On Tuesday, I woke up in the eighth coolest neighbourhood in the world, according to Time Out’s annual survey. Dennistoun didn’t feel that different but it had received an unexpected level of recognition. Then two Glasgow Times reporters turned up on Duke Street for a Facebook Live broadcast and I knew that we’d really made it. 

Local independent businesses have been buffeted by lockdown and an avalanche of other pressures this year, so it’s nice to have something to shout about. It’s good for the city as a whole. Don’t underestimate the reach of annual features like this in terms of shaping perception of destinations. 

So how did this all happen? Time Out has a global network of editors and experts in 315 cities and 58 countries. They register their opinions alongside feedback from over 38,000 locals who complete the annual Time Out Index survey. All that information is put into a blender and out pop the list of the 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world. 

Last year, Kelvinbridge garnered a mention, clocking in at number 37 on the list, which raised hoots of delight across Great Western Road. This year, the East End is the real winner, storming into the top ten. 

Factors considered when compiling the list included “great vibes, food, drink, nightlife and independent culture”, but also community spirit, praising neighbourhoods where people showed support for the community and local businesses during lockdown who “represent the soul of the city.” I like that. 

Having been sequestered in Dennistoun since March I know that businesses facing their own hardship continued to work together to support those in need among their neighbours. Food businesses operated a network to share resources and to deliver support packages to neighbours. Local church groups maintained food banks and contact with those that were shielding. It’s important to judge an area on more than the availability of sourdough bread, good coffee and craft beers.  

Mesa, my local brunch place (order the Italian sausage, cannellini, potato hash with herbs, topped with a fried egg) was mentioned by Time Out as one of the businesses that are enlivening the neighbourhood.  

I asked co-owner Laurie MacMillan, who also has Sweet Jane Bakehouse here, what she makes of it all: She said: “There's never a dull day in Dennistoun. It's diverse. It's multicultural and, at times, it’s completely of its rocker. 

“You will find the real Glasgow here, the nitty gritty, the warm and the wonderful. Strong sense of community and some loveable rogues to boot. Pull up a pew and watch life go by on good old Duke Street.” Sounds like a plan.


Toastie Hoose 

The Southside is getting its very own "Toastie Hoose". New neighbourhood spot Babos opens today at 1117A Pollokshaws Road. Try a mac n cheese with black pudding toastie to get you started. The new menu also a cheese, ham, spring onion and fried egg version, a spicy mix of cheese, chorizo, jalapenos, roasted red peppers and rocket or salt and chilli chicken with roasted red peppers and sriracha sauce. 


Covid Glasgow 

We are back to our existence being defined by televised announcements from the Scottish Parliaments. We tuned in yesterday as the First Minister set out new restrictions that had a particular focus on the central belt. Whatever we have been doing, it has not been enough to curb the rising numbers. As a reaction, pubs and restaurants in Glasgow and across the central belt will close tomorrow and remain shut until 26th October. Takeaway businesses will be able to continue to operate. We are told this short, sharp intervention could act as a form of reset and mitigate against further restrictions deeper into the winter. For now, it’s back to Saturday night Zoom quizzes, Deliveroo dinners and takeaway cocktails. 



Gorbals soft drink makers Rapscallion Soda have added a new seasonal Scottish flavour to brighten up the autumn. I highly recommend seeking out the new Cranachan can, available online and from local independent cafes until December. Raspberries, toasted oats, lemon zest, star anise, raw organic and cane sugar. Enjoy on its own or pour into a large gin. 


Glasgow Restaurant Power List: Dennistoun Takeover 

1 Mesa 

Cafe Strange Brew’s Laurie MacMillan and fellow chef Andrea Bartolini opened Mesa last year winning plaudits for their all-day brunch menu. Currently offering limited sit-in and takeaway options. Contributing to Dennistoun’s level of cool.  

2 Redmond’s 

One of the founding members of Dennistoun’s cool new wave. You’ll find a warm welcome, a fine selection of craft beer, ramen, gyoza and impressive bao buns. Go visit tonight. 

3 Rawnchy 

One of the city’s best raw food and vegan cafes. Now serving a new savoury menu and one of the local brunch bunch. 

4 Tibo 

A neighbourhood cafe where you can pop in for a coffee, cure a hangover with brunch or assemble a selection of small plates for a long lunch. 

5 Dennistoun BBQ

Bookies, booze shops and barbers remain prevalent on Duke Street, but there is also pretty epic burgers. The food has American sensibilities but the attitude is pure Glasgow. Open for takeaway.