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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day

Everyday Life


By Rudolph Kenna

Dirty Dick's High taxation put Scotland's national drink out of reach of many Glaswegians in the early 1950s. Cheap fortified sherries were consumed in considerable quantities and some pubs in Gorbals specialised in potent red wine, colloquially known as "red biddy".

The Horse Shoe In 1964 Glasgow Corporation reversed an 1890 resolution banning pubs on municipal housing estates. The Licensing (Scotland) Act of 1976 liberalised the country's licensing laws and the following year the Edrom Bar became the first Glasgow pub to open on Sundays for 120 years. The dying tradition of men-only pubs was further eroded by the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975. Explicitly gay bars emerged in the 1970s and Glasgow now has a lively gay scene centred on Merchant City pubs and clubs.

Bon Accord By the end of the twentieth century, some of the city's listed buildings had been turned into "superpubs" offering a family-friendly environment. In 1999, the former High Court of Justiciary, 191 Ingram Street, became Corinthian, a £5 million complex boasting four bars, a restaurant, five function rooms and a nightclub. Glasgow's traditional pubs did not entirely disappear. The Horse Shoe Bar (1884), 17 Drury Street, now a listed building, is still one of the city's most popular drinking spaces. The Bon Accord, 151 North Street, Glasgow's best-known "real ale" pub, celebrated its twenty-first birthday in 1995.

Langside Hill Church The ready availability of cheap drink in supermarkets obliged city licensees to feature regular cut-price promotions. As the millennium approached, a Glasgow City Council spokesman called for a ban on pub "happy hours", claiming that alcohol promotions encouraged binge drinking.

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