Iconic Las Vegas Pub that Inspired The Killers’ Hit Song “Mr. Brightside” Shutters Suddenly

sudden closure of an iconic Las Vegas pub
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Las Vegas lost more than a beloved British pub of nearly 30 years when Crown & Anchor suddenly closed with no warning or explanation on July 2. It lost a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history.

The best-selling UK single of all time that never topped its charts — the tune Rolling Stone ranked No. 378 in its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” issue — owes its existence to a scene that Brandon Flowers, singer of Las Vegas rock band The Killers, walked in on at the Crown & Anchor when he was 19 or 20.

It was his girlfriend cheating on him.

“I just can’t look, it’s killing me!” Flowers sings in “Mr. Brightside,” the first song The Killers completed together.

Though children of Sin City, The Killers were huge Anglophiles obsessed with British synth-pop bands New Order and The Smiths.

This obsession translated to quite a few late-night pints at the Crown & Anchor, which was 2 miles from Flowers’ job as a bellboy at the Gold Coast Casino.

Lead guitarist Dave Keuning composed the music for “Mr. Brightside” before meeting Flowers. When they began jamming together, Flowers drew emotional inspiration from watching his girlfriend share a ciggy and a snog with a stranger at the Crown & Anchor. He was living at the time in a room he rented from his sister for $200 a month.

It was only a kiss Now I’m falling asleep and she’s calling a cab While he’s havin’ a smoke and she’s taking a drag Now they’re goin’ to bed and my stomach is sick.

“I was asleep and I knew something was wrong,” Flowers explained the lyrics to Q magazine in 2009. “I have these instincts. I went to the Crown and Anchor and my girlfriend was there with another guy.”

Flowers should thank that girlfriend for betraying him with every fiber of his being.

In 2004, “Mr. Brightside” became the quartet’s debut single. Though it didn’t make much of an impact at first, when it was re-released following the success of the group’s second single, “Somebody Told Me,” it reached No. 10 on both sides of the pond.

Though 11 Killers songs have made the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the 20 years since, “Mr. Brightside” never comes close to going away. It is still routinely sung at soccer matches in Britain and is the unofficial fight song of the Michigan Wolverines, who typically play it to rouse their crowds near the end of the third quarter.

Jealousy, turning saints into the sea. Swimming through sick lullabies, choking on your alibis. But it’s just the price I pay, destiny is calling me Open up my eager eyes, ’cause I’m Mr. Brightside.

“All the emotions in the song are real,” Flowers told Britain’s Far Out magazine in 2023. “When I was writing the lyrics, my wounds from it were still fresh. I am ‘Mr. Brightside,’ but I think that’s the reason the song has persisted — because it’s real.”

The closure of the Crown & Anchor not only marks the end of a beloved local spot but also the end of a venue that played a significant role in the history of one of the most enduring rock anthems of the 21st century. The pub, once a haven for those seeking a slice of British culture in Las Vegas, will be missed by many, especially fans of The Killers who know its special place in music history.