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Get boozy at some of Soho's best bars and clubs. Bottoms up!



Soho is London's beating heart. It has thousands of bars jostling for attention, and none of them, or almost none of them remain empty at any time of the day or night. Each one has its own scene, and its own clientele, and depending on your tastes, they are always fun. If it's wine bars you are looking for, try the Cork and Bottle or Grape St wine bar, or Terroirs. If it is music and historic dinginess, then you can pop in to Ronnie Scott's or the 100 Club which depending on your night will bang your ear drums and make your feet tap whilst feeling like you are at the cutting edge of cool. Lab bar will oblige with classy cocktails which will delight your tastebuds, and relax you in a seventies vibe, with modern space age tastes and tingles. If your style is more high class hotel, then you could pop in to the Sanderson's Purple Bar for a taste of dark decadence. If you fancy hanging with the private members and anti establishment gurus, then Black's private member's club might be for you. If you can't get in there, then try the Groucho, or Soho house.  And if it's a traditional pub you want, then The Lamb and Flag, or the Rising Sun might be just the kind of solidity you were searching for. Sit back, relax, and Cheers to you.


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Lab bar is at the forefront of exceptional cocktails, and in Soho is hard to beat for great twists on tried and tested and the sparklingly new. Soho is the place to be in London, and if you show up at any hour of the day or night, you will find something going on. Though there are rows upon rows of bars to choose from, Lab is currently considered one of the hippest. The curvaceous bar, boldly colorful walls and retro-style furniture give the bar a '70's feel, and DJ's play cutting edge music to a stylish and well-dressed crowd. Lots of beer choices and exotic, fruity drinks to keep the party vibe going. TUBE: Tottenham Court Road

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: Lab is a place where food and drink meet science, and keep you coming back for more.

Emma's expert tip: If you like cocktails, you'll love Lab, it's Soho experimentation updated for the 21st century.

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Black's is one of Soho's many private members clubs. You won't get in without being a member, or going with a member, so don't even try, but if you are lucky enough to know someone in the know, then it is definitely worth a visit. The club is housed in a delightful old Georgian town house, it spreads over three floors, and legend has it, it is called Black's because it was founded by a man who was proud to be the "black sheep" of his family, and he wanted to unite other people who liked to see themselves as rebels to join him in being anti establishment and a little bit outre'. The hippest bands and coolest acts will play here, and it is peopled by the London cognoscenti, artists, journalists, musicians, and those who have enough money to have membership written in their blood. Great food, it is now owned by Giuseppe Mascoli of Franca Manca pizza fame and peppered with celebrity chefs. Wine and beer are relatively cheap, and the dark bar leads to exciting secret romantic evenings, in corners and cubby holes, or sprawled upstairs in armchairs and on chaise lounges.

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: Black's is a private member's club, so difficult to enter, but once you do, it's quintessentially London, and very cool.

Emma's expert tip: You need to know someone in the know to get in here, but if you do it is WELL worth it. A brilliant home from home, it is both threadbare and vibrant. A typical London den.

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100 Club


Sure, Oxford Street's 100 Club has a few gray hairs. But, after hosting performances by Muddy Waters, the Stones, the Sex Pistols, Metallica, The Clash, and Oasis; all in their prime; what club wouldn't start to show a little mileage? Make no mistake, though: the joint still rocks with the best of them! Regarded as one of Soho's leading live music venue since the 1940s (when it opened as a jazz joint), today the 100 Club's is among the loudest sound systems in the UK. Needless to say, the place continues to draw the big names in popular and cutting-edge music and is a must for any music fan. TUBE: Tottenham Court Road

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: The 100 club is a great dingy bar and club, Soho at its best since the fourties.

Emma's expert tip: The 100 Club is another Soho institution. Just north of Soho square on Oxford St, check out its impressive rotating bands and club list.

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Purple Bar


If you like the colour purple, then you'll love this place. Housed in Soho's ultra-posh Sanderson Hotel, this upscale bar invites patrons to gather at the end of the day, sip martinis, and discuss the day's events or make plans for the night. Located just off the lobby, the bar is dramatically decorated with intimate cafe tables, Queen Anne chairs, Venetian mirrors, and a color scheme, as the name would suggest, of purples, lavenders and violets. The billiard room features a floating staircase, antique pool table, and impressive, John Piper-designed stained-glass window. Non-members are advised to make a guest list reservation. TUBE: Goodge Street or Oxford Circus

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: The Purple Bar makes decadence and relaxation its theme, perfect for a hotel bar in the heart of Soho.

Emma's expert tip: The purple bar is pricey, but for lovers of that colour, it is a great place to chill out in the heart of decadent Soho.

