An introduction to the Cafe at the Glasgow Climbing Centre

Are you fed up with the normal coffee shop chains? Come with me on a short trip to the Southside of Glasgow and possibly a unique coffee stop. The Balcony Cafe within the Glasgow Climbing Centre.

Photo by Curiosities, Castles and Coffee Shops
Oops – Looks like I didn’t see the sign – we didn’t wait to be seated

My Guidebooks of Glasgow both suggested a visit to the Balcony Cafe because of its setting. Since its also within my neighbourhood, along with my neighbour, we thought we’d check it out.

The Climbing Centre is on the Southside of the City, near Rangers Football Club’s Ibrox Stadium and is situated in a converted church building. You access the cafe by ascending a spiral staircase and it is in front of a beautiful stained glass feature window.

The Church was originally built in 1865 and between then and 1994 when the Glasgow Climbing Centre was founded, the church has been Presbyterian, United Free and latterly, a Methodist Church.

From the cafe, we had a good view out over the climbing walls and the wooden beams of the converted church. The centre has 50 different climbing routes and can cater from beginners to more experienced climbers. In fact, the most experienced can, should they accept the challenge and weather permitting, abseil down the outside of the building’s steeple. Children from 7 up can explore the climbing walls.

Photo by Curiosities, Castles and Coffee Shops

It is worth a visit for the views even, if like me, you don’t fancy any climbing. However, I would advise any visitors to be prepared for the cold. With hindsight, being up in the gods, as they call it, of big draughty open Victorian building will be cold – but I can definitely imagine it being a great sanctuary from the heat if Scotland gets a summer.

The cafe was just opening when we arrived at 11am, but I had a tasty cappuccino and my friend had a vanilla chai tea. The cafe had a good selection of what they described as “fancy” teas. However, I believe that the Centre is open Mon-Fri from 11am – 10pm; Sat-Sun from 9am – 6pm and serves both lunch and dinner.

If you’re in the area and fancy something a bit different when grabbing a coffee, the Glasgow Climbing Centre on Paisley Road West is worth checking out. From Glasgow City Centre its easy to get to the Climbing Centre, either taking the Subway to Ibrox or Cessnock and then a 10 minute walk. Alternatively there are regular buses and on a normal day, it would be about a 15/20 minute bus ride.

References and Links

  • Millar, Stephen and Loney, Gillian, 2022, Secret Glasgow, Jonglez Publishing, Slovakia
  • Shields, Tom and Tait, Gillian, 2021, 111 Places in Glasgow that you shouldn’t miss, revised 3rd edition, Emons: Germany

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  1. Love that you said. If we get a summer. You’re hopeful as didn’t you have one last year, so nit due for another generation lol

    • Yes, but with climate change, it might happen again. If not, I’ll just have to return to Sheffield and watch them bring the seaside to the city centre again

  2. Love when smart people re-purpose old buildings! Old churches have amazing architecture to begin with but add being able to climb on it- I bet this is a popular place. The quaint cafe was a genius idea as well. My youngest used to climb in a facility before moving outside to the real thing. She would love this place!

    • Hmm. Interesting question, Kevin. I didn’t hear any bells. And it’s close enough to home, I’d probably have heard it 😁

  3. Wow that is really awesome. I don’t like going to chain coffee shops. Over priced and you don’t have long to sit. I would spend all day at this coffee shop. There is something for everyone

  4. What a cool climbing centre! Oh, those walls look like so much fun – and to rappel down the steeple or sip a beverage in the cafe. Wonderful!

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