'A big loss to a community': Historic Glasgow pub the Old College Bar demolished following fire

One of Glasgow’s oldest pubs known for its karaoke has been demolished following a fire last month.

The Old College Bar on High Street Glasgow (Photo: Liam @parcelorogues).
The Old College Bar on High Street Glasgow (Photo: Liam @parcelorogues).

The Old College Bar, which is understood to have been built in 1815, was demolished on Wednesday morning, June 16.

Bulldozers were seen tearing the 19th century building apart after firefighters worked through the night to fight a fire which ripped through several buildings in Glasgow’s High Street on May 4.

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No-one was injured, however the damage caused meant that work to demolish the buildings affected was regarded a necessity.

The wreckage left following the pub's demolition (Photo: Agent Weston @paulweston00).

A police investigation was launched to understand the full circumstances surrounding the blaze.

Commenting on the loss of the famous pub, Norry Wilson who runs popular online history forum Lost Glasgow, said: “It is a big loss to that wee bit of community on the High Street, because it was the only pub of its kind on that end with generations of locals.

"Even folk that had long ago moved away would still head back in and head for the College Bar, because it was where they came as teenagers or where their mums and dads had drunk.”

Owned by businessman Colin Beattie, the Old College Bar was originally closed in the first lockdown and never reopened due to Covid restrictions.

The Old College Bar was located near the University of Strathclyde in the city centre of Glasgow (Photo: Agent Weston @paulweston00).

Mr Wilson added: “If you were ever in it on a Saturday afternoon where they used to have the Karaoke on, it was just hilarious.

"The whole place would be absolutely bouncing- women in their sixties and seventies up dancing on the tables. It was an absolute mad house.”

However, Mr Wilson also commented that for the last 10 or 15 years the pub has been “staggering on” and said reports of it being Glasgow’s oldest pub were false.

He said: "While being one of the oldest pubs in Glasgow, it’s by no stretch of the imagination the oldest pub in Glasgow.

"The only two which are comparable are the Scotia on Stockwell Street which was established around 1792 and the Clutha, where the helicopter disaster was.

"It is an old pub, but it being the oldest pub in Glasgow is complete nonsense.”

According to Glasgow City Council planning applications, housing with ground level shops is planned for the site where the pub once stood.

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