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News / Food & Drink

Sad news: much-loved Soho café The Stockpot has closed down

Rob Greig / Time Out
The Best Cheap Eats in London, Stockpot, Leicester Square
Ben Rowe

Nothing ever changed at The Stockpot in Old Compton Street. That’s why we loved it. The décor could have been put in place in 1965 and just left there, maybe with the odd slap of paint or varnish. The menu was basic to put it mildly, and with few nods in the direction of modernity. Trend-setting? Ha! Cool? Gimme a break. Except, of course, that The Stockpot’s complete lack of cool made it cool in its own way. That’s why, alongside the people who genuinely needed ultra-inexpensive food (you could eat three courses here for little more than a tenner), there was always a contingent of the slick and the hip slurping soup or coffee.

It has not escaped anyone’s notice that Soho is being transformed by the annihilation of old businesses and their replacement by businesses that attract Big Money. (Have you walked down Berwick Street recently?) This is not exactly what’s happened to The Stockpot. When we phoned last week, they told us that the owner is retiring, and the landlord had simply decided to take the lease back. This is the way of the world. People retire, and their businesses retire with them. But even if there was no predator behind the scenes, and the block is not being redeveloped as a £300-a-night hotel or eighteenth homes for Azerbaijani oil gazillionaires, the immutable fact remains: The Stockpot has closed down. And with it has died yet another bit of the old Soho. The Soho we love. The Soho that has something to offer everyone, and not just tourists or hipsters or ad execs or rich people. Even if you never went there, you should be sad. We certainly are. And we’re not alone.

Here's how Londoners have reacted to the news on Twitter:

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Julia F

This is such sad news, I thought The Stockpot would be here forever, but please don't forget whilst everyone talks about the gentrification of Soho there are still some independant, family run businesses which are still here and going strong, as best we can up against the big boys...we will do our best to keep Soho individual, unique and genuine so don't foget we are still here!

Michael Peacock

'you should be sad.'

I am - so many terrific meals over the years.
Could rant about what is happening in Soho and beyond, but have expressed my views many times before.
liver & bacon with lashings of gravy with mash was always my fave meal here.
Michael Peacock Executive Producer Battle of Soho.
Nine R

Not what the manager was telling me on Saturday night - apparently, the landlord was adamant on suddenly forcing through a brazen 50% rent increase and they simply couldn't afford to keep it going. I imagine the decision to retire came shortly after that greedy demand. My partner and I were happy regulars at The Stockpot for 20 years and I feel as if a little part of me has died. I wish well to all the former staff who made every visit a pleasure.