Recently we asked our readers if someone was in Glasgow for one night, what they would recommend they do. Among the many suggestions – all of which were fantastic – many of you suggested visiting a certain pub on Drury Street.

“Go to the Horseshoe Bar,” one said.

Someone replied that they “love” the bar and said it was an “amazing place”, while another revealed that they had spent part of their stag do there in 1980.

Glasgow Times: The Horseshoe Bar in Glasgow is one of many owned by Mitchells & Butlers  Picture: Stewart Attwood

Another simply said: “You’re not a Weegie if you haven’t drunk in the Horseshoe Bar.”

The pub dates back to 1846 when William Turnbull, a local spirits dealer, moved into the building, but the licence would change several times over the years before being taken over by cavalry captain John Scoullar in 1885. A fan of equine names, Scoullar named it the Horseshoe Bar.

It was a typical gin palace with its Victorian-era decor, and it has remained largely unchanged today. 

Glasgow Times:

When it was taken over in the early 1900s by John Young Whyte, he decided to extend the bar. It has since been cemented in the Guinness Book of World Records ever since for being one of the longest bars in the world at 104 feet and three inches.

In fact, that the bar is so long that legend has it when the popular Western film star Roy Rogers visited Glasgow in the 1950s, he rode his horse Trigger right around it.

In terms of famous punters, the actor and his steed are the tip of the iceberg. Sir Billy Connolly has enjoyed a pint there, TV chef Keith Floyd spoke of his love for their meat pies, and it is popular with big names in the music industry including Del Amitri, Deacon Blue and Travis, whose story actually began there.

Glasgow Times:

Drummer Neil Primrose was working behind the bar at the Horseshoe when he told his friend Fran Healy about a band who played there. They were called Glass Onion and when Healy saw them, he wanted to join. The group regularly used the Horseshoe Bar as an early rehearsal space and their gold discs are still on display today.

Another famous face who loves the bar is American singer Billy Joel, who visited in 1998 while he was on tour with Elton John. His chauffeur-driven Mercedes stopped right outside the pub, and he along with his partner and crew members popped in for a drink.

“I found this place when I played Glasgow in 1994,” he said. “We were driving, and we went past the lane and my sound man, Brian Ruggles, told the driver to back up.

“I saw the little horse’s head sign and I knew straight away this place was going to be good, so we just walked in.

“It’s got atmosphere, a good vibe and they draw a nice beer as well.”

Glasgow Times:

The Horseshoe Bar’s connection to music continues upstairs in the lounge bar, which started life as a cabaret experience and has since evolved into the karaoke spot in the city. Atomic Kitten has performed there, and it was a regular stomping ground for Stars in Their Eyes winner Gary Mullen and Pop Idol star Michelle McManus.

In the late 1980s, the bar was listed as a category A building of importance, and, judging by our readers’ comments, is still a much-loved pub in Glasgow in 2023.