When it comes to the west end, Hillhead takes the glory for its famous subway station and the beating heart that is Byres Road, Hyndland the reputation for stunning tenement suburbs and Kelvinbridge the scenic parks and the river. But what about Partick?
The poorer relation has so much going on in one street alone (granted, Dumbarton Road is a long street) and all without the pretensions and the prices of its richer neighbours.
There are certain things all Partick dwellers know, from the best breakfast in town to the only place to be on a Wednesday night – and where to pick up a free margarita shot with dinner.
1. It’s the west end, but cooler
The west end is gorgeous, but it does have something of a snooty reputation. Enter Partick; the edgier neighbour who doesn’t care what you’re studying at Glasgow Uni or where your shoes are from. Much like Govan, Partick used to be its own borough, and it retains that village feel. It’s within walking distance of Hillhead but without the hubbub, and lifers live alongside a transient student population like one big happy Partick family.
2. Partick is pub central
Now we’re not going to say for definite that Partick has more pubs than any other stretch of Glasgow. Many a count has been attempted, but head out on a pub crawl along Dumbarton Road and you’ll be sozzled by the time you hit the train station. Almost every second doorway offers a welcoming watering hole, from the hipster buzz of The Sparkle Horse and whisky haven the Lios Mor right along to traditional boozers like Deoch an Dorus and the quirky St Louis Cafe Bar. Visitors, we hope you can hold your liquor.
3. You can fill your boots for breakfast
Glaswegians travel far and wide for a taste of TriBeCa. Dumbarton Road’s version remains the original and best, offering up plentiful portions of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, monumental snow blizzards (where drink meets dessert) and the usual towering burger and fries options. It’s good any time of day, but Partick dwellers know that breakfast time is best for a visit – if you can get a table, that is.
4. Or tuck into the best hangover cure in the land
Feeling a tad fragile? We hear you. The Rio Cafe‘s rio grande breakfast is all there is for it. Let’s run through it: eggs done as you like them, bacon, sausage, mushroom, tomato, hash brown, potato scone, black pudding, beans – did we miss anything? Probably – it’s always one of those mornings. The 50s style diner and bar is a Partick institution, and locals are as likely to end up there for slam poetry or an after-school milkshake – but its true power remains somewhere between the first crunch of the hash brown and the very last bean.
5. You can still eat out even when strapped for cash
Forget the overpriced delis and rent-through-the-roof restaurants of Byres Road – Partick residents have Cullis’s. A family-run diner, hungry passers by can pick up a hot filled roll for £1.50, or sit in and indulge in a main meal for £6.50 at most. Or, head along the street and you’ll find Indian Cottage‘s lunch buffet – all you can eat for under a fiver Monday to Saturday, and incredibly tasty too. You’re welcome.
6. The main street has some famous curiosities
Has anyone ever actually set foot in the Partick institution that is Glamorous Geggies? Regardless, visitors and natives alike have been snapping pictures of its bizarre yet beloved frontage for years. Don’t let the travelling show signage fool you – this long-established business is a bone fide provider of dentures and dental repairs, not to mention the occasional gruesome set when Halloween rolls around. Belle and Sebastian featured it in the video for ‘Come On Sister’ – perhaps proof that the band are fans too.
7. It’s a graffiti hotspot
Gable end murals have been springing up around Glasgow of late – and Partick has some crackers. From the Commonwealth Games-inspired sports pieces overlooking Morrisons to those hidden behind tenement rows just waiting to be found, we’re not short of artwork to admire.
8.There used to be a cinema on every corner (and some are still lingering)A tour of Glasgow’s cinematic history earlier this year revealed something even die-hard Partick dwellers may not know. The area was once dotted with plush picture houses, and one remains – if a little hidden away. Head along Dumbarton Road and you’d be forgiven for walking by the British Heart Foundation furniture shop – but the myth is that the Rosevale is there above that generic shop ceiling, still intact. And if those walls could talk…
9. The football club has a headline-worthy mascot…
We’ll just leave this photo here. Oh, ok – here’s the story to go along with it. When Partick Thistle unveiled its David Shrigley-designed critter Kingsley, the city winced, called for buckets of holy water and compared him to Lisa Simpson coming off a long bout on Heisenberg’s big blue. Art? Publicity stunt? Either way, football punters aren’t likely to forget Partick for a while.
