My heart skipped a beat today when I learned that an old Glasgow Pub favourite, which has been closed for a number of years, is due to open it's doors once again over the summer. However, my hopes were dashed when I soon discovered that it was opening but just not quite in the manner that I'd hoped for.
The Mitre Bar in Merchant City first opened in 1927 and served generations of thirsty Glaswegians until the key was finally put in the door for the last time around a decade ago. The pub now lies a graffitied mess in a street that has seen better days. It's probably no different from the countless thousands of other pubs around the country that have had to pull their last pint and bid their farewells as they go to the wall.
|the bar at night 1995|
However, news that reached me today seemed to indicate that The Mitre Bar was re-opening. Hurrah, I thought as the one thing Glasgow city centre does need is more quality drinking establishments that serve up a wide selection of nice, refreshing beer.
Alas, I was to be disappointed. It is opening but only as an exhibit in the £75 million Riverside Transport Museum on the Clyde. The entire pub; fixtures, fittings, lock, stock and beer barrel has been removed and relocated to become part of the Museum's Flagship exhibit - a typical Glasgow High St from the early twentieth century complete with a grocery store, butcher, cobbler and even The Rendevous Cafe from Glasgow's Duke St that has also been given the Mitre treatment and been moved brick by brick to the museum.
At the moment I don't know whether The Mitre Bar will be a working exhibit with real people pulling real pints. That would be quite cool, especially if some of the beers were made according to the styles of the period.
However, the news also filled me with a tinge of melancholy. Are we witnessing the future for pubs? Given the rate of pub closures, in years to come will the only places where we can experience a proper nice traditional pub is in a museum as an exhibition piece?