Lost Glasgow bar St Mungo Vintners rediscovered in California

A lost Glasgow bar has resurfaced in California, 47 years after it disappeared from the city.

Picture: Bobby GreenPicture: Bobby Green
Picture: Bobby Green

St Mungo Vintners on Queen Street was a sister bar to The Vintners on Broomielaw. It opened in 1906, designed with stained glass windows, dark wood dividers, porcelain panels and brasswork by Glasgow architects McWhannel & Rogerson.

The interiors were in an elegant Art Nouveau style, inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School style.

When the bar shut in 1974 for redevelopment, attempts were made to have the building listed but the interior was quickly and unceremoniously cleared before being passed to an antique dealer.

Picture: Bobby GreenPicture: Bobby Green
Picture: Bobby Green

A year later, Californian lawyer Mitchell Litt, who had fell in love with the St Mungo Vinters while he was on holiday in Glasgow, bought the entirety of the furnishings and fittings with a plan to open a bar somewhere near his home in the United States. He never did.

The bar, gantry, tables, chairs, wall panels, windows, brasswork, spirit measures and till were shipped 5000 miles to sit in a warehouse.

Mitchell’s son Kevin provided confirmation seven years ago that the items had remained “completely untouched” after four decades in storage.

Now a restoration project has given the Glasgow bar a new lease of life in Santa Monica, California. St Mungo Vintners reopened as an unusual lounge for the 400 employees of GoodRx, an app based healthcare company, built into their sprawling modern headquarters.

This little bit of Glasgow now exists as a surreal breakout space within the workplace.

Douglas Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek of GoodRx acquired the elements of the pub and commissioned Bobby Green, a designer and restorer, to work on a four month project reconstructing the interiors into an aproximation of their original layout.

“I’m quite proud of the final result and really enjoyed the project whilst learning about my own Scottish heritage in the process” he said in a social media post with pictures of the resurrected local landmark, now installed in California.

The images show how the bar from Queen Street is now a fully-functioning Santa Monica saloon, with the distinctive original brasswork, stained glass and woodwork incorporated into a new home.

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