Musician Amy Macdonald, Miss Scotland Keryn Matthew and Judy Murray, mother of tennis aces Andy and Jamie, were among the guests who gathered for a party to mark the most anticipated restaurant and bar opening in Glasgow for some time.
The former branch of the Nationwide Building Society in Buchanan Street has been transformed into a lavish Ivy brasserie able to accommodate 222 people and decked out in locally-referenced artwork, bold and colourful prints, pendant lighting, marble floor tiles, polished parquet panel flooring and a mixture of leather banquettes and bar stools.
Laura Bamber, The Ivy Collection’s Operations Director, responsible for all its outlets north of London, said: “We have been looking for the right site in Glasgow for a long time and we think we’ve found it.”
The Ivy Buchanan Street will open on 29 July. It follows the opening of the Ivy on the Square in Edinburgh in 2017 and adds to a growing stock of restaurants in Glasgow which is showing a resistance to the wider squeeze on the sector. It will employ 12 staff, a number coming from the TGI Friday across the street.
The trend has also been good for landlords and property letting companies. Restaurant rents in Glasgow grew sharply between 2014–2017, according to Savills, as operators competed for the best sites, although rents fell last year by approximately 10% to a prime level of £35-40 per sq ft reflecting the wider squeeze which has seen a number of restaurants close.
Among openings in Glasgow last year were Stack & Still, the UK’s largest urban pancake restaurant, unveiling new premises on West George Street; La Vita Spuntini opening on Gordon Street; and So L.A, a Californian inspired restaurant and bar, on Mitchell Street. The four national restaurant / bar operators to launch in the city in 2018 were Vapiano, Absurd Bird, Revolution and KFC.
This year’s new arrivals include Benihana on West Nile Street, Project Pizza launching on Union Street and Catch on St Vincent Street.