Restaurants, Bars and Cafes

Maryhill’s new restaurant The Botany will be latest journey for top city restaurateur

By Ellen Thomson at

It’s a famous old bar with a long history – and now the next chapter in its story nods to another episode in the past.

Alan Tomkins, one of Glasgow’s leading hospitality entrepreneurs, has chosen Maryhill as the location for his latest venture, The Botany.

The new bar and restaurant has been born from its previous incarnation, The Strathmore, which originally opened as the Castle Vaults in 1877.

The Botany

Adventure: The Botany restaurant chef John Paul Lappin with Alan Tomkins (left) and Calum Lawson.

The new name for the recently-refurbished premises nods to the prisoners who started their journey to Botany Bay on the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal.

Alan is the man behind city institutions, including Urban Bar & Brasserie, Vroni’s Wine Bar and Blue Dog.

He will open his new venture on Maryhill Road on Wednesday September 12, alongside business partner Calum Lawson.

Alan is a former board director of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.

He believes his move could encourage more bars and restaurants to think outside the box and break free from the shackles of the West End.

‘Very exciting’

He said: “This is a very exciting time for Glasgow.

“Having worked in hospitality for as long as I can remember, I’ve seen the city change and develop its attitudes towards food and drink.

“Options used to be very limited. Now, Glasgow’s a haven for foodies.

“The transformation of Finnieston came because of a few anchor venues offering spectacular food and drink.

“Calum and I both believe we can lead a similar sea-change in Maryhill and North Kelvinside.

“Our aim is to not only to maintain a local institution, but to attract customers from the West End, Bearsden and Milngavie.


“Our aim is to not only to maintain a local institution, but to attract customers from the West End, Bearsden and Milngavie”

Alan Tomkins


“The delicious food, seasonal cocktails and fantastic atmosphere will add a lot to what’s already an up and coming area.”

The menu’s inspired by cuisines across the globe, while The Botany takes its feels and looks from restaurants on the canals of Amsterdam.

Chef John Paul Lappin has experience in some of Glasgow’s top restaurants, including Gamba and Urban Bar & Brasserie.

The menu will deliver comfort food at a high level using locally-sourced ingredients, according to the business.

Highlights include a venison loin smoked in-house and a Sri-Lankan-style monkfish curry.


There will also be brunch specials served on Sundays, botanical cocktails, an extensive wine list, rotating bottle selection, and quality gins and whisky.

The team has invested £200,000 in the building in recent months, with a glasshouse conservatory, outdoor terrace, menu and interiors.

Doors will open to The Botany on Wednesday 12 September at 7.30pm.