I chose to modify this tip after reading a posting from Dedalus54, a local. I had a rather uncomfortable Friday evening visit to Paisley last year. Given Paisley's proximity to the Glasgow airport (and therefore a likely last night out for many before leaving Scotland), I felt it important to let others know about my experience. The long and short of it was lots of bloodied drunks of all ages, even though the hour was early. In spite of many years around the globe on foot in many different situations, I felt that Paisley on that evening was a place where trouble was brewing that could affect even those not looking for it: moreso than one might expect to encounter in other parts of the UK. However, given Dedalus54's input, I'm willing to chalk this up to being in the wrong part of town or perhaps on the wrong evening (it was during the height of some major football games, after all!). If you're planning a trip to Paisley, my advice now would simply be to follow his advice, and perhaps email him sometime about the proper pubs to visit. However, given my personal experience, I would still advise evening visitors to Paisley to simply be on your alert if things don't seem quite right, just as you would anywhere else. Oh, and don't forget to visit CAFE INDIA in Paisley for some truly superb Indian cuisine!
I'm sorry that birdmanimal had such a bad experience of my home town. Don't get me wrong - indiscriminate violence isn't unknown in Paisley but the town is no worse than many other comparable places in the UK. But that's no recommendation. However I'd say that as an overseas visitor you'd be pretty safe - it's the locals who have to be careful! As far as the bars he visited go I reckon he must have been visiting the wrong places (there are a few). Unfortunately it usually takes a local to know what's OK and what isn't. Perhaps the looks he was getting were out of curiosity rather than animosity. The places I visit (close to the University) are very welcoming to strangers - especially those from overseas.