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.
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
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.
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
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.