W R Mainds' watercolour sketch showing the back of a timber building at 28 Saltmarket which housed the Old Nightingale Tavern, reputedly Glasgow's first singing saloon. Two women are standing in the doorway of the building opposite the saloon.
Singing saloons, especially common in the Saltmarket area, offered a cheap and cheerful alternative to music halls with no entrance fee and the added attraction of cheap drinks. Patrons sat at long wooden benches and were entertained with renditions of popular songs of the day and sometimes by comic turns. An entertainer who failed to please his audience could be subjected to a barrage of abuse or worse, and the saloons gained a reputation for rowdinesss. Most had been closed down by the 1890s.
Reference: Sp Coll Bh12-x.3
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections
back stairs, closes, drinking, Old Nightingale Tavern, pubs, singing saloons, taverns, timber houses, wooden clapperboard, wynds