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Go WEST On The Corner of Woodlands …

By on May 19, 2015

WEST on the Corner on Woodlands Road opened its doors this month, the second outlet for the award-winning brewery, bar and restaurant based in the old Templeton factory on Glasgow Green, writes Russell Stewart.

After  four months of redevelopment what was once The Halt bar has re-emerged as a 120-seater bar and family-friendly restaurant, which will be open from 9am until midnight every day.

Glaswegian Heart, German Head, it says above the door. My Glaswegian heart can’t help but feel a little heavy at the demise of The Halt, which enjoyed almost cult-like status for several decades from the 1970s until recent years. An attempt to revive it two years ago didn’t last and regulars have mourned its passing, fearful of potential gentrification.

But a pop-up WEST on these premises last year set the ball rolling. And of course, one of the things we appear to do well in Glasgow, is to rip it out and start again. So when I walked through the doors of WEST On The Corner, I was prepared for the makeover, despite casting an occasional curmudgeonly look at the bright comfy corner where the snug had once nestled.

And it’s quite a transformation. The dark wood panelling, wallpaper and layers of painted plaster have been peeled away to reveal the original stone. The small, high windows have been hewn and glazed floor to ceiling. And that majestic horseshoe-shaped bar has now been incorporated into the kitchen of a West End home. Even the ground beneath our feet has been replaced with the original flooring lifted from the brewery at the Templeton carpet factory currently being further developed by WEST.

So then, The Halt no more. In its place, WEST On The Corner has inherited a prime location, on a well-trod thoroughfare in the heart of a busy residential quarter, facing up the hill to Park Circus, its new windows offering a big wide welcome …

Flooded with light, this stripped-back open space with pale wood and industrial-style lighting certainly has a continental feel. Yet remarkably, something of the old bar, The Halt, remains. It’s that solid sense of having been there, in with the bricks (or sandstone), part of a Glasgow licensed trade legacy of high-ceilinged pubs rooted into the corners of tenements.

This shiny new overhaul still feels cosy, an escape from the everyday outside, despite the lounge’s folding windows opening up a more relaxed relationship with the street. Also, some of the original features have been saved and reused, such as the beautiful leaded glass and the fireplace. So it does seem like WEST On The Corner has retained a little of  the spirit of The Halt.

Ah yes, spirits. It may be a brewery gaff but there is also a great selection of gins, vodkas and whiskies, with German wines also featuring in a good global selection.

However, we’re here for the beer. As at their Glasgow Green brewery and bar, WEST offers a 10-strong range from their light and refreshing WEST and popular original St Mungo’s, to an aptly named Wild West, Munich Red, a creamy WEST Black and the heftier German Pale Ale and wheat beer Hefeweizen. Prices are from £3.30 to £3.80 a pint but they are also sold in third and half pints, litres and jugs.

Of course, in a flourishing West End craft beer scene, what also helps to distinguish WEST On The Corner  is their menu. All-day bar bites include substantial pretzels (£2/3) and currywurst bites (smoked bockwurst sausage) with a curry dip (£4) with the mittagessen (lunch) menu offers a good value selection, all for a fiver, including beef goulash with Tapa rye bread and Bayrischer wurstsalat, a Bavarian garlic sausage with onions and gherkins in a vinaigrette, also with Tapa rye.

For dinner, a more extensive menu continues the traditional theme, although a Goan monkfish curry and 10oz rib-eye steak also feature, with children’s options too. Having plumped for the wiener (pork) schnitzel, topped with a duck egg and accompanied by potato salad with anchovy dressing (£13), I switched from Bavaria to Vienna and finished with a satisfying hunk of apple strudel and vanilla ice cream (£6).

WEST On The Corner also do breakfast with a Bircher muesli (£4), featuring the good Swiss doctor’s recommended focus on oats and apple, served up with blueberry compote, and hot choices including a crusty roll with Nurnberger sausage. The Wild West fry-up (£10) also includes that sausage, Stornoway black pudding, bacon and Reibekuchen, the crispy potato pancakes.

So just as owner Petra Wetzel herself says,  there are touches of “Gerwegian” about WEST. Not a bad thing at all. Service is excellent, the smartly-dressed bar and waiting staff are friendly and helpful, kept busy but happy to chat.

Above the walls outside, where years of dark paint have been scraped away, the words WEST On The Corner are printed onto the stone. If you look closely though, you can just make out the lettering of The Halt, a shadow behind it.

It’s a new chapter for this old pub and WEST On The Corner of Woodlands Road – with every seat filled on a rainy Saturday afternoon – is already making its mark.

WEST on the Corner, 160 Woodlands Road, 0141 332 0540

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