Since opening in 1993, McChuills has been more than a pub.
Anyone who has come through the doors over these last 27 years knows this. From those who have been there from the start, to those who have only discovered it in recent times, from those who are occasional visitors to those who are regular fixtures at the bar, everyone is an equal part of what makes it so special.
That ethos all comes from Nicky Stewart. From the off, he established the place as a music pub, first and foremost. A place where live music wasn’t just a way to bring in punters and sell drinks, but one where bands and musicians were valued and given a platform. A place where you didn’t have to pay to play, or fit in with what was popular at the time, where you were looked after and asked back, even if you weren’t packing them in. Because Nicky had faith you would the next time and always would give bands that chance.
Of course, there have been many more times where the pub was packed. McChuills is hands-down one of the best venues in the city, if not the country. From underground punk and hip-hop shows, to full-on raves and mod weekenders that draw punters from all across the UK, it’s a place where all subcultures have a home.
Yes, it’s a pub. A great one at that. A pub where everyone is welcome, regardless of colour, creed, persuasion or allegiance. Where fans of opposing teams drink side by side, where young music fans mix with like minds who have seen it all.
The restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are wreaking havoc on the hospitality industry and the future looks bleak for many of our most-loved bars, restaurants and venues.
McChuills have put everything into reworking their business model to accommodate, while ensuring the bar was complying with all safety regulations and all staff still have a job. It recently opened as a cafe, switching space that was for the venue and equipment into a kitchen in a last-ditch attempt to stay in business.
With all avenues of funding exhausted and what little is coming in not even enough to cover the ongoing bills, the cash reserves are almost depleted. With no sign of being able to operate in any real sense on the horizon, it is now on the verge of closing the doors permanently.
McChuills isn’t just Nicky Stewart’s place. It belongs to everyone and it means the world to so many of us. Time and again, Nicky and McChuills have been there for us. Now, we need to be there for them and each other, to make sure when all this is over, the best pub in Glasgow is still there for all of us.
The only option left is this, a very last resort. If you can, please donate anything you can afford and even if you can’t, share this far and wide.
Together, we can do this.