A POPULAR pub in Glasgow’s Merchant City has changed hands for the first time in more than three decades, writes Scott Wright.

Babbity Bowster, based on Blackfriars Street, has been acquired by Caledonian Heritable, the pub giant whose outlets include The Dome and Ryan’s Bar in Edinburgh.

The bar had been founded in 1985 by Fraser Laurie, following his acquisition of the 1790 Robert Adam building in which it trades in 1983.

Under Mr Laurie, the property was sympathetically refurbished into a pub, and over the years built a strong reputation for its cuisine and live entertainment.

Its sale comes shortly after it was named UK Town Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide Awards, which described it as a “Glasgow institution”.

Edinburgh-based Caledonian Heritable is owned by the leisure industry entrepreneur Kevin Doyle, and owns the Archerfield golf resort, in East Lothian, as well as its substantial pub interests.

The deal to acquire Babbity Bowster was brokered by Bruce & Co, and is the first to be concluded by the agent this year. The agent said the sale had gone through after the pub had attracted a “substantial amount of interest”. Lead negotiator Adam Dell’Armi said he was “delighted” the deal had been concluded. The value was not disclosed.