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“Comfortable Place to Stay, Great Location”
Review of Babbity Bowster

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Babbity Bowster
Ranked #67 of 93 Hotels in Glasgow
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 24, 2006

The rooms are definitely an afterthought at Babbity Bowster. They are very basic. Plain white walls. Very small bathroom with sort of a jury-rigged shower. They did what they needed to do. We slept there and showered there.

Babbity Bowster, itself, was terrific. It is an old style pub. Very friendly staff, great selection of beers. The rooms have keys with big paddles on them, so they aren't meant to be taken out of the place. That didn't matter though, because once you check in, you are free to duck behind the bar and grab the key whenever you want. Being a pub, breakfasts are served a bit later. That meant that we missed ours the day we left for the airport, but that didn't really matter.

The area around Babbity Bowster is getting spiffed up a bit. They were laying new brick roads when we were there, and a lot of restaurants are sprouting up.

Staying at Babbity Bowster was fun. I don't know if I would do it again, I do like my luxuries, but it would be a great place to stay if you like more basic rooms a great pub to call your own.

  • Stayed: June 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank DiamondfromBaltimore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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113 - 119 of 133 reviews

Reviewed March 1, 2006

Touring Scotland as a lone female, I had serious qualms when the cabbie asked me why on earth I had chosen the Bowster rather than a more pretentious place. Truth to tell, it was rumored to be a small, down-to-earth lodging with great food, a university-based clientele, and a convenient location. All of these rumors proved to be blissfully accurate with this caveat: if you came to Glasgow to lurk in your room under a down duvet while ordering room service, this ain't the place for you.
The furnishings are utilitarian, no-frills, mass produced items: a bed, a dresser, and a nightstand. Forget ironing boards, hair-dryers, and tiny coffee makers. No phone, no TV, no mini-bar. The bed linens are clean and so is the bathroom, except for a tiny bit of mold in the chinks of the shower stall that could be dispatched easily enough with a good spray of chlorine bleach. They have the most heavenly soap from the Isle of Arran. Like others before me, I feel a good once-a-month rug shampooing with a Bissell Heat Pro would boost the room's cleanliness rating significantly. Would I stay here again? In a heartbeat. There's a quirky charm that's hard to beat.
It's an easy walk in one direction to the Glasgow Cathedral, the St.Mungo Museum, and the Necropolis; and in the other direction, there's fascinating downtown Glasgow. Frankly, I liked Glasgow more than I liked Edinburgh. Glasgow feels real. It's on the move, recreating itself out of the ashes of the ship-building industry, and once my ears adjusted, I rather fancied the Glaswegian dialect.
I was severely jet-lagged the first few days of my visit (which must be a lot like Altzheimer's, since I felt quite on top of my game, yet persisted in doing and saying stupid things)and the staff at Bowster's were all quite kind and helpful. Apparently they've heard every one of my stupid questions at least once before.
While I didn't eat in the main restaurant, an error to be rectified on my next visit, I made a glutton of myself on the pub grub. The cullen skink, the haggis with tatties and neeps, and the clafoutie dumpling covered with a lovely caramel sauce are, quite frankly, making my mouth water as I type this. Haggis has gotten a bad rap. If you are at all disposed to liver of any kind, chicken livers, or braunschweiger sausage, you will find the merest hint of this flavor in Haggis. (If you desire something truly vile, go to Scandinavia or Minnesota and taste lutefisk.)
The Bowster was once a Robert Adams (famous architect)designed store front that the present owner, Frazier Laurie, and his brother had the foresight to purchase around 30 years ago. They did a remarkable job of saving the facade while gutting the building, then rebuilding the interior and adding a third floor which houses the guest rooms. There's a photo album which chronicles this heroic endeaver. (Also, there's no elevator, so pack lightly. Sadly, I didn't but, luckily for me, chivalry isn't dead in Scotland...although Graham very nearly sustained a hernia.)
The exterior of the Bowster is graced with a number of flower planters which makes it all the more charming. I can hardly wait to be the victim of Mr. Laurie's dry wit or to hear his dulcit tones as he bellows, "GARETH!", rather like Basil Fawlty summoning Manuel to service.
I loved this place.

  • Stayed: August 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
21  Thank PamDor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Bavaria, Germany
Reviewed September 13, 2005

Great place to stay, nice and clean rooms for best value. Located in a quiet street near city center. Friendly staff and owner. Very good food, too (try the haggis!). If you are looking for a mid-range place to stay, or a good pub, don't miss it!

