Changes in Scotland’s drinking culture and shifting attitudes towards alcohol can be tracked in some of the country’s pubs which have listed building status.
The Horseshoe, Drury Street, Glasgow
The Horseshoe is not only a Glasgow institution but a Grade A listed building. Little of the highly elaborate interior has changed since the early 20th Century.
No architect has yet been connected to the Horseshoe but one theory is that publican John Scouller, who purchased it in 1884, may have put his love of horses into its design.
Two other pubs owned by Scouller, the Snaffle Bar in Howard Street and the Spur in Polmadie Street, had similar horse themes.
The Horseshoe is also considered a trailblazer with its island bar, which became a must for higher class Glasgow pubs from the 1890s. It helped to meet new licensing laws that demanded publicans keep a better eye on customers, while also allowing for quick service. The Horseshoe was the talk of Scottish publicans with many travelling from Inverness and Aberdeen to cast an eye over Scouller’s pride,. Some took measurements and borrowed from its design.
Historic Scotland has noted that by the early 1900s its was as popular with “prosperous merchants as with humble clerks” and it its appeal today is as broad as ever.
The Clep, Clepington Road, Dundee
The Clep might look a tad austere from the outside but open the door and you will find one of the best surviving post war pubs in Scotland. Built in 1941, possibly by city architect J MacLellan Brown as part of a wider stretch of commercial premises, its proudly stands with its original tile facade and sign above the door.Inside remains largely unchanged, with the lounge, bar and bottle and jug - or off sales counter - remaining as they would have been. Look out for the pre-decimal cash register and the bells in the lounge that could be pressed for service. Remarkably, they still work and can be used from time to time in the lounge to get drinks brought to your table.
The Railway Tavern, Shettleston, Glasgow
This little local boasts a big history with a pub on this side since 1806. Its 19th century island bar remains largely complete as does its jug bar - also known as the family department - for buying drink to take home. Customers were often women or even children.
Historians have noted the glazed and timber partitions, original snugs and central gantry remain unchanged and the pub is a category B listed building. An old bell box signals that table service was once part of time spent at The Railway.
Bennets Bar, Leven Street, Edinburgh
Bennets Bar was born in 1906 on the back of the new King’s Theatre, which rose from the site of the Taylor MacLeod brewery next door.
The owner George Lyle had already been serving up drink for thirsty punters in the snug, or jug bar - the off-licences of the day - but the arrival of Bennets created one of the capital’s finest pubs where little has changed in more than 100 years.
Now a Grade B listed building, it is the last pub in the city with an original gantry featuring four spirit casks. A recent CAMRA guide on Scottish pub interiors noted the marble spittoon trough, where drinkers and smokers could clear their throats, and the two working brass water taps.
On the left by the entrance is the intact tiny jug and bottle, complete with hatch, one of the few left in the city.
Prestoungrange Gothenburg, Prestonpans
Completely restored between 2002 and 2004, The Goth sprang from the Gothenburg-led movement for alcohol control amid growing concern over the drunkenness of the Scottish working class.
Moderate campaigners wanted “reformed pubs” as an alternative to the palace establishments, which they feared snared the working man with their oppulent surrounds. Calls were made for plainer interiors, food, soft drinks and more female customers. These campaigners looked to the example set in Gothenburg in Sweden where from 1865 the trade was in the hands of a trust company and the town received most of the profits.
The Gothenburg model particularly thrived in mining communities in the Lothians and Fife but The Goth is only oney of three remaining pubs of its kind.
The Goth was established in 1908 with the aim of limiting alcohol consumption and managfers were paid bonuses for the sale of food and soft drinks. Restoration of the The Prestoungrange Gothenburg was hailed The Best Pub Conservation in the UK in 2005 by CAMRA and English Heritage. Notable features include the arts and crafts tiling and fireplaces plus the handcrafted sweeping interior staircase.
Barony Bar, Broughton Street, Edinburgh
Situated on the ground floor of an 1804 four-storey tenement, its impressive teak frontage shields a 1899 interior design by John Forrester. He brought colourful wall-tiling to this city centre establishmed, The original bar and back gantry of oak remain. The pub has two Victorian tiled fireplaces decorative ceiling brackets and cornice completing this richly decorated drinking place. Originally, the right-hand front door of this Grade B listed building led to a jug and bottle and there were a couple of snugs at the rear