28 Saltmarket, Glasgow.
This is a watercolour by W R Mainds showing the back of a timber building at 28 Saltmarket which housed the Old Nightingale Tavern, reputedly Glasgow’s first singing saloon. Two women are standing in the doorway of the building opposite the saloon. Thanks to the Mitchell Library.
Singing Saloons were especially common on the Saltmarket, offering a cheap and cheerful alternative to music halls with no entrance fee and the added attraction of cheap drink. Patrons sat at long wooden benches and were entertained with renditions of popular songs of the day and sometimes by comic turns. An entertainer who failed to please the audience would have been subjected to a barrage of abuse and rotten tomatoes thrown at them. These saloons gained a reputation for rowdiness, most had been closed down by the 1890s when the City Council’s redevelopments in the area.