225-233 North Street, Charing Cross, Glasgow. (formerly the Berkeley).
In the NEWS 1976...
GO TO BLAZES.
Two Glasgow business men have joined forces in a new venture which looks like being a surefire success.
Whisky broker Terry Alvis and Franco Fraioli, a restaurateur and chef, decided some time ago that Glasgow was short on smart nightspots. Explained Mr Alvis, "As a whisky broker I often have business clients from abroad. One likes to impress by giving them a good night out, but it was becoming difficult to find places where I could prove to them that Glasgow is a go-ahead city."
So he and Mr. Fraioli embarked on a lengthy search which led them to the Berkeley at Charing Cross.
It has been in the hands of one family for 50 years when the duo took it over last April (1975). They never closed (although the restaurant was shut, the successful functions side of the business continued) while tremendous alterations and massive redecoration took place.
Finally Mr. Alvis and Mr. Fraioli opened the doors of their smart new restaurant and bars complex last month and called it Blazes. "This is not," emphasised Mr Alvis, "because we wanted to attract young trendies. We don't. Blazes is a sophisticated concept, where the finest of food and entertainment is provided in attractive surroundings.
"We chose the name mainly because of the flambe cooking we offer, our headwaiter is a wizard with lamp cooking beside the diners' tables." He showed me round Blazes and I was particularly impressed with the Tramps Bar, which has been designed as a tribute to Charlie Chaplin.
Said Mr Alvis, "The whole place is on a theatrical theme of one kind or another." The Tramps Bar has some superb Charlie Chaplin drawings and opened umbrellas cover the ceiling. To keep up the sophisticated image. Blazes aren't allowing under 21s in their bars and they insist that patrons must be smartly dressed. No tramps, in fact.
The Theatre Bar is luxurious with a Victorian atmosphere and Scottish Opera prints. But in the two restaurants they have really gone to town.
International cuisine features in the a la carte restaurant, quality named "Bottom's" after the Shakespearean character.
Interior of Blazes. 1976.
The neighbouring restaurant, which also houses the stage and band, has table d'hôte menu, which is changed weekly and incorporates such mouth-watering dishes as veal atrogano'f. Although food has top priority, entertainment is important.
Mr Alvis raves about young singer Donna Reid, an "Opportunity Knocks" find, who is featured with Blazes' own Tramps Trio.
There is almost all-week-round entertainment. On Tuesday, Radio Clyde's Frank Skerret holds his own chat and music show, which is fast becoming a favourite night out for women's groups. On Wednesday it's the turn of modern country 'n' Western group The Hay-riders, and, to round the week off, there are dinner dances on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The long-established function side of the Berkeley isn't forgotten. "We have bookings as far ahead as January 1978," I was told all we can cater for parties from 40 to 120."
Blazes advert 1976.
Another advert from the same year.
In the News 1978...
Beauty Of A Late Nightcap...
Like Cinderella these three lovelies have until midnight to charm the menfolk of Glasgow... thanks to the licensing court.
The girls, Elaine McIntyre (21), Joy Cadbury (18), and Marilyn MacIntosh (21)- work as waitresses at Blaze's restaurant, which is the first place in the city to be granted a bar licence until midnight.
Owner of the restaurant, Teri Alvis, was overjoyed with the new licence, which will start operating from tomorrow. "After years and years of trying to improve the night life of Glasgow I am very happy to have the assistance of the licensing court," he said.
Blazes advert 1978.