Where to start when talking about Soho? It has turned into the most fashionable and trendy part of London after the considerable changes that mostly took place in the 80’s. Before that is was home to London’s sex industry but even that it was a notorious partying part of town. Today the sex industry is all but gone, but Soho has never been sexier. Numerous, if not the most, gay bars and clubs are located in Soho. Cabaret shows, famous jazz performances, sex shops and all different types of alternative lifestyles are represented in this London district. We’ll be taking a look at Soho’s best pubs and clubs. Conservatives cringe at just the thought of places like this, but we say enjoy yourself completely and go after whatever makes you happy. And here is where Soho’s real purpose lies in modern day London. A place where different people can come together and pursue a lifestyle that suits them, and not their environment. Like the old Latin saying goes Ubi panis ibi patria which loosely translates to “Home is where life is good”. London’s Soho is the place to be if you want to indulge yourself in its tremendous nightlife events and venues, but also if you want to live in a modern lively district that doesn’t discriminate against anyone.
Not mentioning Café de Paris would be a real travesty, considering it has managed to stay open and very relevant for over 90 years. Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich are just some note worthy names that performed here. And if that isn’t enough, than nothing will be. This nightclub puts on some of the best cabaret shows in the whole of London. Burlesque shows that took place here are what legends are made from.
Visiting address: Coventry Street 3-4, London, W1D 6BL
Sheer decadence is the best term to describe this Soho venue. The production value of the cabaret and burlesque shows here is clear as day. Whether it’s a more titillating show or a skill based one, you can bet your last penny that it will be world class. But if you’re one of the many who actually count their pennies, you’ll be disappointed to know that entrance fees here can cost thousands, hence it’s very exclusive and restricted to the masses.
Visiting address: 11-12 Walker’s Court, London, W1F 0BD
The bohemian lifestyle is nothing new for people in Soho, but thanks to places like this, people can lay back and enjoy their day. The high stools near the windows allows singletons to watch Soho’s passers by and take a break from the fast paced modern way of life. The clientele here vary, but one thing is for sure, they know how to live.
Visiting address: 31-32 Dean Street, London, W1D 3SB
During busy days it’s a common sight to see people in front of the pub standing and enjoying their beer (that is only served in halves in The French House). During WW2 Charles de Gaulle used this pub as his workplace. Francis Bacon and Dylan Thomas use to drink here, if history means anything to you. The interior design is obviously heavily influenced by the Gallic connection. The memento filled rooms give this place an appropriate sense of history and a proud tradition.
Visiting address: 49 Dean Street, London, W1D 5BG
Ever since this place was acquired by the Nicholson chain some have criticized it for losing its soul with the branded menus and new corporate management. Traditionalists or people who use to come here ages ago might have a point, but one look at the Dog & Duck’s interior will make you forget all about it. It’s no wonder that at nights it is practically impossible to get a table here. Crowds spilling out onto the pavement isn’t an uncommon sight.
Visiting address: 18 Bateman Street, London, W1D 3AJ
The highly illuminated neon sign in front of this Soho club doesn’t exactly go along with the traditional look of a classic Soho club or bar. But what it lacks in panache it makes up with reasonably priced drinks and great parties where all genres of music are represented. Cheapskates parties are ever so popular, and with some drinks costing less than a pound, it’s no surprise.
Visiting address: 17 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DR
Fashionable, trendy, hip and fun! One of the best places in Soho to relax and have fun after a long day at the office. Brace yourself pub lovers, because the O Bar serves a variety of American beers. If it’s traditional British ales and beers you’re looking for, this ain’t your venue. The dance floor downstairs can be packed on certain evenings. Entrance is completely free before 10pm.
Visiting address: 83-85 Wardour Street, London, W1D 6QE
This one is for the younger crowd out there looking to party out to punk, drum & bass, hip hop and electro. The drinks can be dirt cheap on occasion, which only adds to the popularity of this Soho club. Sure, it’s not class that it attracts guests with, rather enthusiastic and youthful energy. A great place for the crowd who take their partying seriously.
Visiting address: 3-5 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HJ
Located beneath another Swiss restaurant, the St Moritz club has been around for fifty years. And over these five decades it has changed very little. Rock and roll, ska, and R&B are all music genres that have been always represented as the St Moritz Soho club. It’s a venue that is definitely amongst the more notorious ones in Soho, and rightly so.
Visiting address: 159 Wardour Street, London, W1F 8WL
When making a list like this and having to choose from numerous quality bars and clubs, it’s difficult to choose the No1. Whether this pub deserves it or not will be up to you. This little Victorian boozer is a real gem amongst Soho’s pubs. Many tourists come here and enjoy a quick break by sipping out a cold ale while watching the footie on the TV in the pub. Theatre goers, locals, city folk, everyone can relax here and have a few drinks with friend, or people who are about to become friends. The charm and friendliness of the Lyric Tavern is what makes it special.
Visiting address: 37 Great Windmill Street, Soho, London, W1D 7LU