Baby Fever
Hits Glasgow

Dimitri Apartopoulos – Cashier

Ahead of Harry and Meghan’s royal due date, it’s safe to say everyone is overcome with baby fever… and I mean, everyone! Whether it’s front page spreads plastered with pictures of the soon-to-be parents, bets in the bookies over the baby’s gender, or idle chit chat questioning the next royal name, it seems the entire country is ablaze with curiosity and excitement surrounding little baby Sussex.

Whilst most men might beg to differ, I’ll hold my hands up and say even I’m not immune to the country’s ongoing baby fever… albeit, I don’t have Harry and Meghan to thank for that. Like the royal couple, myself and my wife Kerry are expecting our first child this autumn and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the news! Both working in Alea, myself as a Cashier and Kerry as a Sales Marketing Executive, you could say we’re a little more “fortunate” than Harry and Meghan though – to start, we have no need to worry about baby shower venues or celebratory head wetting spots when our own work place covers the lot! Bet you can’t say the same for Buckingham Palace…

The perfect baby shower

I have to admit, prior to finding out I was going to be a dad, the criteria for a perfect baby shower venue never really dawned on me. In fact, baby showers never really dawned on me full stop. But now, with my wife’s bump growing fast and her excitement entering overdrive, I have to say I’m something of an expert when it comes to knowing what a woman wants for that all-important pre-baby party.

teddy bear

Firstly, there needs to be space. Chances are, other couples in your friendship circle are also waiting on welcoming their own little bundle of joy, which means multiple pregnant women in the same room at the same time. Cue bumps clashing left, right and centre! Luckily at Alea, there’s no need to worry about playing dodgems amongst yourselves – with a huge function area, a large exclusive dining room, two spacious private pods plus plenty of other choices, you’d be hard pressed not to find the perfect space. So whether your wife wants to invite 10 friends or 210 (steady on Meghan!), there’s an ideal spot just waiting to throw her dream baby shower!

Secondly, there needs to be food. And lots of it. Yes, yes, “eating for two”, we’ve heard it a thousand times - but seriously, as any expectant father will soon realise, their pregnant partner’s appetite is unquenchable! So it’s just as well Alea can provide the goods, and in bucket loads! With heaps of dining options for your baby shower, you can opt for a no-fuss buffet, a dainty afternoon tea or a sit-down meal depending on what you fancy, each boasting the option to be personalised to suit your budget and tastes… or cravings!

Thirdly, it needs to be accessible. And not just for your guests – for the lady in question even more so! Situated right off the M8, Alea is unbelievably easy to reach from almost anywhere in Glasgow, and with an abundance of parking right outside the front door, getting from car to casino couldn’t be easier. If you’re travelling à la Meghan and getting a chauffeur (aka taxi), there’s a ramp right outside the reception that you’ll be dropped off at, and come home time, a comfy waiting area where you can put your feet up whilst the reception team organise your ride. Once you’re in the casino itself, there’s also plenty of elevators and escalators on hand to transport you across floors, and with toilets on every level, even baby pressing on the bladder won’t be an issue!

Finally, it needs to be yours. And by that, I mean it needs to be a space that is equipped well enough to throw one hell of a celebration, but blank enough to make it your own. Another box ticked for Alea! Take their private function room as the perfect example – a canvas waiting for you to customise, you can decorate as you please. From tiny details like whether to have the twinkling fairy lights on or not, to big decisions like which playlist to stream through the multimedia system, every last detail is yours to personalise and perfect with the help of Alea’s trusty events team.

Celebrating Baby’s Arrival

When the big day finally arrives and we welcome our wee one into the world, I have no doubt life will instantly become a whirlwind! But when the dust starts to settle and we find ourselves getting into a routine, we’ll at last be able to let our hair down and celebrate the safe arrival of our little Apartopoulos. For me, that means a traditional baby’s head wetting with the lads… and I know exactly where I’ll be headed!

Alea’s Sports Bar has got to be the go-to place for a few drinks and some top scran with your mates – kitted out with a giant wall of HD screens, you can catch live sports throughout the day, and with a huge range of drinks and food on offer, you’ll be well fed and watered whilst you’re at it. With pool tables, dart boards and even a cracking terrace area overlooking the River Clyde, this spot makes for the perfect watering hole with your pals.

But of course, a baby’s head wetting is a little more celebratory than your average thirsty Thursday pint… which is exactly why I’ll be booking out the Sports Bar’s awesome VIP area! Sectioned off for exclusive use, this ideal space holds up to 40 people, boasts its own set of HD screens, and is available to hire from 12pm - 1am. There’s even private access to the terrace area, and if we’re lucky enough to get a sunny day, we’ll be making full use of the Sports Bar’s BBQ kit for a burger and a pint by the river.

If you’re going to be raising a glass with a smaller group of mates, Alea’s drinks packages are definitely worth a shout. Hire out one of the Sports Bar’s booths from 6pm-6am and you’ll get a bucket of 10 beers plus two sharing platters overloaded with wings, onion rings and sweet potato fries to share - all for just £65. Invite 10 friends and you’ve got yourself the perfect head wetting for less than a tenner per pal!

Post-Baby Date Nights

Amidst the new baby buzz, there’s one piece of advice we keep hearing time and time again… “cherish your alone time whilst you have it!” There’s no denying our little one’s arrival is one of the most exciting feelings I’ve ever felt, but I can fully imagine after 6 months of no sleep and conversing only in baby talk, we’ll be ecstatic at the thought of a child-free night together!

Luckily for us, Alea’s got us covered once again! I’ve already got my eye on the Waterfront Restaurant’s fantastic set menu for our first date night as new parents – three courses for £18.95, you just can’t argue with that! Brimming with loads of tasty dishes from the restaurant’s award-winning Head Chef (including his famous haggis bon bons), I can bet we’ll be washing it all down with a chilled beer and a cocktail or two! Hell, if the weather’s on our side, we might even dine alfresco on the restaurant’s riverside balcony… I’m looking forward to it already!

Should the night last a little longer, or rather, should our babysitters be feeling generous, we’ll definitely be moving through to Alea’s Long Bar after our meal. Serving up delicious drinks, including my wife’s favourite perfect serve gin goblets, we’ll be pulling up a pew in one of the golden glitter pods and enjoying a night of live music thanks to the bar’s free weekend entertainment. Who knows, maybe we’ll even go all out and grab tickets to one of the casino’s tribute nights for an all-singing, all-dancing, and definitely baby-free night out?! No matter what takes our fancy, we’ll be perfectly placed for an intimate evening just the two of us, and by the time we’re back home and just a few dirty nappies deep, I can bet we’ll be chomping at the bit for our next date night at Alea!