Outback pub that was setting for Let’s Dance video toasts David Bowie
People still come in asking, ‘Is this the pub where Bowie sang?’ says owner of only bar in dusty Carinda, to which musician drove 650km from Sydney in 1983 to shoot video for one of his biggest hits
Drinkers at a dusty Australian Outback pub have been raising their beer glasses this week to the pub’s most famous visitor, David Bowie.
More than three decades ago, the mercurial musician made the 650-kilometre drive from Sydney to the tiny outpost of Carinda in parched western New South Wales state to shoot the video for his 1983 hit Let’s Dance at Carinda’s only pub.
The pub’s current owner, Malcolm George, said the town of fewer than 200 people hadn’t known that Bowie was coming. And they have never been allowed to forget the visit, which took their rustic watering hole to a global audience.
“People still come in asking, Is this is the pub where Bowie sang?” George says.
George said that only one of the local extras who appeared in those smoky bar scenes still lives in the town. But the news that Bowie had died immediately boosted business.
“It’s been nonstop,” George said.
He says that when he bought the pub a year ago, it was in disrepair. Many of the brown and green tiles had fallen from the wall that had formed Bowie’s backdrop as he sang and strummed his guitar. But George stripped tiles from elsewhere in the pub to restore that iconic surface.
Marie Draper, who works behind the bar, said a week rarely went by without a tourist gravitating to that wall.
“We do get quite a few tourists who come through,” Draper said. “They ask where the spot is and stand in front of the tiles and get their photos taken.”
Draper has lived in Carinda all her life, but wasn’t around when Bowie visited.
Still, she said: “It created a lot of excitement around here at the time.”