knows that part of the street remains open, so we are working with both the council as well as with Rainton Construction Ltd who are undertaking the Avenues Project, to communicate this to the public.”