Focus on: Church on the Hill, Glasgow

May 18th, 2018 | Posted in: Bar News,Design

When it comes to Glasgow’s south side, there has really only ever been a few options for self-respecting late-night drinkers, and in its prime, Church on the Hill at Battlefield was at the top of that short list. And now new owners Signature Pubs plan on making it not just a late-night venue but a firm favourite with all ages and families too.

Having invested more than £2m on the former Langside Church which sits facing the Battlefield Monument. It is literally the church at the top of the hill, so you can’t miss it. The building has an imposing façade, with Graeco-Roman style features having been designed by Alexander Skirving, former student of Alexander (Greek) Thomson, in 1896.

A fire turned the church to ruins in 1989, which led to it being purchased and renovated, first reopening as a bar in the 1990s. But at that time the designers didn’t showcase the buildings original features. This time round Signature Pubs were keen to bring the building back to more of its original state and so they have made the ceilings much higher and have re-instated windows which were previously bricked up. I had not visited the venue prior to the refurbishment, so Louise Maclean, marketing manager for signature pubs, filled me in on the main changes they had made. She says, “Structurally, our initial concept was to open the space up and create comfortable eating and drinking spaces that feel roomy while still cosy. To that end, we raised the ceiling by 4 feet to give the venue a height befitting such a vast venue. The entire venue was extensively refurbished from the outdoor spaces to the bathrooms ensuring we achieve an overall look and feel that is clean, fresh and contemporary, but keeping the kind of chilled out atmosphere you’d expect from a neighbourhood haunt – we hope we’ve created the perfect balance between local pub and trendy metropolitan venue.”

The bar and restaurant are split into two distinct areas. There is an area to the left as you come in which is primarily for dining and it boasts an open kitchen directly facing you. There is plenty of booth style seating running along the left wall and more circular booths ready to seat large groups in the centre. It is also on this side that the beautiful overhead foliage falls and the left wall features original stained-glass windows.

On the right, down a couple of stairs, is the area where the sports loving drinkers congregate. It has large screens and you don’t have to go too far to get to the bar which runs the breadth of the room. In front of the bar are two large rectangular pillars with wooden panelling on the bottom, complete with shining white tiles covering the rest of the length. They have a small lip, just about big enough for a glass, but says the bar’s designer Adam Tibbet of Tibbet’s Abel, “When there is sport on this bar is very busy and we didn’t want to encourage people to stand by the pillars. That’s why the lip isn’t bigger!”

Although it is a large spacious bar and restaurant it is made more cosy by the use of delicate foliage. It has a relaxed feel with a mix of fixed seating with soft caramel leather upholstery and chairs. There are great pops of colour with lime green and blue seats and couches. There are plenty of tables varying in size, ready to seat two, or much larger tables you could easily squeeze large groups around. The overhead foliage, partly disguises the exposed industrial like ceiling with its black ducting and black industrial lights attached to what almost looks like scaffolding. The industrial theme seems to continue on the tables which have studs running around the rim resembling large pins or bolts. The back bar unusually has, behind glass panelling, taxidermy birds and a rabbit, creating a focal point for those gathering by the bar. Louise explains, “We made an effort to avoid a stark juxtaposition between a very contemporary design and an historic iconic property, so the design is scattered with elements of both the old and the new to create a harmonious balance between the venue’s past and present. The (artificial) taxidermist was included to create a tactile complement to the traditional woodland scenes represented in the artwork elsewhere in the venue.”

If you visit during the day you can enjoy plenty of natural light shining through the front doors and its stained-glass windows. And, of course, dogs are welcome, there are various water bowls in the foyer area at the front of the church and look out for the doggy hall of fame with polaroids of regular doggie guests. Or if you need to stop and grab a quick coffee during the day, down at the far end of the bar stands a classic wooden take-away coffee stand, beautifully painted and complete with a chalk board detailing the coffee and cakes available.

The true charm of the place lies in the details, the eclectic mix of partially exposed brick walls, old paintings, angle poise wall lights and a multitude of plants sitting on shelves and hanging from the walls all complement each other so wonderfully and help fill the humongous space.

Church on the Hill is a laid-back, warm place which caters to drinkers and families alike, where the sheer size of both the inside and the outdoor drinking area will be warmly welcomed by Glasgow’s southsiders.  It’s at

16 Algie Street, Shawlands.


The Three Chimneys’ Scott Davies returns to the MasterChef kitchen

Fri 14th December 2018

A head chef from one of Scotland’s leading restaurants is making a return to the MasterChef kitchen this festive season.... Read more.

