Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Bruadar: 19th December 2011 - 29th July 2012*
(*Although see end of blog...)
I was surprised and disappointed to find out that Bruadar, the only Fuller Thomson bar in Glasgow, located at the bottom of Byres Road, was closing on Sunday 29th July. The staff were only given a week's notice and even when I was there on the Thursday you could see that they were still shell-shocked. I've been in that situation myself and it's (obviously) not a great place to be.
Bruadar hadn't even been open for a year - see a couple of blogs on the opening evening just before last Christmas here and here, and followed a similar format to some of the other Fuller Thomson 'Craft Beer' and 'Gourmet Burger' bars in Edinburgh and Dundee. Although I'd heard that it had had some initial management problems and some definite beer quality issues at times, I knew for certain that these had been addressed recently and the last few times I'd been in both the beer and the staff had been really great. It's not the first bar to go bust on the same premises - The Millhouse, The Byre and The 500 Club have all failed there so perhaps there's something inherently wrong about the location or the costs involved in doing business there.
On a sunny final weekend there was a lot of light coming in through the large front windows in the afternoon and although the downstairs area was fairly big, with a number of different split-level areas, it certainly wasn't as large as some of the Edinburgh bars (especially Holyrood 9A) - also see a panoramic view here. Perhaps it was just slightly too spread out and not focused enough from a dining point-of-view.
There were a couple of pool tables on the upstairs level (which could also be used as a function room), however I don't think this was ever that busy but I assume there was still a significant additional cost in the rates and utilities for having the room.
They had to run the beer down and by the weekend not a lot was still on (the Tempest Into the Light was off by early Saturday evening).
Interestingly a quick check on Untappd indicated that I'd consumed more different beers at Bruadar since it had been open than at The Threee Judges across the road. I think that was because I went into Bruadar to try the different beers that were on (probably in 1/2s or even 1/3s) whereas I probably go into the Judges to meet people or to have a chat with Ronnie behind the bar, and when there almost always drink full pints and stay for quite some time.
Looking back I would have to say that I did have a number of really outstanding beers in Bruadar (and it's unlikely I would have found these elsewhere in Glasgow) - Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Williams Double Joker DIPA & Black Isle Chilli Porter to name but a few, and I guess that's what I'll probably remember most about the place.
*UPDATE DECEMBER 2012*
Bruadar re-opened on 21st December 2012, but is not being operated by Fuller-Thomson. There are new Facebook and Twitter accounts but no activity at the moment.
*UPDATE FEBRUARY 2013*
I've now visited Bruadar a couple of time since it re-opened. For more details see my Looking for Craft Beer in Glasgow's West End blog here.
*UPDATE APRIL 2013*
Unconfirmed rumours suggest that Bruadar will be closing again - still to be verified