• ZJ


Updated: Jun 4, 2018

I was asked to host the official reopening of a legendary establishment in the Southside of Glasgow. Church on the Hill, which has built-up a loyal following over the last 10 years, was opening its doors to the public following a £650,000 refurbishment in March. Never been one to turn down free food and booze, I was of course delighted to accept.

But I’m a firm believer that you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been....

So a bit of history for you:

This building was once the Langside Hill Church - completed for the Free Church of Scotland in 1896. It was the last Classical church to be built in Glasgow. It was designed by Architect Alexander Skirving and the church closed in 1979.

In the 1990s it was saved from demolition, opening as a pub and restaurant. When it first became known as Church on the Hill, one of the specialities being the Monumental burger, a tribute to Battlefield Monument, which faces the building.

This building has a very rich history in the landscape of the city but also for any of use it.

My friend Ashley for example. Almost a decade ago, she was on a pub crawl with a hen do. She looked across the bar and her eyes met with a tall dark handsome man. They walked outside and he took her by the hand, looked into her eyes and said, ‘ I think I love you’. And she said: ‘huurrgh’ emptying the contents of a Nandos lunch over his timbies. Obviously she’s not the classy one of the group. But it was then she knew it was meant to be!

….A one night thing. In fact I was sure it was the bouncer chucking her out. Minor details. But those are the kind of memories you have for life.

Now we all know that classically pubs are where memories go to die. But I really do believe that Church on the Hill has a golden opportunity here to be THE place that we can tell the grandkids about. Yours not mine. I hate kids.

Going back to the importance the history plays in the venue, I was delighted to hear that management have decided to resume Sunday Services.

Come to think of it, they could have said Sunday Sessions. There was definitely something about Holy Spirits. Or was it a whole LOT AE’ spirits. There was a lot of gin and vodka behind the bar…

It’s a lot of fun hosting these events. Not least because I get to inject some horrendous puns and patter, but the Taste PR team were on hand to host with me on the night and one of the activities we had was to gather memories from punters from their experiences in the venue over the years.

I read them out as part of a game to win dinner for two in the venue. There was a woman whose parents were married there before she was born, another who did a dine and dash, someone who had a fight with an off duty RSPCA worker who tried to adopt their dog after it was left outside alone for an hour. Ah the memories. Eventually it was a lesbian couple who had met, fallen in love and later married. Awwwww.

It was a noisy venue (free booze will do that to you) so I struggled over the PA system and eventually gave up – shovelled a Mini Haggis pop in my gob and made b-line for the Crispy Avocado with dip and Salmon with filo.

Once I was off-duty I was able to fully embrace the experience. Pimp My Prosecco’ offered a mix of 4 flavours: Raspberry, Elderflower, Pomegranate & Rose, Rhubarb & Ginger.

And there was a really tasty beer, brewed by the same people behind the venue. Cold Town Beer was making its debut and we became friends.