The Clutha: 'Very much a family bar'

Clutha Vaults
Image caption The bar is a popular live music venue

The Clutha was known as a family bar with a "community atmosphere", according to one musician who performed regularly at the Glasgow pub.

Musician Declan Heggerty played on Monday evenings at the pub which is now cordoned off after a police helicopter crashed into its roof on Friday night.

About 120 people were in the venue at the time. Eight people died and 32 others were injured - 14 seriously.

Mr Heggerty said The Clutha was always "a very pleasant place to go".

"There's not a lot of bars, be it in Glasgow or elsewhere, that have that kind of feel about it," he said.

"A lot of the regulars would have been men and women in their fifties or sixties.

"There's people who would have known each other for a long, long time. So it is quite a community atmosphere as well.

"You'll never be able to recreate the bar the way it is, because it's been like that for so long. It'd be very hard to bring that feeling back."

Mr Heggerty said he had been given a warm welcome at the pub.

"I've been in there now for nearly two years and I got the feeling instantly that once you start to become a familiar face - which doesn't take very long in there - you're part of the family," he said.

"It's very much a family bar. The banter, the way the staff and the punters are, it's a very laid-back, family atmosphere, it's a very pleasant place to go."

He also stressed that music had been an important attraction of the pub, where customers had been watching ska band Esperanza when the helicopter struck the pub's roof, causing it to collapse.

"Music can happen in a few different areas in the bar, it's fairly flexible. They have a slightly raised stage area for bigger bands.

"I play in there on a Monday night in a slightly different area because it's a more relaxed atmosphere.

"There's people who come and drink a cup of tea, it's a very social thing."

Mr Heggerty voiced his fears about friends who had been at the pub on Friday.

"I would have known a lot of the regulars who were in every night or close to it," he added.

"We're just waiting to hear from them or people who know them."

A statement on the bar's Facebook page said: "Our thanks go out to all the goodwill messages and prayers for those who tragically lost their lives in the accident last night.

"An event beyond comprehension and belief. The customers who could showed the true spirit of Glasgow, along with all the emergency services.

"Our heartfelt sorrow to all of the families of those who perished."

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