Popular Celtic pub under threat; how you can help

By Euan Davidson

June 8, 2021

I spent one of the best afternoons of my life in a Celtic pub on the Gallowgate.

So, the setting was the Hoops bar. The date was the 25th of May 2019. I went down the East End with my Dad, and despite trying to beat the crowds by heading early, it was a dead mission. The street was already lined with folk who, like us, couldn’t get tickets for Hampden.

No matter, though. On countless afternoons and evenings, we’d established that the places like the Saracen Head and Bairds Bar (gone, but not forgotten) were fine establishments to enjoy watching the Bhoys. But we’d never been to the Hoops bar, oddly enough.

We rectified our mistake that day. And what a day it was. Like any Celtic-minded pub, the atmosphere was fantastic, but the live music before kick-off and at half-time really made it special. That, and the atmosphere, so thick it felt tangible. Nerves, sure, but a general sense of destiny. We knew we could be part of something historic that day.

And so, you probably remember the game, but it was tension personified. My Dad and I were as nervous as anybody that day. The party atmosphere remained, but with the caveat of knowing it could be a long, sad walk home if Neil Lennon’s Bhoys couldn’t get the business done. And when Edwards put Hearts one up, you knew we wouldn’t be doing this the easy way.

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Eddy replies from the penalty spot. Back on terms, good, but nobody was counting on anything yet. Then Lustig clears with a header. It goes straight to Edouard, he only has to beat the keeper and… wow. I’d been in plenty of raucous Celtic supporting crowds before, but the noise. It was legitimately like standing next to a plane taking off. Pints, arms, utter pandemonium.

We have to save our Celtic pubs

You might’ve been there, or somewhere else where Celtic supporters can sing, wear their colours and get behind the Hoops. But with Covid wreaking havoc, Celtic pubs, like all public houses over the last year and a half, have struggled. And now, one of the most iconic stops on the Gallowgate is under threat.

According to their fundraiser [Crowdfunder]:

“Like many small business, particularly those in the hospitality industry, we at The Hoops Bar have suffered extreme financial hardship due to the pandemic and have been reliant on the frankly insignificant government support provided.

Revellers on the Gallowgate / (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

“We have not been given the additional grants that we were entitled to despite others in the industry being fully supported in recent months. If the situation does not resolve soon we will be forced out of business completely.”

It’s a scary thought. Given the countless amazing nights that Celtic supporters have had in the Hoops bar, it’s sort of unthinkable for it not to be a popular spot to stop past on the way to Paradise. The scene for so many sing-alongs, nervous evenings and utter joy, it’s an institution. You know that even during a season like this one, punters would’ve been sure of nipping past for refreshments in their hundreds every match-day, if fans were allowed to attend games.

The crowd funder is here.

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