In our new series, we ask cool Londoners to tell us what’s good in their neighbourhood. This week: Jeremy Joseph, who owns Old Compton Street institution G-A-Y Bar. He picks out must-visit spots in Soho and Covent Garden.
‘They do the most amazing sorbets. What I love about them is that you can get a little tub and try as many flavours as you like, such as mango and raspberry. Their sorbets are delicious.’ Open for delivery only at the moment.
2. Soho Square
‘People think having a dog in London is weird, but I wouldn’t have known what I’d have done during lockdown without my cocker spaniel, Jacob. In all honesty, Soho isn’t the most dog-friendly place compared to Europe or America. A lot of restaurants and cafés don’t allow dogs, but I love walking Jacob around Soho Square and Covent Garden.’
‘Soho’s lost its appeal over the years. The landlords are willing to put anybody in rather than protecting its identity and preserve unique independent businesses like Berwick Street Market. Threats from high rents and rates are driving people away and we should all make an effort to support local independent businesses because our favourites might not be around during this tough time. Whether it be Soho or anywhere else in London, they’re the ones who are going to find it toughest to survive.’
‘I love being right next to the West End, I’m a big musicals fan and it’s so heart-wrenching that the theatres aren’t open. I used to love walking past the Phoenix Theatre seeing what show’s on and who’s in it.’ Currently closed but you can still grab a drink in the theatre bar, Phoenix Arts Club.
5. Old Compton Street
‘After the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando four years ago, everyone on our street did a two-minute silence. We had a day to turn everything around and organise a tribute. The street was completely packed with people wanting to pay respects – it was one of the most emotional, amazing days ever and I’ll never forget that.’
6. The Ivy
‘Technically not in Soho, but I love The Ivy and it’s not because I’m a snob or anything. Food is a difficult thing for me due to having an eating disorder. Their food is simple and it’s a place where I know what I’m going to get. I’m very, very boring. I’ll start off with a duck salad, followed by a steak with sweet potato and for dessert some sort of sorbet. If they had a TV series called “Come Dine with Me: The Fussiest Eater”, they would use me because I’m a nightmare.’
‘I’m desperate to go back to the cinema again and I have to say I love the Leicester Square Odeon. I actually love sitting in the front row seats because you can put your feet up and no one’s going to be in front of you.’