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Boston, MA
Reviewed August 27, 2005

I have been staying at the Babbity Bowster yearly since 1992: found it in a tourist book and took a chance. Everything about it is super: a restored historic building (which is why they have not installed an elevator), simple rooms with no distractions, superb staff willing to haul your bags up two flights of stairs and decline even a pound gratuity (we insisted): every review calls him "the host"...I call him Fraser Laurie. Fraser insists his hostelry is for "travelers" not "tourists" and every night I have spent there has been an absolute adventure. The locals are colorful and high octane, the travelers have just flown in from Norway or Afghanistan or are waiting for a football game of world-class importance. The french chef is a dream come true, the restaurant upstairs is a wonderful treat: a true Taste Of Scotland experience but the pub patrons are equally correct about the quality of the grub. Babbity has even won an award for the plantings in the outdoor garden...a true Scottish experience, SO much fun! Walk to everywhere, I ran into Billy Connelly on the sidewalk during my last visit: his beard was purple and he loved that I came from Boston. Enjoy!

  • Stayed: May 2004, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
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7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2005

My brother and I stayed here for 2 nights and while I admit the room
small,utilitarian and the carpet needed a good clean, it was neat and the twin beds
comfortable - although my brother thought the duvet was a sheet not a
which was a little funny. We just shrugged our shoulders and went with
flow. The high marks are because the staff were absolutely wonderful
to us,
the place is full of character, and the owner quite the charmer! My
brother, being a beer aficionado, really enjoyed sampling the brews
altho I
think he did put off the owner with his request for clamato juice (a
Canadian perversion I think...). I believe the young bar ladies who
put the
one couple off about the food were having a bit of fun with them. The
is very, very good and we thoroughly enjoyed dinner - I'm a cullen
addict now. The lovely substantial breakfast we had was excellent as
This is a place full of character and fun and the impromptu musical
we witnessed one night really added to an enjoyable short stay. If
want supercilious attitude and pretentiousness stay at the The Howard
Edinburgh which treated us like something they scraped off their shoes.

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank Britomartis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Rugby, England
Reviewed March 21, 2005

I came to Glasgow on a 2 day real pub crawl and so stayed at the CAMRA Good Beer Guide Babbity.The rooms were clean and tidy and suprisingly quiet.The landlord is a charachter and the staff knowledgable.The food is high quality and to be recommended.It also has a separate restaurant.You should also try the traditional breakfasts.The location is also very good.Only slightly on the outskirts but certainly walking distance.There are plenty of pubs nearby.As for the beer of the 30 odd different ales I tried all weekend the best two were from the Babbity.Quality.

3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
San Diego, California
Reviewed November 16, 2004

I have to completely disagree with the reviews here. My husband and I stayed at this hotel for one night in October after reading these great reviews and also reading about the Babbity Bowster in a travel book. We have traveled throughout Europe and this hotel was quite a dissappointment. Our room was nothing more than a bed, dresser and small bathroom. The shower was completely disgusting - let's just say that black mold was not a welcome showering companion. The carpet was old and worn. There isn't an elevator so we had to lug our bags up two flights of stairs ourselves. The location was decent and is walking distance to most attractions. The food and drinks in the pub were good and we enjoyed speaking with the locals. We asked the young girls that work behind the bar what they would recommend to eat and they said that they don't eat there and think the food is disgusting. Needless to say, that didn't sell too well. We had originally booked our room for 2 nights. The most positive thing I have to say about our experience is that they allowed us to check out a day early without any penalty.

  • Stayed: October 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Babbity Bowster

Address: 16 - 18 Blackfriars Street, Glasgow G1 1PE, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Glasgow > City Centre , Merchant City
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#23 Romantic Hotel in Glasgow
Price Range: $62 - $111 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A place to talk or quietly read a book - there has never been piped music.Enjoy a drink or food on the award winning floral sun-drenched patio (Frank Kerr is the gardener).Play French boules on our adjoining piste.Enjoy listening to live traditional musicians and singers on late Saturday afternoon until mid evening.Get a wee taste of Glaswegian hospitality.Michelin Pub Food, Good Pub Guide, Good Beer Guide, Routard, Fodor’s and Frommer’s. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Babbity Bowster Hotel Glasgow
Babbity Bowster Glasgow, Scotland

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