Strip Joint, 956 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8LU.
Strip Joint, the latest bar to join the trendy “Finnieston Strip” on Argyle Street in Glasgow’s West End, might not be quite as provocative as its name suggests. But with its paired back, minimalist and edgy design, and a packed drinks menu, Mark Lappin, Paul Bright and Gerry Tartaglia’s latest offering is already establishing itself.
It opened at the start of November and Strip Joint is the second West End venture from the team behind Glasgow bars Slouch, Howlin Wolf, and the new Bag O’ Nails (formerly Partick Tavern) which recently opened on Dumbarton Road.
One thing that might raise an eyebrow in terms of Strip Joint’s design, however, is its complete contrast to historic Glasgow pub Bannisters, which it replaces on the corner of Argyle Street and Claremont Street – hence the name Strip Joint as a tongue in cheek reference to its location at the head of the “Strip”.
Bannisters, known as Bannies by regulars, was once thought of by many to be the last “old-man pub” in the area. It’s now unrecognisable after a £500k four-week refurbishment that began in early October, through a partnership between the trio and landlords Star Pub & Bars.
The first obvious change is the new large bay windows that have been installed along the street-facing wall and around the corner, which flood the bar with light. The bar’s formerly bright blue frontage has been given a slick update, painted grey with added metal panels and back-lit signage.
Inside, the design by Paul Martin, whose work for the company most recently includes Bag O’ Nails, reflects the bar’s name by feeling stripped back and industrial. Having been opened up, Strip Joint now has a seated capacity of about 90 and full capacity of 175-200.
The bar itself, which has a thick top made of Kyron concrete and is clad with white tiles, has been moved to the left hand wall beside the open plan kitchen to create space for two long rows of high wood-topped tables command the centre of the bar. The legs are made of thick industrial pipes with the chairs attached by L-shaped sections, topped with wooden disks.
The interior walls are a mix of letterbox red, used on the main doorway, back wall and several thin support pillars, slate grey and an exposed brick wall behind the bar, the latter being one of the few remaining original features from Bannisters.
Wooden panelling stained green and blue clads the lower section of the walls below most of the large windows, which are lined by wooden bars and metal stools, again with wooden tops. Another pop of colour is the bright yellow banquette seating that runs along one wall beside four small tables with white tops.
Strip Joint’s unique selling point is also a commanding and permanent feature of the bar’s minimalist, metal gantry. In between shelves stocking over 100 spirits sits a huge Krusovice Tank Beer, made up of two long, cylindrical silver tanks placed one above the other horizontally.
According to the owners, Strip Joint is currently the only place in Glasgow to stock Krusovice Tank Beer. The idea is that lager is delivered directly from the brewery in vacuum sealed tanks and pumped straight to the gantry tank where it is left to mature. It only hits oxygen once poured from the tap to the glass. This keeps it “brewery fresh”, unpasteurised, unfiltered and naturally carbonated for what Strip Joint’s owners describe as “the cleanest, crisp most refreshing pint you’ll ever have.” Strip Joint’s food offerings also include “rustica style” hand rolled pizzas made with 48-hour aged dough, stretched to an impressive two-foot and cooked in a stone bake oven.
With its prime proximity to the SSE Hydro, the opening of which has been partly responsible for the incredible regeneration Finnieston has benefitted from in recent years, Strip Joint is already proving to be a hit with gig-goers and music lovers and really comes alive in the evenings; its large windows mean it literally lights up the tip of Finnieston at night.
Accordingly, Strip Joint’s cocktails are all named after famous live music venues around the world, including one for Glasgow’s Barras which is made with rum, Cointreau, Bols Blue Curacao and fresh lime. And then there’s the blackboard toilet doors, a simple design feature that lets punters add the names of artists and bands they’ve seen that night. With its combination of music, pizza, tank beer and cool design, it seems these guys have another hit on their hands.