Argyle Street, Glasgow
Bill Crouch reflects
Sloans, not far from the Britannia Panopticon, was the happy meeting place of the Bonnie Scotland Tent, under Grand Sheik Willie McIntyre for many years.
Sloans can trace its history back to the end of the 18th century when it started life as Morrison’s Coffee House.
David Sloan, a prominent Glaswegian publican of the era, bought the venue at the turn of the 20th century and renamed it the Sloans Arcade Cafe. It was remodelled by Charles E Robinson, a specialist in ornate bar interiors.
Sloans is located within the iconic Argyll Arcade at 108 Argyle Street. Note the spelling anomaly here. The street is called Argyle Street but the notable shopping arcade is spelled Argyll. Old maps and charts used both spellings.
The Argyll Arcade is one of Europe’s oldest covered shopping arcades and Scotland’s first indoor shopping mall.
The L-shaped arcade was built in 1827 in the Parisian style by a design by John Baird who used an innovative blend of cast iron and glass. The arcade was cut through old tenements and provides a link between Argyle Street and the impressive Buchanan Street at its far end.
Today the glass roofed arcade is predominated by jewellers' shops, a few with workshops attached. A wander through will not disappoint.
Sloans is a grade A listed building which, after refurbishment, still boasts many of its original features. It is a rare example of a bar, dining room and coffee house complex with an exceptional opulent Art Nouveau interior.
The impressive ceramic tiled entrance from Argyll Arcade is of exceptional quality with cream, blue, green, yellow and brown patterned tiles and leads to a stunning mahogany staircase whose rich woodwork over two floors, reveals booths with glass panels, dining rooms with chandeliers and culminates in the stunning grand ballroom with its vaulted ceiling, marble fireplace and intricate stained-glass.
The Bonnie Scotland Tent held many memorable meetings, dinners and marathon film shows over the years in this magnificent and magical building.