In the world according to the Shilling Brewing Company, the gastropub has been supplanted by the brewpub, and you’ll find no complaints from us.
Looking more like the lovechild of Frank Lloyd-Wright than any pub we’ve been in recently, the Glaswegian watering hole has settled in nicely in the cavernous interiors of the old Bank of Scotland building.
The £1.5m retrofit, overseen by Jestico + Whiles, is respectful of the original space, though the lofty dimensions are now humanised by low-hanging lamps, and highly set communal benches and swivel stools.
The bulk of the stills is hidden behind the marble-slabbed bar counter, leaving only the shiny brass domes peeking out from behind a top-screen. At the opposite end, a 20-ft high trompe l’oeil mural of a rearing unicorn by local artist Gaz Mackay looms over a banquette emblazoned with stylized Scottish heraldic symbols.
The convivial communality of the space is reinforced by a simple menu of pizzas cooked in a cupola oven. Here, the dough is cut with baker’s and brewer’s yeast, topped with an unusual swatch of roasted pineapple ketchup, Irn Bru jam, mint yoghurt, Cajun chicken and, just in case you forget where you are, haggis.
Of course, the menu of house-brewed beers is the Shilling’s singular attraction – say cheers to the likes of ale spiced with rye whiskey, and a small batched rotational brew spiked with locally foraged nettles – each of which is accompanied by commendably detailed tasting notes.