10 infamous Glasgow nightclubs that shaped a generation
Glasgow’s nightlife has seen hundreds, possibly even thousands of bars and nightclubs come and go the way of the Dodo. In this article let’s look back at some of the clubs, a generation of people will have fond memories of staggering out of.
How many do you dare admit to visiting?
10. Destiny/Sea Nightclub, Cambridge Street
The Ned kingdom. Literally, everybody of a certain generation went to Destiny for their first night out in Glasgow. Its distinctive front door, glass pane entrance and awaiting inside was a coliseum of hormones and egos. If an 18 year old was to design a nightclub, Destiny would come pretty close to the finished outcome, plenty of cheap WKD rip off VK, foam parties, shot girls, sticky floors and sticky fingers was the order of the night. Ian Van Dahl, Kelly Llorenna or home spun DJ’s playing horrendous music that would make a chipmunk blush. Don’t believe anyone when they tell you they didn’t enjoy it though. Friendships were forged on the fiery floors of Destiny. On Saturday nights, Destiny was the place to be.
9. Moon/Rooftops, Sauchiehall Street
The carbuncle of nightclubs, truly truly horrific, a walking fire hazard, (seriously some woman set it on fire in 1977) warm bottled alcopops, flat beer, narrow gloomy staircase leading to the dance-floor/war-zone. Homegrown DJ’s playing music you wouldn’t torture a prisoner with and the regulars? Put it like this, their scars had scars. No one in the history of the world had ever been refused entry. If you managed it, you may as well have just given up on life.
8. Bonkers, Hope Street
Famous in Glasgow, (or should that be infamous) for the place to go for a square go, management were constantly battling with the authorities who longed for the day Bonkers shut its doors for good. Arguably the worst nightclub for trouble in Glasgow. Bonkers was similar to a war-zone. The owners however argued that because the vast majority of trouble and social disorder took place outside the venue, they were not responsible for it. Authorities disagreed, Bonkers lost its license.
7. Archaos, Queen Street
Archaos, a weekday warriors dream. Tended to be easier to gain admission than about 90% per cent of Glasgow clubs. The music was quite similar to Destiny however a little less mainstream perhaps. Some of the (horror) stories emanating from Archaos were someone allegedly being stabbed in the street after an under 18’s night. Charlie Sheen also spent a night in Archaos partying with Paul Gascoigne. Later that night he apparently tried to by a gun. There was also the infamous double bed in the premises. First thoughts were, would be legendary to make use of it, although upon repeated appearances at the club the thought swiftly turned to repulsion. No one could have ever lived down an Archaos baby conceived on its musty sheets.
6. Rock Gardens (R.G’s), Queen Street
Achingly hip, way before the birth of the hipster movement. Rock Garden’s became RG’s (forceable name change following slight copyright infringement). Arguably the birth of the alternate music scene in modern day Glasgow, R.G’s was brilliant for a quick pint if the stresses of being a student got too much. Music was heavily rock orientated, but a great place to meet up before a big night out. Became Twisted Wheel.
5. The Sports Cafe, Sauchiehall Street
The Sports Cafe on Sauchiehall Street gained the unfortunate fame of being the first club in Glasgow to be forcibly closed by the licensing board following a twelve man mass brawl. During the day Sports Cafe was a relatively placid premises. Decent food at decent prices and plenty of pool tables and amusements. As the night progressed however, the pool cues began to look less like instruments to participate in round of pool and more like fully available weaponised batons. They regularly showed the boxing as well, imagine a wild west saloon where they hand you the guns and you’re halfway there.
4. Cleopatra’s, Great Western Road
Cleopatras (or Clatty Pats to local patrons), kind of gives you an idea of the quality of decor inside. Verging on the good side of seedy (if there is one) Cleopatras was a staple of a nights out on Great Western Road in the late 80’s and 90’s.
3. Frankenstein 1818, West George Street
A little pricey but an excellent place for bar staff to spend their well earned tips, 3am license, always packed, decent grub at lunchtime as well and their test tube shots were legendary. Frankenstein’s “Is alivvvvve” in Edinburgh and Aberdeen (sorry). Frankie’s might be gone in Glasgow, but still lives on.
2. Karbon, Buchanan St
The ultimate VIP hangout for footballers wannabe wags and cardboard gangsters in Glasgow. Karbon was to this generation what Victoria’s (Ironically owned by the same person) was to the previous. Where Victoria’s had Charlie “champagne” Nicholas and page 3 models. Karbon had the new breed of wannabe wags and Old Firm footballers. As with many popular haunts in Glasgow, Karbon soon drew squabbles, complaints and violence. From 2008 to 2011 there were 450 incidents reported to police and eventually the club was forced to shut.
1. Boho, Dumbarton Road
Boho was the wannabe hipster hangout, in the West End. Popular with Glasgow University students and open minded folk in Glasgow’s reborn Dumbarton Road. Famous for its sparkly interior design Boho aimed for the high class glitterati of the Glasgow nightclub scene, (footballers, rich and famous etc) eventually it was dragged down by the other side of Glasgow’s nightlife. Boho’s cheap drinks, popular music and various themed nights helped increase the West End’s popularity, showing there was more to the West End than Ashton Lane. Will be remembered for its very distinctive hedge sign and front exterior.
So Glasgow where did you first have your spiritual nightclub awakening? Fill us in with the info below