Design focus: Munro’s

The first thing that strikes you when you enter Maclay’s newest pub, Munro’s on Glasgow’s Great Western Road, is the spaciousness. It is even more striking if you remember it in its previous incarnation as the Captain’s Rest. Who could have imagined there was that much space? What was previously a dark and rather gloomy bar has been totally transformed. In fact there is hardly any point in talking about the Captain’s because there is not a remnant of it remaining.
The new Munro’s is a craft beer pub, and Maclay’s marketing manager Lynn Lovelock told us that they took their inspiration from various hostelries around the UK, but particularly London. She says, “We came up with a design brief based on what we had seen, and what we liked. Steve Mallon had me visiting all sorts of bars in way out places, but I think it was worth it.”
The £400K refurbishment by Design Build Deliver, Michael Dunn’s new company, is very clever. They have created a spacious, light and airy bar, that also gives a nod to the fact that Munro’s back in the distant past was a car showroom, called Munro’s Motors, and the lighting rack which takes pride of place actually has tyres dangling from it. So despite the fact that you may think the name is a reference to Scotland’s favourite hills, because the hostelry also features subtle references to famous Munro’s in the shape of a painting of our Scottish mountains and portraits of British mountaineer Hector Munro and legendary Glasgow landlord Hugh Munro. These clues are actually a bum steer… excuse the pun!
Décor has been strongly influenced by Scottish heritage with the use of lots of wood and tweed and leather upholstery. The current trend for upcycling is out in force at Munro’s with the company using various pieces of furniture from another one of their bars, The Tullie in Balloch (currently also being refurbished), and updating it, or not, as the case may be.
The two central tables which are located underneath the large tyre lighting rig are in fact huge cable drums. Explains Lynn, “We were going to have barrels, but everyone has barrels and thecable drums kind of fitted with the theme.”
The bar has four distinct areas – the main body of the bar, a snug to the right which has a gas fire, which looks like a wood burning stove, complete with leather comfy chairs, a large coffee table, and standard lamp with a traditional lampshade. While to left, behind a red rug curtain, is a seating area with smaller, thinner tables and the Munro painting, while further through, to the left of the bar there is another area with high bench seating, window booths and a funky mirror. The colours are quite neutral which adds to the airiness of the bar – teal, cream and grey while the wall the fire is on is red brick which contrasts with the blonde sandstone stones on the opposite side.
That brings us to the bar which stretches the width of the main area – and is a real focal point, not least because of the array of bottled beer on the back bar. Half of the bar top has been
created by Paul Hodgkiss and the smooth elm wood is a contrast to its two polished concrete ends – industrial chic meets Scottish craft… and of course on the crafted bar top are the craft beers. At any one time Munro’s will have eight craft and cask taps with six changing on a regular basis to include special guest brews like Magic Rock High Wire from West Yorkshire and Shoreditch Blonde from the Redchurch Brewery in East London.
While its fridges are also packed full of unique beers for aficionados including Brooklyn Lager, East India Pale Ale and Blue Moon. In total, there will be 40 bottled beers, lagers and ciders on offer.
It’s not just the interior that had a major revamp – the outside too is completely different. Not least because there are now large windows all around, and the building has been clad in wood and painted grey. It’s certainly an attractive proposition.
Munro’s is at 185 Great Western Road, Glasgow.

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