Those born under the sign of The Bull (Taurus) are said to love life’s finer things and the refurbishment of the bar of the same name on Glasgow’s Great Western Road is a quality outfit all right. The Bull is where Munro’s used to be and operator Macmerry 300 is leasing the two-story space from the Signature Pub Group.
With a 240 capacity inside and out it’s one of the Dundee-based pub group’s hat trick of Glasgow openings in 2021. Earlier this year co-directors AJ Mcmenemy and Phil Donaldson unveiled The Luchador on the south side plus a second Abandon Ship will shortly open on Mitchell Street – a sister bar to the Dundee flagship that Rich Davies is also involved with.
The Bull occupies the ground floor level with the basement housing the service area and toilets, but in one of its previous incarnations this used to be where all the action took place and AJ Mcmenemy and team uncovered a few nods to the pub’s more distant past.
He explained, “Many people will remember it as The Captain’s Rest of course and when the basement was a live music venue. We found lots of old tiling and walls signed by all the bands that had played there when we were stripping it all out. It was so nostalgic for me as I used to go to gigs there back in the day.
“Fast forward a few decades and the ground floor is still a fairly sizeable space that we’ve divided into sections – front nook, rear nook, cocktail bar, and intimate restaurant. We’ve also been able to retain the live sports offering like Munro’s used to have because continuity is important in neighbourhood bars, and we‘ve managed to achieve this without it impinging on any other area and vice versa.
“I also love the way we’ve been able to tie all these elements together and some of my personal favourite touches are the copper, brass, and that beautiful green-tiled bar.”
So what’s our verdict?
The bar’s focus on Scotch beef, cocktails and craft beers is reflected in the design- it’s meaty and earthy with deep reds and greens and browns all wrapped up in a high-spec finish thanks to top quality wood finishes.
It’s sophisticated, especially the bar and back bar design with all its carpentry, ladder, rail, and room to showcase so many premium products that are all so kindly lit.
It’s also a little playful here and there. Geometric pictures, an old Glasgow tenement bell junction box and marble-back designs on some of the seats represents The Bull stepping away from the purely traditional.
Maverick Upholstery was one of the companies Macmerry 300 employed the skills of to achieve this look.
You could also describe it as a blend of old and new – from the traditional gas-lamp lighting to textures of tangerine velvet and terrazzo tiling in what is being billed by the operators as bringing ‘something very special to Glasgow.’
The sea of greens, greys and rich reds with leather and velvet booths, brass, greenery, exposed brick and stone, white and gold wallpaper, mosaic ceiling tiles, big globe lights and incredibly busy back bar plus the views out large windows along the busy Great Western Road keep the senses engaged. Its design is creative and functional.
Macmerry 300 operates 11 venues across Scotland, mainly in Dundee of course, including Abandon Ship, Draffens and King of Islington, as well as Gracie’s café in Broughty Ferry.
185 Great Western Road