I'm staying at the holiday inn express in the theater district
It gave me a wry smile to see that that area is called Theatre District. There isn't really such a place since the theatres are dotted all over what is a fairly small city centre. However, to the point. You are in the west of the City Centre and very very close to the Bon Accord as you have already spotted. It has it's own whisky club and is also spiritual home of Glasgow's Whisky Club (GWC)where the ideas of the festival germinated.
There are a few pubs worth visiting since they have a good whisky selection, Bon Accord, Ben Nevis at 1147 Argyle Street, (Drop into Tam's Drams opposite at 1134 Argyle Street). The Lismore is further along at 206 Dumbarton Road. And it is worth while taking a wander up Byres Road. Ashton Lane is behind the Hillhead Underground and there are some fine bars there. All the way to the top of Byres Road at Great Western Road is Oran Mor. Another good whisky bar.
In the City Centre The Pot Still is at 154 Hope Street. McSorleys at 42 Jamaica Street is very close to the Arches and sells the first whisky from Lewis in over a century Abhainn Dearg (Pron Aavan Jerig? I think)
Each of these bars will likely sell good beer too. Chenasky's is a Bourbon Bar on the same road as Bon Accord just keep going north to the next block near the big pink office building that spans the motorway.
The Horseshoe, State Bar, and The Variety which are good bars too in my view though have less focus on whisky. We do do things that don't involve drinking too but there is not enough space for food places
Try here for some other views on bars http://www.yelp.co.uk/glasgow
So Len I hope that's enough to be going on with and I hope you find some other treasures along the way. Mathew a GWC member can be seen in Oddbins in Mitchell Lane and may have a couple of new releases to recommend. Robert Graham's are across the road and won't make it to the festival.
As for distilleries, (check for those that require booking in advance) Auchentoshan, Glengoyne are the closest to the city within 30-40 minutes max, Deanston and Tullibardine are about 60-75 minutes away. Glenturret, Glenkinchie and Daftmill about 2 hours as are Aberfeldy, Blair Athol and Edradour. Bladnoch is at least 2 1/2 hours on small windy roads and although I cannot recommend Bladnoch highly enough both as a beautiful place to visit and a number one craft distillery, it is a long drive.
Hope you enjoy your stay. I'm not sure of my plans just yet and have a few thirsty whisky drinkers to marshall on the day of the Festival. I'll look out for you either in the Bon Accord or see you there.