This Ashton Lane fixture was way ahead of the curve in bringing a taste of continental beer culture to Glasgow when it opened in 1996. It’s named after legendary Belgian crooner Jacques Brel, after all, and specialises in that other great export from the low countries – strong beer.
Besides blockbusting Belgian brews, Brel also does a huge variety of beers from Scotland and around the world, including local brands Williams Bros, WEST and the excellent Kelburn Ales. Just be warned – prices for certain brands can be high, so be sure to consult their handy menu before you order.
Situated in an old couch house, Brel has undergone a substantial and successful facelift over the last few years, but still retains much of its trademark, easy-going charm. The conservatory to the rear has been fully purposed as a dining area, with the stage now removed (farewell, live music). There’s also now a covered seated section in the beer garden – which, once just a bare grassy slope, is now well equipped with benches and chairs.
As well as the conservatory, the Brel bistro spans both a mezzanine and a small room upstairs (which can be booked privately). Again on the Belgian theme, moules frites is a house speciality. If you don’t like mussels with your chips, you can opt for langoustine instead, or steak, or chicken, or a burger, or battered pollock or hake. If you don’t like chips... well, who doesn’t like chips?