History

Spirit Merchants - A Star Bar history...
 
According to records; In 1840s Glasgow, one house in every ten was a public house and by the mid-1870s alcohol consumption reached its peak, with an average of 344 gallons of beer consumed per individual per year. It's not certain just how long the Star Bar has been in existence, however, the Post Office business register of 1879 lists the premises at 537 Eglinton St. as a 'Spirit Merchants' - this coincides nicely with the beer-consumption statistics for these times. The hostelry at this time was operated by a Neil Downie, Mr. Downie was at the helm until 1899 - ten years in the business. No one quite knows for how-long the name 'The Star Bar' has been in existence or who gave it its present, popular name, however being at the very heart of Glasgow's Eglinton Toll - a busy intersection of 5 roads forming, yes, a natural star - the name would've come easily enough and could be as old as the premises itself. Early photographs show the 'Star Bar' sign emblazoned across the premises in 1939 - perhaps it was 'The Star Bar' since long-before this? 
 
Since the later-part of the 19th. Century, The Star Bar was the favoured watering-hole of 'Southern folk' - the residents of Glasgow's south-side. Its location was a busy intersection - the photo below (from 1917) shows a Glasgow tram and commuters waiting in the shelter. The site would've been a natural meeting-place or a busy hub for catching-a-tram to every part of the city and is in-fact, still a major stopping-point for bus routes throughout the modern Glasgow. The 'St. Andrew's Cross' building commands an imposing position right on the 'gushet' of Eglinton St and Victoria Rd. and was a prime-site In the heady-days of ballroom dancing. Glasgow was renowned as the dance capital of Europe in that bygone era and 'The Star' was very popular with folk who frequented the old 'Plaza' ballroom (The Plaza Ballroom was opened in 1922 but, unfortunately is no-longer in existence); couples would stop at 'The Star', have a couple of beers or Babychams before hoofing-it across to the dancing.
 
The photo below shows Eglinton Toll from 1917 when the premises were owned by G.A. McAll.
 
 

Although there has been a bar at this location for over 125 years, its present name has certainly been in-use now for at-least 70 years. Although the Plaza dancers have long-since ceased coming to the Plaza ballroom, the location is still as popular as ever - folk come from far-and-wide to be part of its old-world ambience.
Glasgow has a rich tradition of 'pioneers' - many early residents leaving these shores to seek their fortune in other parts of the world. Being situated in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, the Star Bar is a regular stopping-off point for the relatives of these early-travelers; they come to Glasgow's south-side seeking background information on ancestors. We welcome many long-lost sons and daughters back home;  visitors generally come from as far-afield as the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa - we even had a lovely brother and sister from Japan whose ancestor left Bonny Scotland in 1852 to set-up in business there.
 
The two photos below depict a scene of Star Bar 'expansion', in the early days of WWII. During the time of these photos - 1939 and 1940 - the Star Bar was being operated by James Haxton who probably foresaw the need for a place where couples could have a pleasant drink together. This in itself is quite unusual as the liberated female was another 10-or-more years down-the-road and a 'Bar Lounge' was not a common occurrence in pre-war Glasgow. The progressive Mr. Haxton bought the premises next-door - probably a disused store - and transformed it into what is now the Star Bar lounge. In-fact, the later 1940s photograph doesn't tell the whole story as the shop premises to the immediate left of the double lounge doors has now, also, been swamped and integrated into the larger lounge as we know it today.
 
Before (1939):                                              After (1940):
 
The current proprietors, Giovanna and Paul, have been operating since 1988
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Previous occupants/proprietors:
1879-1899    Neil Downie                20 years
1899-1910    D. Campbell               11 years
1910-1912    Gerald McGorty            2 years
1912-1917    G.A McCall                  5 years
1918-1930    D.G McAll                  12 years
1931-1972    James Haxton            41 years
1973-1987    Jim Brogan                14 years (?)
1988-20??    Giovanna and Paul     26 years and still counting..