Glasgow - Southside
- Allistair Burt
- 16 April 2009
Independent Shopping Guide
The actual boundaries of the Southside are a much debated issue, says Allistair Burt, who runs the Southside Happenings blog.
‘Everyone agrees that it starts at the river, but where does it end? The general consensus seems to be somewhere between Shawlands and Gretna Green.
‘Let’s start with the important items – the traditional, jar filled wonderland of Newlands Café and the mixture of textures, flavours and colours at Halal sweet store The Glasgow Sweet Centre in Govanhill, who will provide a more unusual but super delicious treat. Further down Allison Street there are also a huge number of fruit and veg stores filled with odd-shaped objects and spices that you can point at and go “what is that?” Usually the answer is “very tasty”.
‘Other specialist shops include the famous Moon Guitars, who have made guitars for everyone from the Pet Shop Boys to Lemon Jelly, the bee-coloured second hand music shop Record Exchange, stuffed full with bargains, and cycling types can get all their goods at one of the two fantastic bike shops Behind Bars and Craig MacMartin Cycles.
‘For classic, quirky, contemporary and chic gifts head to Butterfly Kisses or the lovely Bowerbird in Shawlands. Butterfly Kisses is also good for carefully-chosen designer clothes, as are Glitz and Glamour, Raw Vintage and Hayes. The latter two also stock vintage. Raw Vintage also has a made-to-order creative wing called Made and a great selection of local designers; they and Kalo sell excellent contemporary jewellery by some of Glasgow’s best up and coming artists.
‘Just round the corner from Kalo is the splendid Skirving Street, a great bustling mix of shops, delis and cafés. Highlights include the staggering piles of wonderful junk at the three Cosgrove Care charity shops, the small but jam-packed card shop Note, the super friendly and trendy barbers Girasoli, and RW Stevens a tailor, kilt maker and school uniform expert which has been trading there since the 1930s.
Over its history the Southside has often been the first home to new cultures coming into the city and while this has sometimes created a tension, the legacy is a wonderful blend of new and old stores, a mix of traditional Glaswegian values and exciting new ideas which is unique in the city. In this atmosphere a lot of independent business have grown, thrived, and supported each other.’