From its vibrant street art to the vast selection of independent cafes and small businesses, there is a lot going on in Dennistoun.

It's Tuesday lunchtime and Alexandra Parade is bustling and you can get a sense of why Dennistoun has been named one of the most stylish areas.

Recent years have seen the types of businesses usually associated with the student-dominated West End pop up around Dennistoun – the likes of vegan cafés and independent coffee shops – but the area’s residents insist that whilst this is true, the East End retains something the West End lacks – a distinct local identity.

Connie Kelly, owner of Connies BIG DUCK bathrooms, was in the middle of blowing up an inflatable advert when he stopped to tell us why he thinks Dennistoun’s new title is well earned. “I’ve been living in Dennistoun for 40 years. It’s the coolest, trendiest place in Glasgow. It’s got everything here – parks, good eateries, lots of cafes, everything you could ever want actually. Everyone should want to stay in Dennistoun,” Connie says. 

The Herald: Connie Kelly says Dennistoun has everything. Photo Gordon Terris.Connie Kelly says Dennistoun has everything. Photo Gordon Terris. (Image: Newsquest)

“It’s very diverse. I would call it a cosmopolitan city. Even though it is just a wee place, I'd call it a wee cosmopolitan city," he continues. The sense of community which persists in Dennistoun is also clear - during the ten minutes I spend with Connie, he bumps into at least three people he stops to catch up with. 

Read more: Dennistoun: Glasgow's 'most stylish' neighbourhood says poll

Despite Dennistoun's rise in status, one of its constants is the prominence of Celinos Italian restaurant as an institution of Alexandra Parade. Many of Glasgow's Italian immigrants resided in the area at the time Celinos was established. It has gone on to become one of the best known restaurants in Glasgow, winning multiple awards and opening a second, larger branch on Dumbarton Road in Partick. 

Antonio Cerqua, the brother-in-law of Celinos owner Claudio Celino, has seen the restaurant from its beginnings to the heights of success it has reached now, insisting it has "changed the way Glasgow eats." He points down the street to the cafe where he used to work himself, selling "a plate of chips and a coca cola for seven and a half pence." 

Painting in his shed near the Celinos building, which used to be an old cinema - at one point Dennistoun had the highest density of cinemas in Europe, he informs me - Antonio insists that at its heart, the area has not changed all that much in its rise to trendiness. "It still has the same friendly atmosphere, and even more so now because a lot of young people have moved here. I know everybody here, I love Dennistoun."

The Herald: Celino's Dennistoun team celebrate areas successCelino's Dennistoun team celebrate areas success (Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

For those still working at the heart of the Celinos business today though, gentrification has brought about changes. Jane Warren, who manages the deli, has worked at Celinos for 21 years.

"It has been voted trendiest, and you can see that in customers now," she says. "You still get locals and regular customers who come in for a quarter chop of pork, but you also get people who come after seeing recipes from celebrity chefs on TV looking for specific Italian ingredients. It used to be mainly the Italian customers who came for those specific ingredients.

"A lot of the new people moving in are coming from the West End. I actually grew up in the West End, and I think Dennistoun has become more like the West End in terms of the businesses that are popping up and the type of customers are in. Now there are trendy shops and vegan bakeries. It's good as it brings you different customers - it's nice to have your regulars but it's also nice to see new faces."

A sense of distinctiveness around Dennistoun is not a new phenomenon – it has always had a more prominent arts scene than neighbouring parts of the east end and indeed areas across Glasgow. It has long had a name for being a hub for art, having been home to Impact Arts Studio and WASPS Artists Studios.

Today, the area is still attracting young creatives. The Herald met Jordan Winter, a young musician who moved to the area last month, standing on front of the colourful, Hollywood-style Dennistoun mural which can be found on Annbank Street. The vibrance of the mural is reflective of the diversity of the community, although the palm trees painted on either side less so of its climate.

The Herald: Jordan Winter enjoying the music scene in DennistounJordan Winter enjoying the music scene in Dennistoun (Image: Newsquest)

Jordan made the decision to move east from his flat in the city centre initially for financial reasons, but has found Dennistoun to be a great place to live for a young musician.

“There’s a few pubs down here that do live music, so it’s pretty good.” He adds that it is easy enough to make it into the city centre, and equally easy to jump on the train without paying.