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Soho area guide

Discover countless drinking holes, excellent restaurants and unforgettable entertainment in vibrant Soho

Gordon Rainsford
Compton's of Soho

Soho is a hard place to pin down. The district – and its southern subsection Chinatown – teems with tourists going to West End shows, media professionals marching to work, hungry patrons sampling some of London's best restaurants and people looking to have a long night out at one (or several) of the area's clubs, bars and pubs. But Soho was also home to many historical figures, including Mozart, Karl Marx and The Sex Pistols. Many Londoners still think it’s all about sex, but the fact is, Soho should be as notable for its history and culture as it is for the sleaze.

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Oliver Maki
Restaurants Book online

Oliver Maki

Venue says: We offer two lunch bento boxes for only £15 and £25, from noon-4pm on weekdays only!

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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My Place
Restaurants

My Place

When someone says, ‘Come back to my place’, you don’t expect to see mud tiles on the ceiling – especially in Soho. But that’s just one of many quirky features in this charmingly eccentric coffee shop. What’s more, its decorative brass wall panels, heavy latticed doors and copper-topped tables make a refreshing change from the pared-back, #iwokeuplikethis decor of many cookie-cutter coffee shops in London. The café is open from morning coffee and pastries (make a beeline for the vanilla-scented cannoli) all the way through to post-theatre nightcaps. Its menu is long and varied, spanning soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta specials and charcuterie and cheese platters. Everything we tried was perfectly good without being pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming great. What tips the balance for this place is the warm welcome extended to customers by genuinely friendly staff; clichéd as it sounds, we were made to feel right at home. Our apple, carrot and ginger soup had astutely balanced flavours; a chicken and pesto sandwich featured a good ratio of tender meat to airy, lightly toasted ciabatta; while a generous portion of nicely burnished homemade lasagne came with a carefully prepared side salad. Best of all was a small platter of headily smoked Corsican coppa. We could have bedded in for the afternoon with a couple of coffees and a cannoli – and no doubt Soho’s office-less contingent will be doing so soon. We think you’ll dig the mud too, and will want to come back.

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Berwick Street Market
Shopping

Berwick Street Market

Situated on the stretch of Berwick Street between the Soho strip joints of Walker's Court and the elegant Yauatcha restaurant, this fruit and veg market is one of London's oldest. Its roots go back to 1778, and at one point the thriving market ran the length of Berwick Street. While the friendly and vocal grocery hawkers have thinned in recent years, they have been joined by a clutch of hot food and sandwich sellers during weekday lunchtimes, including Pizza Pilgrims – a pair of dough-spinning brothers famous for their Italian treats. Berwick Street is also blessed with good shops and cafés, including several vintage boutiques (look out for Reign and a branch of Absolute Vintage), renowned fabric store the Cloth Shop, coffee house Flat White and brunch favourite Foxcroft & Ginger.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Curzon Soho
Cinemas

Curzon Soho

Arthouse film fans have been known to go weak at the knees at the mention of the Soho Curzon, which has some of the best programming in London – a mix of arty new releases and documentaries, often introduced by the filmmakers themselves. Watching a film at the Curzon always feels special, surrounded by film lovers without it being pretentious. The coffee is good, the bar relaxed, and if you’re watching a British film, you’ll likely be seeing the finished product a stone’s throw from where it was edited in Soho. Perfect for whiling away a rainy afternoon.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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French House
Bars and pubs

French House

If you like to drink in places where the history’s as important as the drinks list, the Grade II-listed French House should be on your list. Charles de Gaulle used the pub as a workplace during World War II; Dylan Thomas and Francis Bacon both drank here… the list goes on. The interior reflects both the Gallic connection and its long standing in this most exciting of London neighbourhoods. It’s small, memento-filled, and very crowded when the place is busy. You may end up joining the regulars on the pavement outside, but that’s just part of the French House experience. Food is served during the daytime only, and beer, famously, is served only in halves. This is Soho history. Come and suck it up.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Restaurants in Soho

Breakfast in Soho
Restaurants

Breakfast in Soho

Wake up to the best restaurants for breakfast in Soho

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Soho's best restaurants
Restaurants

Soho's best restaurants

West End eats don't come better than these

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Cheap eats in Soho
Restaurants

Cheap eats in Soho

Find the best places for cheap food and best budget restaurants and cafés in the Soho 

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Where to eat in Chinatown
Restaurants

Where to eat in Chinatown

Dine at the finest Chinese restaurants the West End has to offer

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See all bars and pubs in Soho

Things to do in Soho

The Chapel of the House of St Barnabas
Attractions

The Chapel of the House of St Barnabas

Soho was a very different place when the Chapel of St Barnabas was completed in 1864. Now, nipping into this holy spot off rowdy Greek Street feels like stepping from the ridiculous into the sublime. The chapel’s architects were inspired by the rustic majesty of the medieval Montmajour Abbey in the south of France, and created a simple yet wonderful place for worship, which is now also used for gigs. Discover the capital's most magical music venues

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Attractions Buy tickets

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Attraction showcasing weird and wonderful items from around the world, such a 13-foot-long Tower Bridge made out of matchsticks, a piece of the Berlin Wall, shrunken heads, a copy of 'The Last Supper' painted on a grain of rice and a Swarovski crystal-covered Mini Cooper. New displays include the laser beam LaseRace.

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Comments

1 comments
Sarah Dunbvand
Sarah Dunbvand

Foxcroft & Ginger A Great little food emporium, run by a dynamic husband and wife team, founded upon the principals of great British food, with locally-sourced ingredients and given an original twist. With a seasonally changing menu, from hearty/recovery breakfasts to daily special sandwiches made on their own sourdough. All bread, pastries, muffins, cakes and muesli are all made and baked in the premises. Also opening on 3 December 2011, Foxcroft & Ginger in Shoreditch, 42-43 Boxpark Mall, 2 Bethnal Green Rod, Shoreditch, E1 6JY.