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Top Media Hangouts

By The Drum | Administrator

June 7, 2002 | 6 min read

Colin Barr’s Republic Bier Halle proved to be the media’s favourite bar.

There are many important aspects to consider in the heady world of media and marketing; things such as “Can I afford to employ another art worker?” “Does the boardroom need a fresh lick of paint in time for that client meeting next week?” or “Do all my account managers really need company cars?”

But there is perhaps nothing more front of mind for many than “Where shall I go for lunch today with that prospective client/ a pint or two on Friday with my colleagues/ a coffee and croissant tomorrow morning with the accountant/lawyer/journalist?”

Despite the frequency of the business breakfast and the working lunch dropping dramatically compared to years gone by (years I have only heard about, incidentally), exactly where you take prospective clients for lunch is always of paramount importance and requires keen consideration.

Take them in a chauffeur-driven limousine to One Devonshire Gardens for an Aberdeen Angus and they could consider you too ostentatious to work with. However, hoist them into a taxi and take them to Sauchiehall Street for a McDonald’s Happy Meal and you may end up with a kick in your Chicken McNuggets.

Likewise, you don’t want to be talking strategy with your biggest client when their, or your, main competitor is sitting just behind you scribbling notes for his next board meeting.

The problems abound, hence The Drum took it upon itself to poll the industry to find out your favourite places to eat, drink and be merry or miserable, depending on how the meeting went.

We dispatched questionnaires to the four corners of the Scottish media and marketing community to gauge reaction and were inundated with responses.

We asked people to nominate the bar, restaurant and coffee shops that they and/or their staff visit on a regular basis and we were not wholly surprised to see a great deal of overlap in people’s nominations.

When it came to the crunch, it appears that location, location, location still holds true in most cases, with many nominations coming from the marketing hotbeds of Edinburgh’s West End, Leith and Glasgow city centre. However, many of the old favourites, such as Rogano and Fisher’s Bistro, are still holding their own amongst the newer establishments such as Oloroso, the Opal Lounge and the Lowdown.

Top 10 Bars

1. Republic Bier Halle (Gls)

2. Tonic (Edinburgh)

3. St Judes (Glasgow)

4. The Lowdown (Glasgow)

5. The Cumberland (Ed)

6. OPUS (Glasgow)

7. The Opal Lounge (Ed)

8. Ocho (Glasgow)

9. Thomsons (Ed)

10. The Corinthian (Glsgw)

Despite being portrayed as G&T-swilling luvvies, you media folk are obviously still into a good strong pint of real ale with the Republic Bier Halle coming out top as number one bar. The Bier Halle, owned by Colin Barr, fought off stiff competition from newcomers such as Prince William’s favourite bar, the Opal Lounge, and another all-round good guy, OPUS, which was recently born out of restaurant Eurasure. Runner-up was Tonic, a favourite with the ladies, it seems – or rather the barmen mixing cocktails a la Tom Cruise certainly seem to be. St Judes in Glasgow ranks as the third best media bar, while another new boy, the Lowdown, formerly Mojo’s, has already secured its place in your hearts. Edinburgh’s The Cumberland still rates on the list, but now The Leith Agency has moved can The Cumberland maintain its place in the league? Thomsons in Edinburgh and Stephan King’s The Corinthian round out the Top Ten media bars.

Best Restaurants

1. Rogano (Glasgow)

2. Est Est Est (Glasgow)

3. Café Gandolfi (Glasgow)

4. The Arthouse (Glsgw)

5. Oloroso (Edinburgh)

6. Gaucho Grill (Glsgw)

7. St Judes (Glasgow)

8. The Apartment (Ed)

9. Fisher’s Bistro (Ed)

10. The Tower (Ed)

Favourite media restaurants range from the expensive to the modest. Interestingly, the top two restaurants are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to price and décor. However, it appears that, despite the hardship many are facing, a three-course lunch at Glasgow’s Rogano still cannot be beaten. Est Est Est on Bothwell Street in Glasgow polls in second place, praised for its location, menu and light and busy atmosphere. Friendly staff also make the difference it seems. Café Gandolfi in the Merchant City is still a favourite, but Edinburgh’s new Oloroso restaurant, perched high above the city, is certainly a place to be seen. Glasgow’s Argentinian restaurant Gaucho Grill comes sixth, with one respondent saying: “At the end of the day you need somewhere to go all carnivore in.” St Judes, not surprisingly, makes the list, as does Fisher’s Bistro in Leith, which does a seafood salad to die for. The Tower rounds out the table in tenth spot; a favourite with BBC types, apparently.

Best Café

1. Starbucks (Sauchiehall)

2. Beanscene (Ed)

3. Café Florentine (Ed)

4. Pret A Manger (Ed)

5. Tinderbox (Glasgow)

6. Starbucks (Palmerston)

7. Valvona & Crolla (Ed)

8. Human Be In (Ed)

9. CCA (Glasgow)

10. ISO Bar (Ed)

Cafes and coffee shops are all the rage nowadays and the chains like Starbucks and Pret A Manger, which ranked fourth overall, have scored highly, primarily due to their locations and convenience. However, one respondent says he goes to Starbucks at Charing Cross to avoid other media folk. I guess we all need to get away from work now and again, which is what coffee seems to be all about according to returned questionnaires – a time to get away from it all and unwind.

Beanscene ranked second, due to its relaxed atmosphere and apparently its informal setting is a good place for convincing clients to give you their business. Café Florentine was nominated by a few for its mellow atmosphere, while Tinderbox in Glasgow’s West End was also ranked for being the place to chill out. Valvona & Crolla at the top of Leith Walk came in seventh spot as a good place to grab a swift coffee and the CCA on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street was praised for its space and architecture. Well, you need something to look at while you drink. ISO Bar was also rated for doing a mean breakfast.


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