McPhabb's.23 Sandyford Place, Glasgow. G3 7NG. Tel: 0141 221 0770.
You would have to try very hard not to feel welcome at McPhabbs!
Situated on Sauchiehall Street at Sandyford Place, 500 yards west of Charing Cross, it was established in 1997 and has rapidly gained one of the most eclectic clienteles in the city.
Local residents in Glasgow's historic Anderston ward have long known about the understated charms of this alehouse. They have been joined by many in the west end's business and student communities who have all come to cherish the sharp and friendly service and excellent food which offers astonishing value for money.
This popular alehouse was once known as "The Grafton".
In the News 1971...
A good old name in a grand new place!
The Grafton Lounge Bar. 1971.
When a smart new Pub called the Grafton opened its doors for the first time a week ago in Dandyford Place, Charling Cross, the name had familiar ring to quite a few people, especially former students at Strathclyde University and the Central College of Commerce.
their special pub at the corner of Grafton Street and Cathedral Street, was called the Grafton, but demolishers moved in with bulldozers at the end of 1969 and their howff vanished in a heap of rubble.
The owner of the old Grafton and the new Grafton is one and the same, 40 year-old Frank Mcguire. "Mt father and I ran the pub at Cathedral Street for 12 years," he told me in the lounge bar of his new premises. "When it was demolished I had to look for somewhere else and didn't come upon this site until the end of 1970.
"From then on we got things moving very quickly. The workmen moved in at the start of the year and were finished by last week." It's obvious that both a lot of expence and effort have gone into transforming 23 Sandyford Place from dingy offices into a cosy traditional pub with lots of atmosphere.
"I designed the interior," said Mr McGuire. "The decor in the old pub was so popular that I decided to model this one on it. "There's no chrome or plastic laminates here," he laughed. "I think that's only suitable for ice-cream shps." Instead there are traditional white walls with black beams to give an old-world atmosphere. The red and gold carpets and matching red brocade curtains add a touch of luxury.
Round the walls are red bench seats, and there are also fumed oak tables and chairs. The lights are attractive imitation oil lamps. Downstairs, in the cocktail bar, the decor is similar but in a green and gold theme.
The new situation of the Grafton is ideal for both business men looking for a quick, good lunch and for people having an evening out. Something which should make the pub especially popular is the private car park which has a direct entrance to the cocktail bar.
I asked Mt McGuire if he planned to have music in the bar in the evenings. "We had thought of having a group," he told me, "but I eventually decided against it. The layout of the place doesn't lend itself to a group. Anyway, I think there are still some people who like to spend their evening over a quiet drink."
Interior view of the Grafton. 1971.
He invited me to have lunch in the lounge bar and showed me a menu with an amazingly good selection of meals at very reasonable prices. There were three kinds of soup, all at 10p; seven main dishes ranging in price from 25p, and either biscuits and cheese or grapefruit cocktail to follow at 10p . Coffee is 5p. Downstairs in the cocktail bar salads and sandwiches are served at lunch time. I chose stewes steak and was served almost immediately with a good, hot meal, including both potatoes and chips.
I noticed that already the Grafton has attracted a big following at lunch time. "Quite a few are old regulars," explained Mr McGuire, "and we think we will attract plenty of new lunch time customers." Because so many offices are now working a six day week, the Grafton is also going to open for lunch on Saturdays.