Scottish budget: Rates increase capped at 2.1 %

Thu 13th December 2018

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has announced in his Scottish budget that the non-domestic poundage rates paid by licensees will see... Read more.

Molson Coors & Matthew Clark distribution agreement comes to an end

Thu 13th December 2018

After five years of working together Molson Coors and Matthew Clark have “mutually agreed not to renew their free trade distribution agree... Read more.

WORLD’S BIGGEST BARTENDING COMPETITION REVEALS GLASGOW AS LOCATION FOR 2019 GLOBAL FINALS

Tue 11th December 2018

The very brightest and best of the drinks community will next September descend on Glasgow to see the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender o... Read more.

EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY

Wed 5th December 2018

Quiet Man Taverns, aka brothers Daniel and Finbarr McNally, has taken over The Dogs restaurant in Edinburgh and renamed it The Perch.... Read more.

Design Feature: Jacques

Wed 5th December 2018

Brel’s wee brother Jacques is the new kid on the block in Finnieston. Owner Oli Norman’s latest offering to the Glasgow bar world (he al... Read more.

MSP Letter

Wed 5th December 2018

Dear xxxx As my local MSP, I’m writing to make you aware of the crippling rates bills that myself and others in the hospitality indust... Read more.

It’s time to rattle your local MSP about rates

Wed 5th December 2018

Life sucks. But that doesn’t mean that you need to suck it up when you’re getting a raw deal? Like the amount licensees are payi... Read more.

Design Feature: The Bell Jar

Wed 5th December 2018

The Bell Jar is a novel by Sylvia Plath. It’s also the name of a new bar on Glasgow’s Dixon Avenue, on the city’s south side. It’s t... Read more.

Design Feature: The Old Schoolhouse

Wed 5th December 2018

Belhaven Pubs debuted the refurbished Old Schoolhouse on Glasgow’s Woodlands Road last month and in the process of researching this featur... Read more.

Key to the Loch: licensee interview with Sandy Fraser

Wed 5th December 2018

Gabriel Oak is a character in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. As the name suggests, he’s the sturdy, reliable character at th... Read more.

TURNING UP THE HEAT IN THE KITCHIN

Wed 5th December 2018

Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin, wife Michaela and business partner Dominic Jack of Castle Terrace are now the proud owners of a brand new... Read more.

Greene King profits up

Mon 3rd December 2018

Belhaven owners Greene King has reported £1,051 million in revenues in the last six months, up 1.9% on the previous half, after a strong sa... Read more.

ENERGY COMPANIES ‘HOLD MILLIONS’ IN UK HOSPITALITY BUSINESS’ CASH

Thu 29th November 2018

Energy companies are holding more than £24 million belonging to Britain’s hospitality businesses. That’s according to an independent st... Read more.

Scottish government plans to ban alcohol advertising before 9pm

Wed 28th November 2018

The  Scottish government plans to curb alcohol abuse by banning drink adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed, while drinks manufacturers wi... Read more.

BUZZWORKS WHET CHILDREN’S APPETITE FOR GOOD FOOD AND HOSPITALITY

Tue 27th November 2018

One of Scotland’s leading hospitality groups, Buzzworks Holdings, welcomed school children from Glenburn Primary this week, to its Bakehou... Read more.

Restaurants could face curb on portion size and calorie count

Thu 22nd November 2018

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has launched a consultation on limiting portion sizes, maximum calorie limits and calorie labelling. They are ... Read more.

Brora Distillery set to re-open after 35 years

Wed 21st November 2018

Brora distillery, which last operated in 1983, is set to reopen and back in production by 2020.  The copper pot stills have been transport... Read more.

Edinburgh and Glasgow rank highly in average expenditure on a night out findings

Tue 20th November 2018

According to the study by money website thinkmoney, Brit spends £44.88 on each night out, with Edinburgh (£50.40) and Glasgow (£49.23) ... Read more.

Targeted help needed to tackle the heaviest drinkers in the UK says alcohol watchdog

Mon 19th November 2018

Analysis of drinking habits across England and Scotland ( it's Alcohol Awareness Week 19th November 2018)  shows that the majority of peop... Read more.