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Merchant City Festival, Glasgow

25 - 28 September 2008


Top Secret Quote Bubble Banner in black, with montage of photos of the festival. Caption: 'music, markets, shows, shops, food and fun'

Welcome to the Merchant City Festival 2008.

Expect great things and fun times in one of the very best festivals in our calendar.

Hop aboard our Flickr carousel of fun with all of your great pics of previous festival glories...

Top Secret Glasgow aims to make sure you have the very best time out and about in Glasgow. The Merchant City Festival attracts tens of thousands of locals and visitors, all ready to enjoy the shows.

Top Secret Agents busied themselves last year, and we can now file our report, giving you tips about highlights to catch if you can. All based on our own thrills and laughs last year, an ace time comes your way!

glasgow merchant city festival euro plonk fun

We also want to make sure that locals and visitors don't waste any time during the festival. Our Agents will give you all the info you need so that you never waste time looking for somewhere to have a snack near your venues.

We want to make sure that chilled pint is to hand just when you need it, and a perfect meal is never far away.

Come with us for a fun weekend at the Merchant City Festival.

some of the best bits...

glasgow comedy bus tour ready to heckle

The Merchant City Festival takes place during the local autumn holiday weekend, this year from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 September.

Here are some tips about events well worth checking out. Number one is AMAZING fun, and places are limited, as you'll see.

Get yourself onto the Alan Anderson Comedy Coach Tour. On a bus, clearly seats are in limited supply.

Please note these points:

  • Sit on the top deck for the most fun
  • Be prepared to join in - Mr Anderson takes no prisoners!
  • Be ready to heckle - he's waiting for it
  • Be ready to learn quite a lot. As the coach travels around, his knowledge of the off-beat and quirky shines through
  • Remember your camera - this is a trip worth recording

In a similar style, Alan Anderson will conduct his Gallus Glasgow Comedy Walk. Again, his local knowledge and rapier wit clash to great effect. He's a blast, and his number of fans rightly keeps growing.

glasgow the tron theatre high drama

The Tron Theatre gives us the world premier of the new Ioanna Andeson's play Six Acts of Love.

Expect heart-wrenching and humour while Katherine comes to terms with being dumped for a younger model by her husband, while here Mum is diagnosed with dementia.

As ever, Tron Theatre will deliver a top notch show.

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform in City Halls. This year at the Merchant City Festival Chief Conductor will lead a rousing evening that includes Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 'Choral'. City Halls was restored not long ago, and makes a super venue.

Warm and full of heart, Jenny Eclair shows up in The Tron Theatre with her popular hilarious show, 'Because I Forgot to Get a Pension' tour. Her lines hit home, leaving you rocking in the aisles.

A really cool, free event is the tour of Glasgow's past, built on tobacco and slavery. On Friday, a free guided walk is being run. A definite one to take in, if you can.

glasgow merchant city festival real model life

On Saturday from 2 - 4pm, the Ingram Street Shopping Day features lovely male and female models sitting in the windows. So you can oggle some gorgeous people - for nothing!

Last, but by no means least on our Top Secret choices of the Best Bits is the French market in Candleriggs.

There all four days of the festival, you can saunter around the stalls, breathing deeply to catch those glorious scents! Enjoy!

Of course, there are many other events to tickle your fancy over the four fun packed days of the featival. Find our more from the Merchant City Festival offical website.

on with the show...

glasgow merchant city festival naughty alice and alice

What fun Top Secret Agents had at last years festival. Check out the video clip of the cheeky Alice and Alice.

They were just one of several street performers spotted around the Merchant City Festival over the weekend. And of course several musical acts kept the crowds entertained.

More will be here this year, doing exactly the same cool things.

taking a breather...

glasgow merchant city festival arts and crafts galore

Then more fun was had exploring the best bars and restaurants in the Merchant City. Many are really close to the festival venues, but you might not have heard about them.

This report tells you about the very best offered in the Merchant City.

We hope you enjoy what you find as much as we do. In fact, why not send us a story about your Merchant City fun, and we'll publish your very own Top Secret pages on the web? What are you waiting for...

Here are the best places for:

  • Grabbing a snack while you have a schedule to keep
  • Relaxing with friends and a drink
  • Pre-theatre dining
  • Catching the true vibe of the Merchant City Festival

There and LOADS of places to try. But we're only interested in the very best - right here. So we don't give list after list of places for you to puzzle over. Rather we keep our reports lean, and keep your time best spent off having a quality time... whatever you decide.

time for a snack...

glasgow cafe source golden warmth

If you venture to St. Andrews in the Square , have a look in the cosy, golden-glowing Cafe Source in the basement.

They even have some outside tables for good weather, so its more than a basement cafe. Soup and sandwiches are fresh and yummy.

The cafe that lead the way for Merchant City regeneration is the fab Cafe Gandolfi.

Superb use of fresh Scottish produce, added to a dash of their very own style in a top notch dining space in the best 'just round the corner' location make this place a local fave.

You'll see why once you've been. A tip for Cafe Gandolfi is to book in advance... locals really do love it!

choices for a tipple...

glasgow babbity bowster village pub in the city

How lucky is the Merchant City Festival to have Babbity Bowster hidden in its centre?

