Geek Travels: Glasgow
I’ve only ever been to Glasgow for work and even then I only stayed one night, where I spent that night in a pub with my work colleagues and we got very, very drunk. But what I do remember about Glasgow is that it’s a city with an interesting history, with lots of character. I recently revisited the city and to say that the it has changed is a bit of an understatement. Whilst wandering the streets, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Glasgow has a booming geek culture and wanted to share it with you.
While I wandered around the streets of Glasgow I found out about two quite major conventions. For all your Anime & Manga needs there is RaiCon which takes place twice a year, at the beginning of May and around November . A full ticket, that includes the after party, is just £14 if you book in advance and kids under 10 go free!
Then there is MCM, which is held this year in late September. I truly believe that visiting a city when your attending a convention is one of the best experiences you can have. You’ll see things you would not normally see, meet a whole bunch of people and get to explore all at the same time.
27 Union Street, Glasgow, G1 3RB
Tokyo toys has two major stores (at time of writing); one in Birmingham and one in Glasgow. I find it quite incredible that shops like this exist these days, its something that would never of existed outside of Forbidden Planet when I was young, but now independent shops like this are a thing.
Tokyo Toys has everything your average Otaku could think of and more. They look to try and provide figurines, clothing, plushies, anime, snacks and all sorts of other things. The shop in Glasgow is pretty impressive and it’s really close to Glasgow Central station.
74 Queen Street, Glasgow, G1 3D
The second major Pop Culture shop is the fabulously named Geek Aboo. It’s been open since 2014 and again it’s fairly central, so easy to get to from the main train station. They certainly give Tokyo Toys a run for their money and have a fair amount of board games added onto it. It’s certainly less based on Japanese culture but they hold a lot of stock about all sorts of other licences.
63 Union Street, Glasgow, G1 3RB
If you just want a place to go chill out with your mates, play some old school N64 or PS or even just sit down at a table for a game of Magic or otherwise. The Geek Retreat is a cafe like no other that I have been into before. They have a really interesting underground space with disabled access and a bunch of stuff that you can occupy your time with. I think if GeekOut had a Glasgow branch then the Geek Retreat might be possibly the best place to hold it.
The staff I spoke to were super nice and no doubt really knowledgeable and they have other stores in Newcastle, Birmingham, Leeds & Milton Keynes. They have a great slogan that I know we can get behind.
“Stop in & geek out”
7 King Street, Glasgow, G1 5QZ
If you feel like enjoying one of Glasgow’s many places to grab a beer and fancy playing some retro arcades, then head to the puntastic Super Bario. The bar was funded by a Kickstarter and has a nice range of locally sourced and international beers. They regularly rotate arcade games too so you always have something you might want to play.
146 Saltmarket, Glasgow, G1 5LB
RCade is more of a Japanese style retro arcade cafe than a bar. They have a collection of board games available or indeed you can bring your own. Their arcade is something to behold, they have an impressive selection of games to choose from and a really reasonable pricing strategy too.
- £3 – Standard Pass – 30 minutes
- £5 – Extended Pass – 1 hour
- £15 – Half Day Pass – 4 hours
Any of these passes give you access to all of the consoles and all of the games with just some base rules. No age restricted games (16+) before 7pm, don’t touch the TV or consoles, no rage quitting/throwing controllers. They also have free wi-fi and space for you can do your home/office work. Seems fair to me!
Comics & Board games
If you could not find the comic that you wanted in Tokyo Toys or Geek Aboo, then give this comic shop in the west end of Glasgow a try. A1 toys has a pretty big set of collectables, games and graphic novels and they buy toys/comics/games so you can trade in stuff if you want.
Last but by no means least is the sister shop for A1 Toys called Static Games. I have to say that Static Games has a massive selection of games, in fact I would go so far to say that they have the biggest selection I have seen for a really long time. They have a massive array of RPG’s, board games, card games etc, etc. I spoke a little to the staff, who were really nice and knowledgeable. You can tell that they put a lot of time and effort into the shop.
What I am trying to say is that Glasgow is a great city. You may feel that the people are really intense, but they are often really nice. There is enough to see and do there for a few days; as a Goth I can highly recommend a wander around the Necropolis and a tour of the many nice places to eat and drink. It’s well worth the trip and if you enjoy some history, then check out Glasgow – I highly recommend it.