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Cosy, uncomplicated boozer with an open fire and some great American craft beers and European lagers on tap
After a brief crack at the gastro game, The Belle is back to concentrating on what it does best: being one of the West End’s cosiest wee pubs. Once a spit-and-sawdust boozer called The Western, this Great Western Road establishment these days attracts a mixed clientele from suits, fashionistas and students (ranging closer to the postgraduate end of the spectrum) to dogs – there always seems to be at least one dog in – all rubbing shoulders in living-room sized confines. Expect chat from more than just your immediate company during a long session.
The open fire – which together with mismatched retro tables and chairs and stags’ heads on the wall adds up to an aesthetic neatly balanced between hip and homey – keeps the place so warm that a blast of cold air when the door opens can come as a relief. The steamy windows always make it look enticing from outside on cold days. The benches in the windows are an ideal perch for whiling away the hours people watching, quietly reading a book or playing chess on the house set. During the warmer months, there are tables and chairs outside on the street, and there’s also a greenery-shrouded microscopic beer garden (more of a smoking den) out the back.
The Belle’s pints aren’t the cheapest, but they do boast a few quality beers rarely seen on draft in Glasgow – American brews Anchor Steam and Brooklyn Lager the best among them – as well as a variety of good, crisp continental lagers including Krusovice and Sagres. There’s always a decent value malt of the month on for around £3. A Tunnock’s Tea Cake or bowl of cashew nuts is the best you’ll do for food, but Bei & Nannini coffees at only 99p a cup offer some limited non-alcoholic refreshment.