January 2021 will see Glasgow bar BLOC+ celebrate its 20th anniversary and to mark the occasion founder and boss John Burns has published BOOC+ . He introduces the book as only he can – itself a very entertaining read – and then catalogues the last 20 years through pictures, posters and recipes which capture the bar’s voluminous, vibrant, hedonistic, moreish, irreverent history. The book also contains umpteen testimonials from past employees, the current team and bands from Frightened Rabbit to Rolo Tomassi and Clutch.
The bar was the brainchild of John who is credited with being one of Scotland’s 90s rave scene pioneers, BLOC+ grew from a simple kitsch boozer into a multi-award-winning restaurant and music venue because it was innovative, offered great food, ambitious programming and with a relaxed – some might say raw – sense of humour. Customers could wear winklepickers or workboots and could request Radiohead or Rod Stewart. Many did both.
It became the king of viral food memes, like a fried burger in a Day-Glo blue MD2020 sauce and Buckfast ice-cream, as well as their resident chef (aka The Mad Chef) going viral on Vice. Also keen to be at the forefront of environmental issues, BLOC+ offer an array of vegan cuisine too – well ahead of the current trend.
Now amidst the Covid19 pandemic and the crisis facing the hospitality industry across the globe, the bar continues to survive, promoting charity causes, advocating for young musicians and taking pride as part of a vibrant local community.