I had heard about it; the scores of nice restaurants there, the transformation from urban industrial estates to cool pop up bars, hipster haunts and art studios. You're less likely to find dockworkers wandering the streets now, and more likely to see artists wearing vintage and riding bikes with baskets. I had even thought that Finnieston might be TOO trendy, but it becomes quickly obvious that even if it is, that doesn't take away from what it has to offer. As JG Wilkes, half of legendary Glaswegian duo 'Optimo' (Their legendary night at Subclub is ALWAYS amazing) said of Finneston -
"It’s buzzing there and you can get a nice bit of fish for your tea, even though you have to eat it off a slate and drink your drink out of a jam jar"
Amen to that.
On Tuesday, on a recommendation from my friend Lauren, we decided to visit Finnieston to do the most traditional of activities. No, not go and look at the crane, but have afternoon tea. The Hidden Lane Tearoom is a place that's name can be taken very, very literally. On Argyle Street, you have to keep your eyes peeled for the signposted lane, which I think is officially called Argyle Court. Once you find the elusive lane however, it feels like you have stepped into a kaleidoscope.
Full to bursting of studios, a jewellery shop, record store and a collection of galleries, each building is painted a different, brilliant jewel colour. The aforementioned basketed bike leaning against the peeling canary yellow wall doesn't FEEL like it's there to complete the picture, it all feels real.
Tucked at the end of the lane you will find the tearoom, whose glass front wall reflects the colours opposite, making it literally a hidden gem. It only gets better when you get inside, feeling like what you want every slightly stuffy, Cath Kidson filled cafe to, but authentic. Filled with mismatched antique chairs, vintage crockery, faded pastel colours and a wall of promising cake stands, it is nothing less than dreamy. I am immediately propelled to being my ninety year old self, all I want to do is sit down and knit and drink tea until I burst, even though I can't knit.
We sat upstairs, overlooking the mezzanine balcony, in order to get the best view of the place. After seeing the cake stands there was nothing for it but to go all out and order the luxury afternoon tea. At £15 per person - only £3 more than the regular version, and with unlimited tea - it is far less expensive than alternatives I have seen in chain teahouses, and definitely more satisfying. With an endless supply of Lavender Earl Grey, we cooed over the china, the delicious tiny homemade cakes and sandwiches, and over the lane, the chairs, the lamps, the tea strainer... everything. It was hard not to pack up and move in.
The tea itself was delicious, the sandwiches fresh and the cakes perfect, filled with the zestiest fruit flavours and just the right size, we left pleasantly full but not stuffed. The tea menu is filled with exotic sounding Chai's, herbal and fruit blends which I am no expert on, but I can highly recommend the Lavender Earl Grey, it was light, floral and lovely. This is one to take your vintage-minded girlfriends, your Mum or your Granny to. It won't break the bank, and it really feels like the real deal. The quiet lane is the perfect place for it, taking you just out of the bustle of the busy Argyle Street, so you feel like you could sit and bask in the artsy glow for hours.
My first visit to Finnieston was no doubt a success. The Hidden Lane Tearoom is even more enchanting than the name suggests, but not only that, Finnieston itself is full of potential. I am already making a list of places there I want to visit, and it is filling up fast. I fear for my bank balance.
Hope you are all having a lovely week, and if anyone Glasgow/Finnieston based has any recommendations for me, please get in touch!