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.

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.

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.

Unconfirmed rumours suggest that Bruadar will be closing again - still to be verified


  1. Well, first and foremost that's a real shame for the people involved, and for the chain. I wonder if, as you say, there's something in that location that didn't work. Three other incarnations failing on the same site can't be a co-incidence. Is it too far out from the epicentre of Byars Road, do you think?

    The times I was there the beer wasn't great – but that was in their period of rapid staff turnover. I always had great service from the bar staff, even if the beer was off. However, it was never that busy when I was at Bruadar – I guess maybe the high costs weren't being covered by the takings.

    A pity - let's hope something great opens in it's place, Fuller Thomson bounce back, and the Three Judges continues to prosper.

  2. Location can't help - the restaurant/diner on Dumbarton Rd across from the Judges is currently shut and has changed hands even more often than the Bruadar space so it definitely is difficult for a new place to attract that trade which doesn't go to the 'regular' places (3Js, Partick Tavern). But food and food service played a part, and as you say, the beer quality was poor for a few months a while back. But for FT to drop the place so suddenly you can only assume it must really have been hemorrhaging money - I guess we'll never really know...

    1. Only went there once, food wasn't great. It's been Ad Lib, an Indian and a Mexican cantina in 3 years. Nothing seems to work there either.

  3. http://thebarbiographer.blogspot.co.uk/ wrote up a December visit we had, http://thebarbiographer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/bruadar.html First impressions and all that but it looked as if no one had ever visited Glasgow before spending the money.

  4. I guess they were also trying to ride on BrewDog Glasgow's 'Craft Beer' 'look-and-feel' coat-tails, but they were beset by a number of problems & they don't have the same marketing machine that BrewDog has.

  5. I'm gutted this place has closed. The food was great (those burgers were fab) and the staff were always friendly. The last couple of times I was in they could only accept cash, which did make me wonder if there were issues. A real shame, it was much better than any other bar in that space.

  6. Don't know where I'll go for burgers & (good) beer in Partick now - trek along to Brewdog or probably head up to Curlers - anywhere else ?

  7. I was in once. Ignored for food service. Ignored for bar service and food was poor.Says it all.

  8. Harsh - but I can see where you're coming from. There was def a period in Mar/Apr where they were going through a number of managers. Thought it had picked up lately though.