Thursday, 24 July 2008


The Scout in Westport on a good night was one of the best pubs in Dundee and some wonderful weekends were spent there in the late 70's & early 80's.
Humour & music were it's strong points whilst the pub itself was as grimy & basic as they get, and yet if you didn't get in early, there were often lengthy queues.
The pub's closing night occurred in 1982 and was one hell of an evening.
It was at bursting point earlier than normal and the mayhem & sweat was flowing all night! The singing went on all night too - with one of the most popular tunes I recall being Dexy's Midnight Runners classic "Come on Eileen", a song that was balsted out a few times that night and a track I will always associate with The Scout.
In its final couple of hours, everybody was standing up on the seats, tables and counter, singing, dancing, clapping and clowning around until it climaxed with the pub's decor being ripped from the walls by those in the pub wanting a wee souvenir of one of the town's best drinking dens.
Photo by DC Thomson.


  1. Why did it shut?

  2. Most of the Westport/Hawkhill area was bulldozed down in the early 80's to make way for it's regeneration. A couple of the buildings shells survived, with The Globe and The Scout reopening in the late 80's, but the revamped Scout didn't bear any resemblance to the original and that reincarnation eventually closed down too.

  3. The closing of the scout was a great night but a sad occasion- an even greater pub closure was that of the tav further up the Hawkhill around the same time - must have been thousands there... never mind what happened to the bothy. pubs just aint what they used to be

  4. First started going to the Scout around 1969, when my cousin started at Dundee Uni.
    At that time, it was "a local pub for local people" - I actually bumped into a former class mate from what became Park Place Primary who still lived in Hawkhill.
    You were lucky to find more than seven or eight punters in it on a Saturday night, all from the local area.
    The big attractions were that the bus from Downfield stopped almost right outside, it was on the way to the Students' Union on Perth Road, you got served without delay and there was this massive Russian "stereogram" (remember them?) behind the bar, with huge speakers lying on the false ceiling beams pointing downwards - and the barman stuck on requests!

    I remember not being there for a month or three (probably the Uni's summer holiday) and when we went back, it had been 'DISCOVERED'- it was hoachin' - couldn't get served quickly, so started frequenting the Ascot, which was still a 'local pub for local people'.
    Stuart, the barman/manager at the Ascot, kept a shoebox filled with ties behind the lounge bar. As long as you put a tie in the box, any night you fancied, on an impulse, going to the dancin' at the JM or Palais, but were dressed a tad casually, you could borrow a tie from the box.

    The Ascot also had, I think, the only Bar Billiards table in Dundee.


    1. john pettigrew17 June 2017 at 01:27

      that and the windmill had bar billiards

  5. Very sad to see the demise of the Scout. Lived round the corner at 18 Westport in 1976 and used to go into the Scout for a pie , also used to go to Frews and the Tav up the Hawkhill.
    Been away for years and come back to see its all gone, my flat gone and new one in its place, cant locate where the Tav and Frews used to be but I think its in the middle of the new road New Hawkhill??
    Used to walk up to the top to the Campbeltown and Hawkhill bars too.

    What happened to Frews and the Tav??

  6. What a place!..a home from home. The toilet key with the huge bit of wood attached...then the realisation as you sat there, that the loud music (probably Joe Walsh - Rocky Mountain Way)had been turned off...then the huge round of applause from everyone when you re-entered the bar. The annoyance when a girl asked you to stand outside the only toilet while she went and you could hear your mates having a better time than you. You're a girl...what are you doing in The Scout? The leaking ceiling during rainstorms with buckets on the floor and tables...then it dawned on you that you were on the ground floor of a three storey the hell did the rain get in? The big poster of Prince lounging in his thong-thingy on the wall before he was really famous (later replaced by the "Great Rock'n' Roll Swindle" poster). The bar staff...various members of The Sleaze Band and the occasional bearded gas meter reader sometimes wearing a dress (the bar manager went on to be bar manager of Foreigners and gave me a part-time job there...thanks). The fact that, on a packed Saturday night, everyone was best mates, everyone was dancing, one of your pals had taken off all his clothes, there was a three-level pyramid of Newcastle Brown bottles teetering on a nearby dodgy corner table...and no-one cared. Then next week we'd all return and ask...what the hell happened last week?

  7. A couple of folk had their Kodak Instamatics with them on the night. If anyone has still got any of these photos, you know where to send them to! GG

  8. My Dad was friendly with the original owner of the Scout, Oliver Hamilton. Oliver was a lovely man who had been a talent scout for Blackpool F.C. I think Oliver had been in a bad car accident and he always had on a neck support.

  9. I used to drink in The Scout from about 72-79. Great pub, part of the Holy Triumverate - The Scout, The Tav and The Bothy. All gone. Clarke and Phil behind the bar with Ian the manager (who used to drive an American car, if I remember rightly). Best night at The Scout was one freezing December being in there from about seven, then coming out to about five inches of virgin snow! Sna'ba' fights and round the corner to The Skyline to see XTC. I think the world pie-eating contest was also won in The Scout!

  10. Many nights drinking Merrydown and Stella.Amerciancar was a Trans Am.
    Started going to the Bothy after Scout closed.
    Great story of why it changed its name to Scout.

  11. i am a guy of 55years old who went to the scout bar on many a time and i used to stand at the door and speak with ian (who might have been the owner )and i also spoke with clark ( sleaz band ) oh happy days as i really miss that place bring back the scout i say

  12. I used to go to the Scout in the mid seventies. It brings back great memories, there was always great music and great friends. The place was like a Tardis, small looking outside but always room for more inside. The bar staff were alwaqys great, i remember Ian hamilton, Clark and Phil and Davy who worked in the courier,i think he did the illustrations around the bar, also Alec a tall lad with beard etc who was a lively character behind the bar. And another great thing was there was never any bother everyone had a great time. I think Ian opened a bar /diner in Union street or in that area anyway but cant remember it being open for long. Great times

  13. I remember frequenting the Scout in the mid to late 70s. As closing time was 10pm in those days you had to get down there at 5 to get in or to get a seat. Having just moved to Dundee to be a student in '75 it was a great introduction to a 'real' pub. Also met my first Dundee boyfriend there and he was sooo handsome! Great days

  14. Was a regular at the scout and was there on the last night with Donald Stewart sitting above the main door it was grill also was at the tag and crews last night!

  15. does anybody remember the poster on the wall " When The Lord Made Man" ....... that was my trophy from the last night....... i had it framed & it still proudly hangs on my living room wall