Thursday, 18 September 2008

THE ORIENTAL - EXCHANGE STREET CORNER

This was a great wee pub, and probably the only Dundee drinking den I could say was "surreal"!!.
On the go in the late 70's - early 80's and situated on the corner of Commercial Street/Exchange street.
It was quite deceptive in appearance because it looked like an old-timer's pub from the outside, but one step indoors and it transported you to a completely different world.
The crazy interior reflected the owner's madcap outlook. They had a "gorilla" theme running throughout the place. Try and envisage this - there were lots of apes hanging from the ceiling from chains, each one wearing the pubs own t-shirt design (King Kong wrecking the Tay bridge) and all had flashing eyes that were synchronised in time with the music!
As if that wasn't zany enough, the walls had an outer space mural that not only had stuff like rockets and planets scattered about it but also included many cartoon characters!!
The music was sometimes played from cassettes chosen by the bar staff and sometimes picked from the jukebox by us who drank there, but both sources were always played at FULL volume and was a mix of punk, rock & pop.
Always a place to have a really good laugh.
The short clip below is a wee visual recreation of their ape theme.

Photo by DC Thomson.
 
video

6 comments:

  1. In the window on Commercial St used to be pendulum swinging length wise above a guy laying on his back when the pendulum swung down to his feet he would lift his head up . I think What i can remember about the inside was dark if not black walls and a round center bar,not the best of pints, a crazy but really so original concept for Dundee, when it closed i definitely missed it.

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  2. Absolutely loved this pub (and also the Centre Bar which wasn't far away). Longing for my youth

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  3. Well this was one hell of a place to spend the night drinking...with a fair bit of smoking going on too, if ye ken what I mean!!!
    Peter was the main barman, and yes he was quite mad, what with his wacky humour and always searching for more & more silly ideas to add to the look of the place. He would even sometimes leave the bar too and join in drinking with the locals.
    One lunchtime session when time was up, my squad were still drinking away being the last ones lagging behind, when suddenly a shower of glass rained down on us. It was Pete the barman who threw a tumbler at the nearby wall - just his way of saying "get a move on"!!!
    The music description is accurate...pop, rock and punk and everyone got on great. 3 examples off the top of my head are - Police "Roxanne", Genesis "Follow you follow me", Buzzcocks "Ever fallen in love".
    That takes you back to 1978.
    Curt.

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    1. Peter s my dad I've pictures of inside. Guy in window had werewolf mask on. Xx

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  4. Feel free to send the photos over to Retro Dundee and I'll display them here.
    GG

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  5. MMD (1960's dream)20 November 2015 at 03:14

    Peter Moore was the main man. Absolutely fantastic Juke Box - surely the only place in Dundee to feature a Fischer Z
    track - Pretty Paracetomol - class ( for the time)

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