The Arches

The Arches is a bar, arts venue, theatre, live music venue and nightclub in Glasgow, Scotland, which first opened in 1991. It is a not-for-profit organisation. It is situated in the City Centre under Glasgow Central station and the West Coast Main Line in the brick arches of the Viaduct that leads into the station, with entrances on Midland Street and since 2001 underneath Hielanman's Umbrella on Argyle Street. The venue has 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2) of floor space which is spread over two floors and seven arches.


The site of the venue was a previously derelict area below the Glasgow Central railway station, which was converted to house the Glasgow's Glasgow exhibition during the city's year as European City of Culture. After the exhibition had ended, the space was obtained by Andy Arnold in 1991 (who became the venue's Artistic Director) for the purposes of creating a theatre. That required funding, leading to the decision to stage nightclub events to provide initial funding. This eventually expanded to the array of events it hosts today.

In early 2007, The Arches was voted 12th best club in the world by readers of DJ Magazine, and a favourite club for many of the finest DJ's in the world (namely Carl Cox, Judge Jules, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Pete Tong and David Guetta).

In January 2008, Andy Arnold left The Arches to take up the same Artistic Director role at the Tron Theatre, being succeeded by Jackie Wylie.

In 2009, it was ranked 27th best club in the world by DJ Magazine.

Nightclub Events

The Arches has played host to club nights since 1992 with some nights being promoted by outside companies and others in-house productions. Notable long running regular clubs to be held in the venue include:

Slam at the Arches

One of the first club nights to be hosted in The Arches, Slam ran every Friday between 1992 and 1998. Originally the night was held in now defunct Glasgow venue Tin Pan Alley and later The Sub Club. It was hosted by local techno producers Slam but also featured regular guests, most notably Underworld and Daft Punk (in their first UK appearance in 1997.) The night ended in 1998 and was replaced by a larger monthly night hosted by Slam, Pressure.


Following six years of running Friday nights in The Arches, Slam have hosted Pressure on the last Friday of every month. The night normally has at least two rooms of music playing mainly house and techno. Pressure has seen some of the largest names in dance music play The Arches including Jeff Mills, Derrick May, Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier, Tony Lothario, Green Velvet, Felix da Housecat, DJ Shadow, Nathan Fake, Boys Noize, Vitalic and Erol Alkan.

Other clubnights

Death Disco is an open minded electro-disco nightclub which is held on the third Saturday of each month. It emulates the ethos of New York night clubs in the 80's and 90's.

Octopussy is a weekly student club night which has been held every Wednesday night since March 2006.

Other regular club nights include Colours and Inside Out.

Alien Wars and other Scare Attractions

The Arches recently played host to 'Alien Wars'; a tour of sorts modelled loosely on the Alien series. Its storyline is centred around a "UFO" being discovered in the basement where visitors are escorted by "marines" to an encounter with an alien. It was previously staged in 1992, during which Michael Jackson's bodyguards took part to determine its suitability for their employer. (Urban legend states that they ran out in fear). 'Ghosts of Christmas' has been the latest addition to The Arches' scare attraction portfolio with a Christmas themed ghost walk through the basement of the building.

Theatre Productions

The Arches Theatre Company has performed many plays including pieces by Samuel Beckett and Tennessee Williams, generally receiving favourable ratings from the Scottish Arts Council Under the direction of Jackie Wylie, The Arches has recently staged performances such as DEREVO's Natura Morte, Nic Green's Trilogy and Linder Sterling's Darktown Cakewalk. Two major contemporary theatre festivals produced by The Arches have included Behaviour, Wylie's rebranding of the original Arches Theatre Festival and Arches Live; a theatre festival celebrating young risk-taking artists.