Six Popular Cafes in Glasgow’s Merchant City

If you work up an appetite exploring Glasgow’s Merchant City there is a multitude of fabulous places to stop for refreshment, ranging from restaurants and bars, to hotels and cafes. If you fancy breakfast, brunch, a light bite or a traditional cream tea there are many welcoming cafes from which to choose right in the center of this bustling and historic quarter. Here are six of the best to pop into for a respite from exploring.

Spoon Cafe

The Spoon Cafe on Trongate is a popular social enterprise cafe, offering work experience to adults with learning difficulties. It offers a pay-it-forward plan, allowing generous customers to contribute so food can be offered to those less fortunate.

This airy and bright cafe serves breakfast, lunch, cakes and drinks, with daily specials chalked up on the blackboard. It offers excellent value for money, with food and drinks served by friendly staff.

Monday – Friday 8AM–4PM
Saturday 10AM–4PM

Sunday Closed

46 Trongate
Glasgow G1 5ES, UK
+44 141 559 5515

Cranberry’s Cafe

Cranberrys is a family run cafe on Wilson Street in the bustling heart of Merchant City. Pastries and desserts are freshly baked daily. The menu of light meals includes salad platters, toasted wraps, baked potatoes and sandwiches. Breakfast is served in the mornings and cream teas in the afternoon. The windows of this traditional tea-room look out over Merchant City and there is outdoor seating for sunny Scottish days.

Monday-Sunday 9AM–5PM

30 Wilson Street
Glasgow G1 1SS, UK
+44 141 552 3676

Rose and Grant’s Deli Cafe

Situated on Trongate in the arty area, Rose and Grant’s Deli Cafe serves quality food in bright surroundings. Offering breakfast, brunch and lunch, you can also just stop by for a coffee. Rose and Grants also offers vegan options, with their full vegan breakfast and their own take on the Scottish vegan square sausage having gained quite a name in the vegan community. With windows offering a fabulous view of Merchant City this is a great choice of cafe for people watching while relaxing on one of the comfy sofas.

Monday – Friday 8AM–5PM
Saturday 9AM–5PM

Sunday 10AM–5PM

27 Trongate
Glasgow G1 5EZ, UK
+44 141 553 0501

Picnic Cafe

The vegan theme continues in the Picnic Cafe, an all vegan venue on Ingram Street in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City. Produce is sourced locally from ethical sources.

You can stop by for coffee, juice or a smoothie, or sample the freshly prepared food from the menu of breakfasts, snacks and cakes.  Baked goodies include homemade banana and walnut muffins, empire biscuits and Scottish snowballs.

Monday – Saturday 8AM – 4:40PM
Sunday  10AM – 4:30PM

103 Ingram Street
Glasgow G1 1DX, UK
+44 141 552 8788


Tinderbox Cafe
Ingram Street’s trendy Tinderbox looks out over Merchant City from its huge glass windows and offers a cozy place to laze with a coffee in its mezzanine area.

This cafe is renowned for its strong coffee and tempting cakes, including delights such as white chocolate cheesecake, cupcakes and Portuguese custard tarts.

Tinderbox stays open in the evenings and you can chill out with a glass of wine.

Monday – Friday 7:15AM–10PM

Saturday & Sunday 8AM–10PM

118 Ingram Street
Glasgow G1 1EJ, UK
+44 141 552 6907

The Wilson Street Pantry

wilson street pantry
Combining a licensed cafe, deli and shop, the Wilson Street Pantry serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and coffee. This cafe has a cheery atmosphere with black and white photographs adorning the white walls.

The menu includes popular hipster bites such as salmon and avocado toast, poached eggs with haggis, eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs with Stornoway black pudding, and truffled mushrooms on toast.

The Wilson Street Pantry also caters to vegans and is a particularly popular spot for its brunch time treats.

Monday – Friday 8AM–5PM
Saturday & Sunday 9AM–5PM

6 Wilson Street
Glasgow G1 1SS, UK
+44 141 552 0606

Welcome To Merchant City

Once home to Glasgow’s wealthy tobacco merchants, Merchant City has undergone a renaissance, transforming it into the cultural and Bohemian center of the city, dubbed the Greenwich Village of Glasgow.

Interestingly the name Merchant City was only coined in the twentieth century: in its original heyday the area was known as Trongate. Buildings dating back to the eighteenth century have been lovingly restored to create vibrant and thriving businesses.

Restaurants and bars buzz with trendy clientele.  Fashionistas can be found in the bustling shops housed in Merchant City’s designer mile and arts lovers can be found browsing the areas acclaimed arts venues.

Businesses in Merchant Square, part of the historic old Fruit Market, look onto an indoor courtyard hosting a craft and designer fair at the weekends.

The old Fruit Market

Candleriggs is a popular area of Merchant City, taking its name from the candle makers whose business once dominated the area.

Each summer the Merchant quarter hosts the Merchant City Festival, a fun cultural event including a carnival procession, art, music, dance and theatre, market stalls and street food.

Eating Out in Merchant City

Merchant City Glasgow
Restaurants in Merchant City represent cuisine from across the world as well as traditional Scottish fare.

