I’ve been fortunate enough to live in the West End for almost 10 years and have been very lucky to see one of Scotland’s most stunning multi purpose venues flourish right before my very eyes. I’ve also been privileged to attend a brilliant Burns Supper there, lots of gigs, private parties … I recall host charity events affectionately and I remember the opening night, taking in the wonder of it all and having a really great time with my girlfriends. Colin Beattie, the proprietor is really onto something. He’s a visionary with a veritable team of brilliant individuals working with him.
Òran Mór, meaning the ‘great melody of life’ or ‘big song’, is a cultural centre and meeting place in the heart of Glasgow’s West End. Inside are two bars, two restaurants, a nightclub and stunning private event space available for hire in the venue, which was formerly Kelvinside Parish Church.
Refurbishment began in 2002 and Òran Mór opened its doors in June 2004. Since then it has introduced a varying programme of events including new musical talents, comedy nights, regular club nights and, of course, the hugely successful ‘A Play, A Pie and A Pint’ series as well as Club O downstairs in the basement, open late.
Òran Mór has also successfully hosts a range of private events, including product launches, award dinners, weddings (Simon Pegg had his wedding there where Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin attended), fashion shows and conferences. I use the space regularly to host the hugely popular Say No To Plastic vintage sale where hundreds of people flock to the venue four times a year.
The Brasserie Restaurant uses Scottish produce wherever possible, freshly prepared by an in-house team of chefs. Bar meals are also served in the Whisky and Victorian Bars, incorporating the John Muir Room restaurant. There is disabled access throughout the building too and if you’ve a pram they are equally accommodating.
Find Òran Mór on the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road, opposite the Botanic Gardens and a 2-minute walk from Hillhead Underground.
The Whisky Bar is one of the west end’s most popular destinations, boasting over 250 malts if that’s your tipple. You’re always guaranteed a traditional warm Scottish welcome in this cultural meeting place. They don’t have a TV and regularly have live bands and small plays in the main bar. Relax in its informal setting, ideal for breakfast, a bite of lunch, or dinner. The food and service is great and they serve a chocolate with your coffee, which I love! Soak up the vibrant evening atmosphere, mingling with people from all walks of life. You’ll see all sorts of artists and musicians, students and eccentric individuals whom make living in the West End such a joy!
The bar is now open daily from 9am, serving alcohol from 11am (Sundays from 12.30pm). And now there’s even more reason to pay the bar a visit following the addition of talking point artwork installations. And they even do a Quiz Night! Join host Sandy Stevenson every Thursday from 9pm–11pm, for the chance to win great prizes, including gig tickets, meal vouchers, wine, beer and, more importantly, the weekly cash rollover jackpot.
Alasdair Gray is the Glasgow-born writer and artist responsible for the stunning ceiling mural in The Auditorium, one of the largest pieces of public art in Scotland and an absolute must see. I couldn’t omit mentioning him and his work. My friends have 4 year-old twins and they wow and whoop about it and they love the stained glass windows!! Gray’s most acclaimed novel is Lanark, published in 1981 and written over a period of almost 30 years. It is now regarded as a classic, and was described by The Guardian as “one of the landmarks of 20th-century fiction.” His novel Poor Things (1992) won the Whitbread Prize and the Guardian Fiction Prize. Gray was born in the Riddrie area of Glasgow. A talented man indeed and Oran Mor would not be the same without his engagement with Colin.
You can see for yourself why Oran Mor is such an amazing award-winning venue. Gina is the most helpful receptionist/assistant ever, Cameron McLachlan is an ace banqueting manager and … well … I think you’ll understand when you visit it, why it really is a jewel in the crown of the West End for me!