The Clarendon Bar.
98 Maryhill Road, Glasgow. G20 7QB.
The Clarendon Bar. 1991.
It was sad to see this popular bar was destroyed by fire last year. To read the full history of this pub, check back soon for our second book.
After a great fire that destroyed the building and caused the death of a young woman the pub was rebuilt and renamed the Thistle Bar.
The Thistle Bar. 2008.
The Thistle Bar. 2008.
In the News 1971…
Hot Scene going at the Clarendon.
As you thought the swing doors the air is blue with cigarette smoke, the place is alive with people, and then the rhythmic beat of the music hits you. Although the place is packed there is hardly a whisper, everybody is listening, and every musical phrase is appreciated, savoured, and applauded.
The musicians are intent, the sweat runs off them. As George Scott Henderson takes a piano solo they look knowingly at each other and smile. They have the look of musicians who are not playing for an audience but for themselves and a crowd of appreciative, discerning fellow musicians.
The scene is the Clarendon lounge in Maryhill Road, Glasgow; the time Saturday morning, and Saturday morning.
American singer Dick Haymes whispers in my ears “I’ve listened in on jam sessions all over the world; this is as good as the best I’ve heard anywhere.” Frank Pantrini on alto sax takes up the cue. He blasts out a few hot phrases, then as the audience cheers takes a sip of beer.
“It’s going very well,” he say’s “the boys are really blowing well today.” The music fills the lounge and spills outside as more fans walk through the doors. The place is jam-packed, the atmosphere is almost electric, everybody is listening. This is no place for the pop maniac or the lover of Schmaltz; this is the scene of the jazz lover, the man of music.
Don’t ask for a request. You will be either ignored or worse laughed at. The musicians frustrated with the commercialised music they have to play all week,are having a ball. They are playing the kind of music they love… nobody tells them what to play.
On almost any Saturday lunch time in the Clarendon you will rub shoulders with people like Dick Haymes, George Chisholm, Peggy O’Keefe, Vince Hill, Iain McFadyen, or Ian Sutherland. They are welcome to sit in for a blow, and often do.
When I dropped in recently on stage were Frank Pantrini, who runs the show, George Scott Henderson on piano taking over from resident pianist Kenny Crawford, Billy Young on guitar, Ricky Fernandez on double bass, Rudi Salerio on bongos, Pat Gallaher on drums, George Chisholm on trombone and Ella Crawley on vocals.
Frank Pantrini, who has been drawing the crowds into the lounge for years and who plays regularly at the Albert Ballroom in Glasgow, tells me: “At one time or another we have had all the top session musicians sitting in with us, all the boys who come up from London to back entertainers in television shows. “No pressure is put on them, they just bring their instruments along and if the mood is on them they sit in and play. It’s fun, it is our way of relaxing and getting the poison out of our system.”
Out at the Olde World Inn in Cumbernauld they have a happy scene going. They recently installed a portable dance floor in the steak house which is laid every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Music for dancing is by the Blue Angels (Tuesday), Cherish (Wednesday) and the Merry Macs (Thursday and Friday).
Why is the name of con-science are people outwith Glasgow able to have a dance in such eating houses when we in Glasgow are not allowed to, I suppose it must make some kind of sense to the Glasgow city fathers. I hope it does, because it certainly makes sense to no one else.