The Piper Whisky Bar
After all, if it's true that the Inuit have 50 words for snow, then in the UK we ought to have 50 words for rain. There's drizzle of course, although I'm not sure that's an officially recognised term; but there isn’t much beyond that until you get to deluge (which is French) and downpour (which is dull).
There are plenty of phrase I'd like to hear weather forecasters use: tipping it down, pelting it down, pissing it down. And there are phrases with the sturdy feel of regional English; luttering down, siling down and plothering down are among my favourites. You can't honestly put them in order of severity, of course, but all conjure that sense of looking out of the window on a rainy day somewhere in provincial Britain and seeing rain hammering relentlessly from an ashen sky. One of the commonest and most vividly descriptive phrases is raining stair-rods. I like it because many people in the UK have never seen a stair-rod, it instead has the comfortable feeling of a phrase your gran might use.
The water beat a tattoo into our backs as we walked through Glasgow’s George Square, huddled under a newspaper like Victorian tramps. There might as well have been hoodlums, who the locals colourfully refer to as NEDs, concealed in the trees shooting us with Super Soakers. Statues with cold eyes and water dripping from their noses and exaggerated fingers watched us ford the rivers that pooled around the pavement. And then we saw it: the blissful doors above a sodden green carpet on saturated concrete steps. The Piper Whisky Bar.
A burly bouncer held the door open for us when we walked in. Besides the bottles above the bar, there are subtle suggestions of whisky around the place; two men with tattoos peaking out from their cuffs rested their pints of Tennent's on an old Springbank barrel. The Piper Bar encroaches on club space where whirling coloured lights are reflected in vacant eyes. Not the sort of place where you’d expect to be drinking a whisky, a rusty nail or an old fashioned cocktail sure, but not a neat dram. Yet somehow The Piper Bar pulls it off. It's a fun venue and we felt at home drinking whisky amongst the likely lads and the twirling lassies.
3/3 – Worth going out of your way for. First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you
You can even get a measure of Bladnoch 10-year-old. They don’t even have that on Master of Malt. The Piper Bar is a bit limited if you are looking for something esoteric, they more or less only stock the standard bottlings, but The Pipe Bar has whisky from every Scottish Distillery. If you are looking for ‘special’ bottles or limited releases, chances are they won’t have them. But you walk in, name any distillery in Scotland and have a measure in front of you. There aren’t many places you can do that.
3/3 – An exceptional selection that will make you feel bad for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.
The atmosphere is varied, on a Friday night we fought through the undulating masses to get to the bar. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights are acoustic nights, which presumably don’t warrant the sharp elbows. We also went on a quiz night, where we managed to fail rather spectacularly. Scottish football in the 1980 is, arguably, not our specialist subject. We did get questions about Justin Bieber and Julius Caesar straight away. Not sure what that says about us. For those able to go the The Piper Bar regularly, they host their own whisky club.
3/3 – This is your new local. Go, even by yourself, it’s a great advantage to not drink among hard drinking people
Visit The Piper Whisky Bar next time you're in Glasgow, Scotland; you can find them here: