IT MAY be a long way up for a wee drop, but for this week only an iconic crane will be home to Scotland’s smallest pub.
The wheelhouse of the historic, 107-year-old Titan Crane in Clydebank has been transformed into a cosy bar called The Lion’s Clyde.
Only able to accommodate eight drinkers at a time, the few who land themselves a seat for a drink will find the wheelhouse fitted with a roaring fire, wood panelling, a bar, tables and stools and someone to pour drinks and give a potted history of the crane.
But while the furniture, bar staff and drink are all real, the wall hangings are printed facsimiles and the fire comes courtesy of an LCD screen and DVD.
And of course, there is still the heavy-duty winching mechanism dominating the centre of the room, but apart from that, it is like any other pub.
However, the view from 150ft up is spectacular and if the weather is good customers can take a stroll outside.
Whyte & Mackay has carried out the transformation to mark the whisky label’s 170th anniversary, harking back to the firm’s Clyde roots as the company was formed in its docks by James Whyte and Charles Mackay.
The pub is open until Friday and those wanting to visit will have to book a place on the Lion’s Clyde Facebook page.
Alan Roberston, projects director at Clydebank Rebuilt, which manages the crane, said: “From the Titan Crane perspective, what we’re very keen to do is increase and diversify our various income streams.
“We have the visitors during the summer season, bungee jumpers and abseillers, as well as winning a whole host of international awards, but there is an opportunity now to become a corporate venue.
“This is the first event we’ve had so far, and so we’re delighted to work with a company such as Whyte & Mackay, which has long-established roots in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, as well as being a global brand.”
Although it is already a tourist attraction drawing around 5,000 people a year, Mr Robertson said the crane’s use as a space for corporate events was “the way forward” and that they were open to new ideas for exploiting its potential.
Steven Pearson, global marketing director for Whyte & Mackay, said: “The important thing for us is that this is a great year for Glasgow, we’ve got the Commonwealth Games, the MTV music awards, it gave us a great opportunity for us to celebrate our past but also the present by bringing people together to enjoy a dram at their local.
“The Titan is an iconic part of the Clyde’s history are we’re absolutely delighted to work with them on this unique project.”
The crane was designed originally to be used in the lifting of equipment such as engines and boilers, during the fitting out of battleships and ocean liners at the John Brown shipyard.
It was also the world’s first electrically powered cantilever crane, and the largest crane of its type at the time of its completion.
The crane fell into disuse in the 1980s, and in the intervening period of neglect, the towering workhorse suffered vandalism to the wheelhouse and corrosion to the structure.
The urban regeneration company Clydebank Re-Built started a £3.75 million restoration project in 2005, and the crane opened to the public in August 2007.
The attraction is now Category A listed, the highest listing in Scotland, putting it on a par with Edinburgh and Stirling castles.