A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: B62 Glassford Street
This, with the Portland Arms, is one of Glasgow’s two well-preserved Art Deco pubs, refitted by new owners, the Taylor family, in 1949. The frontage is clad in Vitrolite panelling and has frosted glass windows (one replaced in 2006). The interior is gloriously complete with veneer-panelled walls, and original gantry and counter. There is a small sitting room on the left with more panelling, fixed seating and bell-pushes. Here a stained glass panel window depicts the Cunard liner RMS Queen Mary, launched on the Clyde in 1936: a Spitfire flies above, no doubt the choice of Thomas Taylor who had flown with Coastal Command and Transport Command in the war. It is said that much of the woodwork was a mock-up of part of the Queen Mary displayed at the huge 1938 Empire Exhibition in Glasgow and was stored during the war by a firm of builders known to the Taylors, although the official programme for the exhibition makes no mention of, or advertisement for such an exhibit. The only changes have been the replacement of floor coverings, the new gents’ at the rear and the addition of a 1950s ladies’ for the first time (hence the Formica-panelled walls, as also found at the Laurieston Bar).
This city centre bar is an amazing survivor; refitted in 1938, it has barely altered since. It is one of three impressive 1930s Art Deco survivors in Glasgow - the others being the Portland Arms, also in this guide, and Rogano's an upmarket seafood restaurant and bar. Situated in the ground floor of a late 18th-century four-storey building, the bar has been owned by the same family for 40 years; its name comes from the two steps into the pub. Has an Art Deco frontage of Vitrolite panelling and frosted glass window, one of which was replaced in 2006.
The interior is complete with sleek veneer-panelled walls, the original back gantry of Australian walnut, and the original bar counter. The hooped stall on the counter indicates an area for use only by bar staff offering waiter service to the customers in the splendid sitting room at the rear left. This small room has more sleek veneer panelled walls, original fixed seating and a stained glass window depicting the Cunard liner the R.M.S. Queen Mary, built at Clydebank and launched in 1936: an aeroplane flies above. The bell-pushes worked until recently and table service was provided (a shame this rare institution has been discontinued). The only major physical changes have been the replacement of floor coverings, the new gents' toilets at the rear and the adding of a ladies' for the first time in the 1950s (the toilets have Formica panelling on the walls as at the Laurieston Bar on Bridge Street).
Other surviving Art Deco interiors can be found at these Heritage Pubs Three Pigeons, Halifax, West Yorkshire; Vale Hotel, Arnold, Nottinghamshire; Test Match, West Bridgeford, Nottinghamshire; Duke (of York), Bloomsbury, London WC1; Portland Arms, Glasgow; and Frews Bar, Dundee; in the Sporting Memories Lounge.