The Good Beer Guide is always a reliable source of pubs for me and I’m slowly working my way through as many venues that are listed in it that I reasonably can. For the first time, I’m a little unsure about where it’s recommending me in Glasgow, the choices are sometimes a little generic whilst some really decent places are missed out. I do understand the process for how pubs get listed, which is to do with the local CAMRA group, but the balance seems a bit off here with a focus towards the chains. Anyway, this is another JD Wetherspoon listed pub that is in the book, so I popped in for a quick half.
As for the pub name, I might as well just quite JD Wetherspoon, who note:
“West George Street was once home to every bank and insurance company of note. Among them was the Star Life Assurance Society, which was housed in the building on the site of this Wetherspoon pub. Established in 1824, the Alliance Assurance Company was at 151 West George Street from c1880–c1970. In its early days, the Alliance was managed by Stewart Lawrie. He was also ‘local secretary’ of the Westminster Fire Office, another company at this address.”
This is one of the Lloyds branded pubs which JD Wetherspoon have, so there can be music and other general noise on weekend evenings. During my visit, it was all quite peaceful and quiet. Incidentally, the toilets are really badly signed here, I can’t recall seeing as many customers looking for them as in this pub (they’re downstairs, the entrance to the steps is to the left when entering….)
This was a little bit of a surprise, the Fraoch Heather Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company, who seem to have a deal with the Wetherspoons round here as I’ve seen and tried a few of their beers recently. It was actually something quite innovative and this is apparently a 4,000 year old Scottish style of drink. I can’t say that a heather beer is something that I’ve had before, but it’s quite herby and I liked the strength of the flavours. For a beer that cost £1 for half a pint, this really is quite impressive.
For a Wetherspoons, this is quite a well reviewed pub, so the local management must be pretty decent. Anyway, this was another perfectly good pub and I can see why it’s listed in the Good Beer Guide given the range of well-kept real ales. As for the pub, it could have been a little cleaner, but the staff were friendly and helpful so it seemed a welcoming enough environment.