Soho sipper: David Bowie’s favourite pub in London

Posted On
Posted By admin

The Starman. Ziggy Stardust. The man who fell to earth. David Bowie always felt more like a mythical being or an alien who crash-landed here. He barely felt mortal, let alone like a local London lad with regular haunts and favourite spots. But Bowie was a London boy through and through with his favourite pub still standing strong.

Born and raised in the capital, London was his home in every sense of the word. As he grew up in Lambeth, the energy of South London’s eclectic community seeped into his spirit. Then, when he began to play music, he was undeniably shaped by the musical history of the city and the exciting new scenes that were emerging around him. He would head out and join in at skiffle rehearsals or see jazz performances or poetry readings, taking in the benefits of living in a place where absolutely anything and everything is at your doorstep.

Perhaps Bowie’s impatient evolutions as he morphed from era to era, character to character, could all be chalked up to this sense of having the world at your feet and wanting to engage with as much of it as possible. But while he was raised in Brixton, you could say that David Bowie, as we know him, was made in Soho.

During the 1960s and early ‘70s, the city centre spot came to life, suddenly morphing from a seedy hub into a thriving cultural hotspot. Just next to the thriving Carnaby Street which housed some of the boutiques that designed the look of the era, Soho was a place for musicians, artists and all kinds of bohemians to mix.

On Denmark Street, Bowie would frequently be seen at a roadside cafe with another leading light. He and Marc Bolan would gather at La Gioconda cafe, a spot that was once nestled amongst the music shops on the famous street. Over coffee, as the world of swinging London danced by, the pair would discuss their action plans ahead of their soaring rise to the top. 

A few streets over, the rise would be set into action. Just off Wardour Street there’s another now-lost memorial spot in the map of Bowie’s life. Marked with a plaque in St. Anne’s Court, is where Trident Studios used to sit. Flashback to 1969, and Bowie walked into the studio to change musical history as he recorded ‘Space Oddity’. 

On that same street also used to stand the Marquee Club, where The Rolling Stones would deliver their rock and roll circus and Bowie also performed several times between 1963 and 1976. It was an essential stage for so many, providing a first platform for the likes of The Who, The Yardbirds and more, with Bowie included as a major part of the place’s history.

But after coffee with the other legends of the time, landmark recording sessions that would shape his legacy forever and before he’d head to the stage door for a gig, Bowie was just like the rest of us. Proving he was always just a British lad at heart, after a long day’s work, he would head to the pub.

Maintaining that his life at the time buzzed around the Soho streets, his favourite boozer was right there, too. The Ship on Wardour Street was his preferred watering hole. Before the days of his sobriety, his tipple of choice was a light ale, or a gin martini with a twist if he was feeling fancy and could convince the barman to put the extra effort in.

Still standing in the same spot, the pub is not only still operating but still thriving as a hub of new alternative music. So while so many of these historic locations are long gone, you can stop in and toast to the local hero

[embedded content]

Related Topics

Related Post