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For 150 years, The Rising Sun has occupied an imposing, four-story structure known around Tottenham Court for its Gothic architecture. With large pilasters framing second-story bay windows and a high parapet, the exterior certainly isn't traditional for a pub. However, the interior absolutely is, thanks to lots of dark wood and John Smith's and Scrumpy Jack on tap. Plus, old-fashioned benches are ideal for outdoor imbibing. Burgers, sandwiches, beer-battered cod and chips, Yorkshire pudding, and other pub favorites are available until late, as are such house specialties as mushroom, red pepper, and stilton casserole under a potato crust. TUBE: Tottenham Court Road

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: The Rising Sun is another great traditional pub in Soho, which is saturated with great boozers.

Emma's expert tip: If you're looking for a traditional pub in the heart of London then this could be the place for you.

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The Lamb and Flag


One of the oldest pubs in London, this 300 year-old institution still retains its traditional charms: oak beams, low ceilings, a decided lack of sitting room and a constant crowd. However, the mood is always congenial and boisterous, and if things get too crowded around the bar, you can always head upstairs to the Dryden Bar, named after the poet who was allegedly attacked in an alley just outside. When the weather's nice outside, the pub also ropes off part of the sidewalk so that guests can enjoy the sunshine with their pints, and you will see it gets busy on Thursdays and Fridays as local workers flock here when their day is done.

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: If you are looking for a traditional English pub, the Lamb and Flag is it, and very central too.

Emma's expert tip: Watch your bags when waiting to be served, or just standing outside, but apart from that, it's definitely worth a visit.

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One of the oldest Jazz Clubs in the world, Ronnie Scott's has been on the scene since 1959, so for more than 50 years. Most of the greatest names in the Jazz firmament have visited here at one time or another. Indeed, Ronnie Scott's caters to lovers of the art, and its decor is that of a consummate jazz dive, from dim lighting and intimate, candle-lit tables to famous faces decorating the walls. Each night, music kicks off around 8pm, and bands continue to chill the cats in attendance till closing time. An � la carte menu is available. TUBE: Tottenham Court Road

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: Ronnie Scott's is a Soho institution with great drinks, music and night life.

Emma's expert tip: Catch some great names, old and new in the Jazz establishment, a night here takes you back in time, and is guaranteed entertainment. No flip flops or shorts

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As you might expect from the name, this wine bar, just South of London's Covent Garden Market focuses on French and Italian 'naturally produced' wines. The wine list is 27 pages long, which tells you something about the range and breadth of the wines on offer. They have an ever changing wine of the month which allows you to try out new tastes, and lots of wines from small producers. Because they like naturally produced wines, you can also tell yourself that you are being healthy too! The restaurant has about 15 wines by the glass, so it's better to go and try a bottle once you've been a few times, if you want some variety. The staff are happy to recommend too, and help you select that all important wine to accompany your meal, or perhaps the other way round.

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: Terroirs has an excellent range and breadth of wines with changing monthly specials.

Emma's expert tip: Terroirs has the reputation to be frequented by wine lovers and gastronomes, so you are in good company when you go here for a little pre or post theatre tipple.

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Grape St Wine Bar on London's Shaftesbury Avenue, is an old style wine bar, but peopled with those who love their wine and love to have fun with it. From trendy hipster students to relics from the fifties and sixties bohemian London who want to sit downstairs in a comfy old bar and savour a bottle of claret or chablis with some hearty tasty food, or a plate of nibbles. This might not have the top of the range big starry names in it, in the wine world that is, but this avoids also the tourist crowd and those brought in by those kinds of wine. This is an honest, you get what you see, wine bar, without pretensions.

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: Grape Street Wine bar is a place for book, and wine lovers. Intimate.

Emma's expert tip: The bar even has its own little library, so you can while away hours reading and sipping if the mood takes you.

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Leicester Square


The Cork and Bottle had to be included on a list of London's wine bars for the name alone. But apart from the great name, and the central location, the Cork and Bottle prides itself on fresh tasty food, and innovative wines from all over the world. You can eat, and drink, at any time of day, and reservations can be made before 6.30pm in the evening, after that it's on a first come first served basis, but there's always the bar where you can settle down for a little drink whilst you wait for a table if you fancy making it a long night. One wine industry insider called their wine list "a book" which reads well, and the restaurant says, although it describes the wines, it doesn't like to tell you what they should taste like, it wants you to make your mind up on that score yourself.

Recommended for Best of London's Soho Bars because: Cork and Bottle is a great wine bar in the heart of Soho.

Emma's expert tip: The Cork and Bottle makes learning about wine fun and never intimidating. If you can't get to their bar, restaurant, you can go online to read articles about the owner's latest trips to wine countries all over the world, and also order direct too.

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Meet Emma Wallis

London gives Emma a warm fuzzy feeling every time she gets back to her home city. As a writer and broadcaster she travels extensively round Europe and the world, but is always happy to return to...  More About Emma

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