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The Horse Shoe, Glasgow

19 Drury Street
G2 5AE

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Pub Type

Oak Tree (Mitchells & Butlers)

Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about The Horse Shoe

A traditional pub located in a small side street, but nonetheless just a very short stroll from several main thoroughfares, it has some quite ornate touches internally, but is clearly in need of a little TLC with sections of ceiling showing evidence of water ingress, and one section being covered up with hardboard where it has presumably collapsed completely.

Décor wise it’s quite traditional, with a mixture of quarry and Victorian style tiling on the floor. It’s a single open plan room with a high ceiling and a large central bar counter taking up much of the pub, to the extent that in some places the remaining space was little more than a passageway. Plenty of stools were provided so punters could sit here. Elsewhere was some padded bench seating. Quite ornately carved and dark wooden panelling covered the lower part of the walls, with pale painted wallpaper above. A number of tall supporting pillars had some quite elaborate cornice work around the top, and there was also some stained glass panelling in the roof. It must have been quite something in it’s heyday. A number of TV’s were dotted around, and although the volume was on low this was rather overshadowed by the music. Large mirrors covered much of the back wall, and there were a few old black and white photographs around.

Beers on tap were Deuchars IPA, London Pride and Doom Bar, whilst the ciders were just Strongbow and Strongbow Dark Fruit, unfortunately. A pretty decent pub overall, although with a bit of investment to bring it up to scratch and a better choice of cider it could really be top notch.

On 2nd March 2020 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1749 recommendations about 1684 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Old Boots left this review about The Horse Shoe

Classic Glasgow bar famous for the longest counter which snakes around the middle of the square bar. Second claim to fame is karoke apparently. Four pulls of mainly national (UK) stuff but not bad as it’s a Nicholsons pub. Loads of big screens ruining the otherwise tasteful Victorian decor.

On 16th July 2018 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2299 recommendations about 2130 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Horse Shoe

This is a pretty spectacular heritage pub in the city centre which holds a claim to have the longest bar counter in Britain. The servery dominates the pub, running in something approximating a keyhole shape, through the centre of the pub, with numerous rooms, now mostly opened out, fanning off around it. The pub’s splendour is generally attributed to the efforts of former landlord John Young Whyte who took ownership of the pub in 1923 and installed many of the horse themed items still seen today. Fittingly, his initials appear etched into small glass panes around the servery, which is a dark wood beauty topped with a marvellous gantry which holds some spectacular vases and has a selection of quotes printed on the inside. The bar back has a few numbered whisky barrel ends set into it, but it’s unclear if they were ever functional in their present location. The extent of the servery means that space for seating is fairly restricted, with only a few notable pockets here and there as you walk around the bar. To the front for example, there are a few upturned barrels to rest your pint on, but that’s about all. Further back, decent bench and chair options appear in some pretty dark corners and those in the right hand side of the pub still retain bell pushes above the benches. Several smart fireplaces have been dotted around the room, most of which are horseshoe shaped. The back wall is dominated by some quite incredible pub mirrors which are well worth a look, plus a few black and white photos of the pub back in the day and a marvellous pub clock. Elsewhere, decorative panels, ceramic tiles, brewery mirrors and more photos round out the rather special decor of this impressively fitted pub. Several TV screens were showing a muted sports channel whilst pop music played quietly in the background. There is an upstairs lounge which was given a thorough refurbishment in 2015, but I didn’t visit on this occasion. Apparently a former landlord used to let the band Travis rehearse in this room during their rise to stardom.
The pub is more famous for its pies than its beer, having sold locally sourced pies for many years until owners Mitchell and Butlers, put an end to this practise, opting for frozen pies from a national supplier instead – an issue which I believe remains unresolved to this day. They did have three cask ales on when I arrived though – Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted, Caledonian Deuchars IPA and Inveralmond Lia Fail. The latter set me back £3.25 for a pint and was in reasonable shape, served to me by a very pleasant barmaid.
I really enjoyed visiting this place and loved the novelty of the crazy servery as well as the numerous items of historic interest which thankfully M&B haven’t managed to totally ruin as yet. The beer is decent enough to make this place worth the odd look in every now and again and I would certainly have no complaints if I were to find myself back here again.

