Glasgow Licensing Board’s decision to allow 54 pubs and bars to extend their opening hours is being welcomed by night time economy specialists, but they say it’s not a ‘complete solution’.

Glasgow City Council announced last week that the licensing board had approved the applications of 54 pubs and bars in the city to remain open until 1 am, as part of a 12-month pilot programme.

The pilot is designed to help avoid large numbers of people coming out of venues at the same time, and help ease pressure on public transport services, taxis, and policing.

READ MORE: Full list of Glasgow bars opening until 1am

Now, Scotland’s Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) - a group advocating for the positive impacts the Night Time sector has on local economies – has said that while extending opening hours is a positive step, it’s not enough to mend the challenges businesses face from dwindling footfall in Glasgow.

An NTIA Scotland Spokesperson said: "The NTIA fully supports the principal of relaxing restrictions on licensed trading hours as a matter of policy, so welcome the progressive attitude of the Glasgow License Board in trialing extended trading hours for pubs across Glasgow.

“The benefits of extended hours include promoting staggered egress, reducing congestion at taxi ranks, and enhancing public safety. However, for this to be effective, it must be paired with the necessary infrastructure and safety mechanisms.”

Glasgow's footfall has been on the decline for a number of years, and took a major hit during the Covid Pandemic. The city has been fighting to get the levels back to normal with a number of investments aimed at revitalising the city centre including the Golden Z plans.

At the end of 2022 it was revealed that City Centre footfall was down by a fifth compared to pre-pandemic levels, which equated to around 810,000 fewer visitors per month. 

Last month, the CEO of Glasgow’s Chamber of Commerce, Stuart Patrick, said that footfall growth had stuttered in the lead-up to Christmas last year and eventually reversed into a decline in January and February.

He said in the first two months of 2024, “around 200,000 less people visited the city centre than in the same months last year”, and that “Glasgow, sadly, continues to be outperformed by other UK cities such as Leeds and Manchester."

Retail footfall in Scotland also dropped again in April, with Glasgow showing a year-on-year decline of 5.7 per cent.


The NTIA say in order to get footfall consistently on the rise, extending opening hours of venues needs to be paired with significant investment into the surrounding infrastructure.

They added: “Significant concerns have been expressed by late-night operators that at a time when footfall in Glasgow City is at an all-time low, and operators face an onslaught of economic and societal challenges, the erosion of the gap between pub hours and club hours presents a further threat.

“The timing of this change is also causing concern for late-night businesses as it coincides with the student exam period where venues are traditionally quieter.

“Extending hours to 1 am allows pubs, bars, and restaurants to increase revenue, helping them recover and thrive during a period of significant financial strain. While this measure is a positive step, it is not a complete solution. Continuous support and strategic consideration are crucial to ensure businesses can fully capitalize on this opportunity.

“Proper transportation, security, and public services are essential to support the extended trading hours. This combined approach should ultimately bolster the Night Time Economy whilst ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all patrons.”