Mono is an independent music, arts, drinking and dining hotspot, with a vegan café-bar, record store, concert venue and gallery all under one big domed roof. You can spend a whole day there, from lunchtime until last orders.
Opened in 2002, in the corner of the Merchant City’s old railway arches-based King’s Court retail development (home to several good independent shops – yet another reason to visit), Mono is the flagship of a family of similarly minded venues in Glasgow, including Stereo, The Old Hairdressers, The Flying Duck and The 78.
While art gallery and shop Good Press and record store Monorail (the latter co-operated by members of much-loved Glasgow band The Pastels) are independently run from within the premises, they’re very much part of the community vibe, and help maintain a steady buzz of people coming and going throughout the day. The food at Mono gets better year upon year. Whether you’re a dedicated vegan or a meat-eater in the mood for a little change, you’ll find main courses such as nasi goreng with Malaysian-style fried rice or the irresistibly flavoursome and generously proportioned spicy seitan burger.
If there’s a criticism it’s perhaps that when there isn’t a gig or some kind of event on (DJs play every weekend), it can feel a little quiet come the evening. Though that’s probably due to the sheer size of the place as much as anything. As a concert venue it can be found a little wanting at times – lacking an in-house PA system, sound-quality is inconsistent. But the calibre of artists booked here – often cult and left field bands and singer-songwriters or experimental noise artists – keeps Mono at the very heart and soul of the Glasgow music scene.
Every great music city should have a place like this.