The Bristol Bar.
173 Renfield Street, Glasgow.
The Bristol Bar was situated at the corner of Renfield Street and Cowcaddens Street. In 1875 the licensee was a gentleman called John Deas.
In 1894 Patrick McAnulty owned this well established pub, he also owned a pub on Dalmarnock Road, many will remember this old pub as Terry's Bar.
During the First World War Thomas Lawrence McCarthy was landlord.
In the 1930s William R Benson was running the Bristol Bar along with Benson's Bar on Keppochill Road.
In 1958 William Berrie Gow was the new owner of the Bristol Bar, he also had Lauder's, Sauchiehall Street, The Albany Bar, Dalmarnock Road and the Charing Cross Bar, North Street. He also ran the George Bar, Kent Road, Jock's Lodge, Ardrossan and the Albert Hotel, Alexandria of which Mrs Gow managed.
One of the first premises of which he was proprietor was the Dumbuck Hotel, Dumbarton. During the war he was chief air raid warden in that area and played some considerable part in the rescue and other operations following the Clydebank air raids.
Mr Gow was a director of the Dumbarton Football Club for 15 years including 5 years as chairman.
Apart from his interest in pubs he entered into the wholesale business and became managing director of a number of companies owning licensed establishments throughout the country including the Coach & Horses, Aberdeen Ltd., Modern Licenses Ltd., Edinlay Modern Licenses Ltd., Cowie Taverns Ltd., and the Muirhead Inns Ltd. These companies were subsequently sold and other businesses were taken on including MacDonald Caterers Ltd, he opened the Orchard Park Hotel, Giffnock which he had converted from a nursing home.
For 8 years he served as chairman of the Sandyford Ward Committee of the Glasgow and District Licensed Trade Defence Association. He became a director of that Association in 1945 and served as both junior and senior vice-president before being elected president in 1954, a position he held with distinction for 6 years.
In 1948 he was elected to the Managing Committee of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, became in turn junior and senior vice-president, serving in that office for 2 years. In 1962 he was appointed Honorary President of that Association in recognition of his outstanding services.
He was one of the three Scottish members of the Licensed Non-Residential Catering Wages Board from 1952 and was at the time of his death the only surviving member of the original Board. He also represented the Scottish Licensed Trade Association on the National Consultative Council of the Retail Licensed Trade, the National Trade Development Association and the Scottish Consultative Group Licensed Trade, he also served on the council of the Scottish Licensed Trade Veto Defence Fund.
William B Gow died 25th July 1963.
William's son Jack took over the running of his concerns, Jack worked with his father in the Bristol Bar before taking on the managment of the various pubs the Gow family owned. Jack was a Hutchy Grammar boy, as was his father before him. They didn't always see eye to eye on things but Mrs Gow usually managed to effect a compromise.
The Bristol bar was developed into a bar and catering business and was a popular rendezvous with sportsmen and members of the motor trade.
Jack Gow went on to own Montford House, Curtis Ave, and like his father Jack was heavily involved in the Scottish Licensed Trade.
Interior view of the Bristol Bar with William B Gow and his son Jack. 1951.
Here are some principal personalities who attended the smoker dinner held at Belmont House, Glasgow, by the Cowcaddens Ward of the Glasgow Association in 1962. Left to right: Mr G Ramster, Glasgow Association Office; Mr H Doherty, Symposium Bar, Cowcaddens Street; Mr N Jones, Cross Keys, St. Peter's Street; Mr J Dougan, Dougan's Bar, Springburn Road; Mr R Lemon, Lemon Tree, Parliamentary Road (Ward Convener); Mr W J Bennet, Port Dundas Road; Mr W B Gow, Bristol Bar, Cowcaddens; Mr J Lanagan, Maitland Street; Mr T F Flynn who succeeded Mr Gow as president of the Glasgow Association; Mr D McNiven, Argyle Arms, Kennedy Street; and Mr W J McDowall, Secretary, Glasgow Association.