When I spoke to Michael Bergson about his second Buck’s Bar for Glasgow on Trongate (the first Buck’s is on the city’s West Regent Street) he and wife Michelle were visiting Venice for the first time for her birthday. But it was a whole different city that inspired the design of Buck’s Bar number two.
Explained Michael, “The design of Buck’s was inspired by the dive bars we love on the Lower East Side of New York City. It’s very much a feel-good 50s rock ‘n’ roll-themed focus.”
“On the walls are police mug-shots of stars that have been arrested, like Jim Morrison and David Bowie, plus we also have a great big neon displaying a quote from Neil Young that says ‘Better to burn out than fade away.’ Then there’s the cushions that have been made from old rock t-shirts.
“But my absolute favourite part of the design has to be the mirror that says ‘Sex, Birds & Rock ‘n’ Roll in neon which is obviously a nod to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, with the ‘birds’ referring to the chicken that we serve because it’s so addictive.”
Prior to Buck’s the building housed a wee Italian restaurant called Isola Sarda and before that it was The Red Fox Cafe, so why did Michael and Michelle decide on this part of town where these other businesses weren’t able to sustain?
Said Michael, “Nobody’s been able to make it work and I also went for this part of town because it’s up-and-coming. It’s a great circuit – from Merchant Square, Trongate and all the way to the Gallowgate and all the wonderful stuff that’s happening there. It’s also at the opposite end of town to where our other place is, of course.”
Molson Coors supplies the bar with various beers including Pravha, Coors Light & Blue Moon.
And now for our design verdict.
Buck’s Bar is compactly set over two floors – with bar and seating on the ground floor and exclusively seating on the mezzanine. Aside from all that Michael mentioned, the other design highlights include the wooden cladding on the walls. In fact, the entire bar is fairly wood-heavy and basking in the glow of all that red neon which makes it real cosy.
Another standout feature is the shiny gold patterned wall-covering ceiling, which looks distinctly retro to me.
The bar itself is also constructed entirely from wood, with the odd pop of this gold wall-covering ceiling on the walls. The back bar is made from black shelves on a red painted wall and in front of the bar on the underside of the mezzanine is a collection of classic gig posters from the likes of Blondie.
Up on the mezzanine is more wooden furniture, red walls and ceiling, plus multi-coloured fairy-lights and this where you’ll find that big red neon displaying Neil Young’s immortal quote about not fading away, and the memory of this wee bar should burn bright in the memories of the customers and keep them coming back for more.