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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan


Stirling Castle.

90 Old Dumbarton Road, Yorkhill, Glasgow. G3 8PZ. Tel: 01413398132.


Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle. 1991.

This was originally Galbraith's Store the grocers. It opened as a public house during the 1950s.

William Lyall Henderson was then licensee, he ran a small pub in Guest Street, Anderston before taking this pub on.

Situated at the corner of Old Dumbarton Road and Regent Moray Street this popular bar is handy for visitors going to the Glasgow Art Galleries and Museum.

In 1963 David Main took over this pub, in the 1990s Andrew Main was running this successful family business.

Stirling Castle 2007

The Stirling Castle. 2007.

Also see the Stirling Castle Darts Team 1965.

In the NEWS 1976...

Stirling Castle Bar with monkey 1976

You can't make a monkey out of four-year-old Anthony, one of Dash's Chimps from the Kelvin Hall Circus, Glasgow. Anthony was perfectly willing to man the pumps when he went along to the Stirling Castle Bar where £160 had been raised for Ward 6 at Philipshill Hospital in a raffle. The trained chimp helped make the draw, then became a counter attraction on his own-bar-none!


In the NEWS 1979...

Here's to the Special Blend That Makes A Perfect Pub...

David Main mine host of the Stirling Castle and the Overflow. 1979

At your service...David Main mine host of the Stirling Castle and The Overflow. 1979.

How David Struck GOLD under a tenement...

David Main drives a blue Rolls-Royce, DM 55, with the satisfied air of a man who paid £10,000 for a squalid little drinking den 16 years ago and turned it into a gold-plated tavern.

An instinctive publican, with the shrewd eyes of an accountant, he formed an idea then alien to Glasgow drinkers that pubs should be more than stand drink and fall howfs.

His idea became the Stirling Castle, corner-wedged under tenement at the back of the Kelvin Hall, a potpourri of fine food, rich carpets, warmth, real ale, and groomed staff picked for eagle-eyed attention.

Surveying his creation, David admitted: "A good pub is summed up in a four-letter word... work, and a little imagination. But I must be honest. Sixteen years ago I never thought it had that much potential.

All we wanted to do was make it a better pub than it was. "We started with pie and peas, but soon we gradually expanded. I just felt that comfort and food were becoming more and more important as drinking habits changed.

"It's not enough to have a bar any more you've got to have something else, an image, carpet on the floor, food, music, something different. The spit and sawdust has gone, the new laws helped all that, and people are travelling more, seeing different ways of drinking.

The hard drinker will never change, he'll just drink, but the rest are changing, have changed." David Main, now 55, went into the pub business because he couldn't stand and carpets to people on hire-purchase.

He had a dream of cash over the counter, instant service for instant cash, a pub was the only business. Eighteen months ago, in a move the trade said was insane, he bought and re-vamped the pub across the road. He wryly christened his new baby "The Overflow," and reproduced a composite English Pub. A 1970s version of London's turn of the century ill met by gaslight inns.


"Everyone thought we were mad to go into competition with ourselves," laughed David. "But I'm not that daft. We had to create something entirely different to the Stirling Castle, a different look different food. So we went for the English idea.

Salads, ploughman's lunches, salamis, open sandwiches, again we went for food, that's our mark. We get a lot of students in here now, a younger, different clientele to the Stirling Castle and it's gone through the roof, it's amazing."

Across the road, a mixed pin-striped suited bag of lawyers, doctors, architects spill in and out of the lounges and the public bar. Thousands of pounds have been raised for charity in the public bar. Added David: "Just before Christmas we had a quick collection and we gave every old-age pensioner living round here, not customers only, a half-bottle of whisky, a tin of biscuits, and a £5 meat voucher for the butcher's. That's what it's about.

"The customers has to be all-important, whether you feel like it or not you have to say "Yes, sir,' 'no, sir,' three bags full, sir. And after them come a good staff, they make the pub. They back you up all you back them up.

"A good publican needs to mix, make friends with the customers, make them feel welcome. I love that, love doing the mine host bit."

Grabbing menus listing everything from mussels to T-bone steaks show his food standards. David whirls round: "See you've got to give things back to the customers. This business has given us everything we've got.

"We've worked hard for it, but it's certainly given me, especially in recent years, a much better standard of living and the chance now not to work as hard as I did."


Stirling Castle interior 1979

Stirling Castle Darts team 1965, Joe Hitchcock, W Bruce, H Cochrane and David Main.


David Main owner of the Overflow 1979

The "Semi-Retirement" of Mr. David Main (right), of the Stirling Castle and Overflow bars in Glasgow, was marked by the presentation to him of a pewter Guinness goblet, engraved with David's own signature under that was Guinness. Presenting the goblet is Mr. Jack Bailie (left), area manager for Guinness in the West of Scotland. In centre is Mr. Andrew Main.


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