On 27th April 2018 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2545 recommendations about 2545 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

grant bjorkelund left this review about The Horse Shoe Bar

One of Scotland's best pubs and certainly miles ahead of any pub in Glasgow, longest bar i have seen, always busy, have to wait to get a seat upstairs, good selection of ales and i always loved this bar, a cracker, if you walk past you will miss it.

On 16th October 2016 - rating: 10
[User has posted 21 recommendations about 20 pubs]

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Peter Rydings left this review about The Horse Shoe Bar

Its a must to call in known all over

On 15th February 2013 - rating: 10
[User has posted 948 recommendations about 917 pubs]

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hondo . left this review about The Horse Shoe Bar

Tucked away on a side street. Large island bar serves 4 real ales and food. Original fittings retained and an upstairs area that i didn't visit.

On 20th August 2012 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2756 recommendations about 2699 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Horse Shoe Bar

Doesn't look that much from the street, but this pub's famous interior is certainly well worth looking at. Much of the furniture and decor around the substantial island bar is of interest, but it was very crowded and one probably needs several visits to take it all in. On the downside, the slot machines and innumerable TV screens detract somewhat from the otherwise traditional feel. Despite the length of the bar, I could only find three real ales on offer - Deuchars IPA, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted and Hop Back Taiphoon (£2.40).

On 28th January 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6205 recommendations about 6205 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about The Horse Shoe Bar

One of Glasgow’s best known pubs thanks to its historic interior. Originally built in 1870 the pub was given its present name 1884 by the owner of the time who had a fondness of horses and named all his pubs with an equine theme. The pub underwent a couple of refits after opening, the last being in 1901 which left the pub pretty much with the layout we see today however the mosaic floor is a 1980’s addition and for some inexplicable reason, the current owners, Mitchell & Butler, saw fit to replace the old patterned windows at the front with plain glass in 2007. Despite this, the pub has retained its place on the CAMRA Inventory of Historic Interiors.

Internally, the pub is dominated by the large central island bar (horse shoe shaped naturally), claimed to be the longest continuous bar in the UK (104ft 3in) although my understanding (and more importantly that of the Guinness Book of Records) gives this distinction to the Falcon in Clapham (125 feet). Of note are the spirit barrels on the bar gantry with dual dispensing taps although these have been largely for decoration since they were last used in the 1930’s. The décor also includes some wonderful personalized mirrors at the rear above an unusual horseshoe shaped fireplaces. A padded bench also caught my eye with its ornate headboard containing a calling bell. Also look out for the 3 tiled plaques on the wall representing Spring, Summer and Autumn (Winter has unfortunatey disappeared).

On the beer front, there were 4 ales available, Brains Rev James, Caledonian Deuchars and 2 from Harviestoun, Bitter & Twisted and Natural Blond. Not the best selection in town but very reasonably priced (the Natural Blond set me back £2.40). Food was also similarly bargain basement with main courses starting at £3 and the most expensive dishes around £8. Such prices tend to attract and the place was certainly lively and vibrant despite my visit being in what should have been a quiet period. At peak times I would imagine it being quite uncomfortable.

Being so well known it does have a tourist element and souvenir t-shirts mounted on the wall do look a bit tacky. The front section had a couple of incongruous fruit/games machines that would perhaps be better suited to being a little more discreet as it distracts from the first impressions as you walk in. There is a modern upstairs bar which I didn’t spot at the time but I get the impression that it doesn’t particularly enhance the pub’s more worthy attributes.

In short, it is a must visit if you haven’t been before but once the initial appeal has gone, it remains a more functional pub good for a couple of pints if passing by.

On 18th January 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

E TA left this review about The Horse Shoe Bar

The Horse Shoe is a very lively, usually crowded town bar selling decent real ale, usually well kept and served by friendly staff. That said it's not my favourite Glasgow pub by a long shot, due to its crowded nature and the hoards who congregate around the door for a smoke, often making it difficult to get in. My last visit saw off a very fine pint of Deuchres, so if you can brave the crowds, it's worth a visit.

On 1st March 2010 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2608 recommendations about 2576 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Jack Muckto left this review about The Horse Shoe Bar

The Horse Shoe sums up Glasgow, style, friendliness, and character…I love it!

On 3rd April 2005 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 7 recommendations about 7 pubs]