To taste traditional Cullen skink, haggis and Stornoway black pudding try the Scottish restaurants of Babbity Bowster or Arisaig.

Ingram Wynd is an atmospheric Victorian grill and bar creating traditional Scottish cooking with a twist. Here you can sample the famous dish of haggis, neeps and tatties served with a whisky sauce, Scottish scallops, vegetarian haggis and Scottish stovies.

Cafe Gandoli is a City Merchant institution, established in the heart of the area over three decades ago. The restaurant was the first to be founded in the old cheese market, bringing a stylish touch to the area. Today Gandoli’s prides itself on using only the freshest Scottish ingredients in its cuisine.

Other restaurants offer traditional Russian cooking, Italian, Indian, Mexican, French, Brazilian and Japanese cuisine.

Cafe Cossachok is Scotland’s first authentic Russian restaurant serving traditional dishes of borscht, plov and golubsty, with a premium selection of vodka.

Designer Stores

shops on Ingram street
Merchant City offers Glasgow’s most exclusive shopping in Ingram Street, dubbed the designer mile. Here you will find designer boutiques and luxury brands. Names to look out for include Armani, Versace and Ralph Lauren.

Merchant City is also great for vintage shopping with stores specializing in retro fashion.

Merchant City Festival

merchant city festival
Merchant City Festival

This annual event typifies the atmosphere of Merchant City, attracting those drawn to arts and culture. This vibrant festival reflects the city’s enthusiasm for exciting and diverse entrepreneurial ventures. It showcases fashion and design, art, dance and music.

The festival is the highlight of Glasgow’s summer calendar, offering a great day out for culture lovers, families and tourists.

It offers the chance to explore Merchant City, appreciate the unique architecture and feel the vibe of the many street performances.

Over the course of the nine-day celebrations you can enjoy a vintage tea dance in the old Fruit Market, a classic car boot sale from vintage motors, participation theatre and a dance circus.

City Merchant Restaurants Specializing in Traditional Scottish Fare

From tapas to sushi, from spicy Indian curries to fine French dining, Glasgow’s City Merchant quarter offers an eclectic mix of gastronomic delights in its many restaurants and bars. No visit to City Merchant would be complete without sampling the acclaimed Scottish cuisine, revered for its use of fresh local ingredients and quirky sounding dishes.

Nothing could be more quintessentially Scottish than the national dish of haggis served with neeps and tatties, or Cullen skink, the traditional Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, and Merchant City has restaurants specializing in these national treasure dishes. For a real taste of Scotland include a visit to one of these three Scottish restaurants: Babbity Bowster, Arisaig and City Merchant.

Babbity Browster

Babbity Browster in Merchant City Glasgow
Babbity Bowster on Blackfriars Street offers a taste of genuine Scottish cuisine, steeped in history. The historic building was originally an eighteenth century tobacco merchant’s house. The building fell into a derelict state before being restored in 1985 to its current use.

The name originates from an eighteenth century Scottish dance, and a shield above the original fireplace depicts dancers dancing the Bobbity Bowster.  Sepia prints of Glasgow street life add character to the walls.

An open plan bar serving food is sited on the ground floor, below the first floor restaurant Schottische. There is also an outdoor patio with a boule court. Plan a visit for a Saturday night to sample real Scottish ale or a dram of malt whisky, while enjoying live Scottish folk music.

Bobbity Bowster’s menu is packed with Scottish delicacies prepared from fresh ingredients. Dishes include Cullen skink, haggis, beef collops, stovies, and sweet clootie dumplings.

Arisaig Restaurant

Arisaig is a restaurant specializing in traditional Scottish fare, sited in Merchant Square. Diners can eat indoors, outside in the covered cobbled terrace, or on the balcony overlooking the vibrant square.

The menu is created from locally sourced Scottish produce and there is a fine range of Scottish malt whiskys to enjoy.

Typical dishes include fried haggis fritters served with onion gravy, aged Scotch beef, Perthshire venison, mixed greens with whisky sauce, Stornoway black pudding, clootie dumplings, baked Scottish brie, and vegetarian haggis.

Scottish seafood includes west coast oysters, Shetland mussels and Shetland salmon. The classic Cullen skink is served with sourdough and seaweed butter.

City Merchant Restaurant

City Merchant restaurant
City Merchant Restaurant is located in the heart of Glasgow’s City Merchant quarter, in Candleriggs. This family run Scottish themed restaurant has an acclaimed reputation for serving the finest Scottish produce, with fresh seafood from the coastal waters and rivers of Scotland, and steak and game from the Scottish highlands.

The building features the original stained glass windows and the menu reflects the traditions of the area. The restaurant also features a VIP loft dining area, offering intimate ambiance for private parties of up to sixteen.

Typical Scottish seafood featured on the menu includes Shetland blue mussels, Fencebay west coast langoustines, and Shetland salmon. The restaurant offers a ‘Flavours of Scotland’ dinner menu, with dishes such as Cullen skink, a duo of poached and smoked salmon, haggis, neeps and tatties, haggis croquette with clapshot, and a selection of Scottish cheeses.