10. …even though the club doesn’t actually play there
Ah Partick, out of towners nod. We’ve heard of the mighty Partick Thistle. Perhaps – but if you’re hoping to grab a drink on Dumbarton Road before a match then you’ll be sorely disappointed. The Jags haven’t been Partick residents since 1908. Firhill Stadium lies to the north, in the wilds of Maryhill. We know – it’s just not the same.
11. Cartoons are taken seriously
The G.I Bride takes pride of place in Partick Station in honour of Bud Neill, one of Partick’s more famous sons. A Lobey Dosser statue at Woodlands just wasn’t enough of a nod to the Scottish cartoonist – and so SPT commissioned a piece especially for the revamped train and subway station. This Glesga wifey was often pictured with her wean in arms and thumbing for a lift ‘the length o’ Pertick’ – so she’s no doubt happy to have made it home.
12. Famous faces have stayed there
And speaking of famous inhabitants, Partick has its fair share of well kent faces. Anderston may claim Billy Connelly, but the comedian spent his formative years further up the Clyde in this neighbourhood. The Sparkle Horse is a regular indie music band haunt – and it’s even run by a contingent of 90s indie poppers Bis. Then there’s the rumour that some of the Franz Ferdinand boys lived in a Dumbarton Road tenement before they made it big. Star central? We think so.
13. The weekend starts on Wednesday
Nowadays, one of Partick’s biggest celebrities sports a sequinned blazer and a record sleeve with The Beast written on it. Partick regulars know that the Bar Gallus pub quiz, and the legendary Sir James, are the best in town for booze, banter, bad jokes and a competition you’ll actually have a chance of winning, assuming you remember your noughties pop culture. More importantly, Partick punters know never to touch the money before going up against The Beast. You have been warned.
14. There are free margarita shots to be had
If only Mexican will do then Bibi’s Cantina is up there with the best. The tiny restaurant at the Thornwood end of Dumbarton Road is famed for its tasty burritos and tequila-marinated fish – not to mention complimentary frozen margarita shots for every table. It’s hospitality in Partick fashion, and neighbours and incomers alike keep going back for it.
15. Tiki cocktails are all the rage
Sure, there are pubs aplenty serving up tasty traditional beers – but sometimes, you have to get a little fruity. The Pacific are there to serve – serve delicious concoctions in a series of outlandish cups, that is. It’s not cheap – in fact, it’s west end prices encroaching on Partick’s turf – but a strong Zombie in a decorative mug is a novelty we’re willing to buy into once in a while.
16. The charity shops are treasure troves
There’s no shortage of charity shops along Dumbarton Road, not to mention more than one pre-loved designer goody shop. From records you have to have to clothing you didn’t know you needed, there’s no way you’re coming away from a casual browse in the Salvation Army or British Heart Foundation empty handed. Is it posh Hyndland folk bringing their second hand wares down the hill? Whatever the reason, just keep it coming.
17. Sunday is jazz day
Head to The Three Judges on any Sunday and – assuming you can get through the door – you’ll be greeted by a large crowd, a live band and an old faithful regular or two jigging in the corner. Grab one of the pub’s many and varied guest ales and settle in for a cosy afternoon – or gie it laldy on the makeshift dancefloor. Your call.
18. There are few better views of the river
The Clyde is still a sight to behold – and Partick has a prime spot. The famous shipyard cranes may be gone, but with one of the working yards across the water, not to mention the stunning architecture of the Riverside Museum, Science Centre and the squinty bridge reflecting downstream, we’re pretty spoiled for sights to see in this corner of Glasgow. Instagram at the ready folks – this is prime amateur snap time.
19. It’s one of the best neighbourhoods in Glasgow
As if we haven’t said enough to convince you. Let’s face it – proximity to the west end without the added posing, square footage of top pubs and food from around the world along the famous Dumbarton Road. What’s not to love?