Soho steps back into the spotlight — here's what's new.
There’s a line in Edgar Wright’s 2021 movie "Last Night in Soho" that neatly captures the spirit of London’s liveliest neighborhood. “Being here among all these lights,” says Matt Smith’s character. “It’s the closest most people will ever get to being on stage.”
That bright, Bohemian stage welcomes a new headline act recently: the Broadwick Soho, a 57-room boutique hotel on peppy Broadwick Street. A five-star debut from British entrepreneur Noel Hayden, who grew up in hotels as the son of a traveling magician, it combines the traditional buzz and fizz of Soho with a colorful pop of the performing arts.
Behind its theatrical black and gold façade (inspired by the nearby London Palladium) staff in leopard print blazers and polka dot jumpsuits will welcome guests into what feels like an eight-story jewelry box. It's the work of Swedish uber-designer Martin Brudnizki, behind exceptional hotels like the recently opened Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City and Le Grand Mazarin and La Fantaisie in Paris.
In deference to the owner’s ensorcelled upbringing, there are subtle nods to conjury throughout, from mirrored ceilings to whimsical Murano lighting. But it’s the rooftop cocktail bar, Flute, that will get the most attention, thanks to its flamboyant twists on classics like the gin gimlet, and its rare vantage point over the spires and chimneys of London, which is sure to make it one of Soho’s go-tos.
The hotel stands sentry on the brisk corner of Berwick and Broadwick Streets, close to some of Soho’s best shopping and dining. London’s most elegant department store, Liberty, still presides over this hedonist’s harbor like a magnificent royal flagship. But there’s now an intriguing crop of newcomers, too, including unisex vintage store Dunno. Curated; sustainable womenswear boutique Natasha Zinko; and A Days March, a slick Swedish brand selling utilitarian streetwear from a three-story townhouse on Berwick Street.
On the bar front, there’s a similar list of promising new additions, including Cahoots, a 1940s-themed establishment serving war-time cocktails like “The Winston Churchill”, and Alma – a subterranean speakeasy set in the carefree '70s, with the soundtrack to match. Among the freshest dining tickets is Rita’s, a masterfully inventive new bistro offering reimagined comfort food like glazed pork chop with peaches and chicory, and Israeli rule breaker Miznon, serving irreverent yet delicious dishes like “roasted cauliflower’s inner parts” and “run-over potato," per the menu.
Most of Soho’s iconic stalwarts are still going strong too, including the original Soho House, which opened in 1995 and successfully transported the essence of this eccentric enclave around the world. Today it’s arguably the world’s most famous private club, but non-members can still sample its free-spirited flair by staying at its fin-de-siècle sibling around the corner, Kettner’s Townhouse.
Vanessa Xuereb, Soho House’s long-serving Chief Membership Officer, often referred to as “The Queen of Soho,” says that while new bars, boutiques and restaurants are welcome additions, there’s an overriding ethos to Soho that will never change.
“There’s an eternal, naughty charm to our little corner of this big city,” she says. “Establishments come and go, but that identity remains: there’s always been a whiff of the theater and a healthy helping of old magic on these streets.”
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