Really close to High Street, Babbity Bowster has an amazing wee beer garden, and a cosy bar just waiting to be found.

Bringing the feel of a village pub to the Merchant City, we believe you'll fall in love with it!

Another classic Merchant City bar is the cute and cosy Rab Ha's.

Steeped in history, and sitting quietly just round the corner from bustling Glassford Street, Rab Ha's opens its arms to welcome all travellers! glasgow arta indoors is outdoors

Fancy a spot of renaissance design, in an Italian courtyard that is really inside? (What a weird question to ask!)

Well if the answer is "Yes", get yourself over to Arta for a glass or two.

This is one the most unusual bars in the Merchant City, and this year is venue to more than one festival event.

Expect the vibe to be going wild!

perfect pre-theatre...

glasgow guys quirky decor

One of the Merchant City Festival hubs is The Tron Theatre, and the Tron Victorian Bar is a striking place for a spot of pre-theatre dining.

In fact, the energy levels go through the roof here - and what a striking roof, too - on show nights.

The bar is original, from Victorian times, and it sits proudly over a really cool dining space where great food is served.

The decor is striking as well in Guy's. Part modern chic, part Granny's kitchen (no, really), it somehow works.

And the food with its influences from around the world always has something to inspire.

If that doesn't float your boat, old faves are also to be found on the menu. Check it out and enjoy.

top merchant city festival vibe...

One of the best things about the Merchant City Festival is the friendly feel of those taking in the music, street artists, face painters, markets and shows.

The whole Merchant City buzzes with laid back laughter and applause.

With this is mind, our Top Secret Agents have put their heads (and notes) together, to bring you the places to go for a seat.

In those places you'll feel right at the centre of the festival fun and games. Expect friendly crowds and lots of happy chit-chat.

glasgow brutti ma buoni kilted service

A leading light in the Merchant City, and a beacon to cool and good taste is Brutti Ma Buoni in The Brunswick.

It was outside tables on recently restored Brunswick Street, and there might well be a musical stage facing it.

So the best of all worlds awaits here - you sit in a cool spot, in the sun if it's nice, with stylish folks and close to a stage for musical ents. Who could ask for more?

Just down Brunswick Street from Brutti Ma Buoni are two other hot Merchant City spots. Cafe Mao and Citation are classy, and both have pavement terraces.

glasgow citation al fresco living

Get there early to grab the best tables!

In this neck of the Merchant City woods, plenty to see floats by, and it'll look great when you're seen in the most vibrant spots!

Both are special inside, too. Cafe Mao is light and airy, serving spicy Thai delights (and lots of beers!). Citation, on the other hand, is cosy and minimal, despite its size. Don't tell anyone, but Citation also has a first floor balcony to sit at as well.

glasgow tron bar wall of window

Funky, or what?

Last, but by no means least, is Tron Bar. Popular for decades now, locals keep going back, and with good reason.

Sitting in an award-winning restored building, one wall is all glass. Sit in the window, sip your drink and even have a nibble, while the whole Merchant City Festival vibe gets going, all around you.

The Tron rocks... every time.

how was it for you?...

That just about wraps it up from Top Secret Glasgow. We really hope your Merchant City Festival 2008 is a blast. Why not file your own report about what you get up to? We'd love to hear from you. And we'll even publish your very own Top Secret web pages. Include a photos of your adventures, for added impact.

Enjoy the festival, Merchant City party-people!

.share a great story about The Merchant City Festival...

Do you have a special story about a time you decided to The Merchant City Festival? A funny experience? A grand occasion? A funky photo? A personal tip? A top secret?

Well… spill!...

(need some inspiration? OK - then check out Merchant City Festival stories from your fellow visitors first...)

.Your Great Stories about The Merchant City Festival...

Click on the links below to see some great stories, tips and photos for The Merchant City Festival. They were all written by other visitors to this page...

All That Jazz at Merchant City Festival 
wooooo! jazz hot in bell street - we loved the vibe there - great day - blue sky - cold beer - chilled wine - nibbles from the market stalls - mmmmmmmmm …

Tasty and French at Merchant City Festival 
Our lot love the market too. I want to say it was because of the great stalls and the tasty food (they were!) But it was really the cute French guys …

Crafty Fun at Merchant City Festival 
We really loved the craft market inside Merchant Square last year. The quality was amazing - all sorts of stuff, all made by hand. My personal favourite? …

Alice in La-la-Land! 
Caught these strange street performers doing their thing at the Merchant City Festival. They were dead funny, and just a little creepy too! Come on …

Crepes and Crowds in Glasgow Merchant City 
The food was great - we really loved the freshly made crepes. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. And some of the wine deals were amazing.

Felt Like a Dummy at Merchant City Festival Not rated yet
...not me - him! What a cool idea - who came up with that? All along Ingram Street's poshest shops, live "dummies" were modelling their latest collections. …

LOST in The Merchant City Festival Not rated yet
Did anyone get the chance to go around that great big hedge maze in George Square last year? Can't remember the name - think it was "Lost"? We had …

Pastry Heaven in the Merchant City French Market Not rated yet
We loved the French market last year. Rows and rows of market stalls all the way down Candleriggs. Each one was as tempting as the last! There was …

Click here to write your own.

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