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Soho, soon to be home to Fora’s latest space on Broadwick Street, has a reputation for as many saints as sinners. Originally farmland, Soho has also been a royal park, a parish and a haven for the more nocturnal at heart.
Historical figures ooze from Soho and are marked by the blue plaques surrounding the area. From Karl Marx, to John Logie Baird (inventor of the television), William Blake and even Mozart for a year when he was eight, Soho has a deep history of influence since its inception in the 17th century.
Soho remains the cultural heart of London today with over eight theatres, London’s LGBTQ+ community, Chinese community, excellent restaurants, Publishers and a raft of media and creative agencies who work on everything from Hollywood movies to consumer brands. Soho’s variety is only part of its brilliance.
Soho is also home to Kiln on Brewer’s Street which was recently voted the best restaurant in the UK. Other hotspots include the famous Groucho Club (pictured right), a new Supreme store on Peter Street and D’Arblay Street’s ‘Tombo’ Matcha House.
Need juice? The ridiculously popular CoCo on Dean Street has you covered with bubble tea and other Asian delicacies. Close to Carnaby Street, Soho boasts a plethora of shops and business’ looking to carve out a piece of your attention from the luxurious and tasty Yauatcha to the historical elegance of Liberty’s.
One of the most iconic hotspots is Phonica Records on Poland Street. Owned by Vinyl Factory, the store is heaven for any audiophile looking for the latest sounds or rare vinyl. Simon Rigg, Founder of Phonica, believes it is the people that make Soho so great;
“Even if they don’t work here, people are always passing by. It’s busy but pleasant to be surrounded by”. Soho isn’t the same now as when Phonica moved in over a decade ago though; “While Soho has slowly gentrified and most of the music shops have moved on, the area is brimming with new character that is coming to life”.
The newest coffee emporium to join Soho’s impressive ranks is the Greek-born, Flocafe Espresso Room on Shaftesbury Avenue with it’s ‘integrated coffee experience’. Open late into the evening, Flocafe offers cocktails, brunch, pastries and sweets. General Manager, Chris Gkioumes, was attracted to Soho because of its innovative roots matching Flocafes ethos;
“What makes us brilliant is our R&D department… from unique blends to the choice of chocolate we use… it just helps us stay ahead and keep on top of trends and tastes. We decided on this location because of its rich history, footfall and our ability to build a community here”.
Soho is changing, but the history and people that make it such a unique and vibrant area mean it will remain a cultural hub of London for decades to come. Shops and trends come and go but Soho’s ‘cool’ is forever.
The black pump where Dr. John Snow traced the outbreak of cholera to a public water pump. Harry Potter fan? Check out the House of Minalima on Greek Street, these are the smart cookies that created the majority of the graphic design seen on Harry Potter. BONUS! Spotted a nose sticking out of the wall? There are seven in total, and they are a nod to the CCTV previously installed outside strip clubs. The seventh is only revealed when you mark the other six on a map…
⁃ Despite having only 25,000 residents, Soho draws in more than 4.3 million people annually thanks to the nightlife and gay pride parade.
⁃ London’s first Italian coffee bar was on Frith Street in 1949 and it’s still there today.
⁃ 23% of all people working in Soho are in the creative industry.
⁃ The house on the corner of Broadwick Street and Marshall Street was the birthplace and childhood home of William Blake.
Watch this space: Fora – Soho is opening March 2019.
Email [email protected] for more information and to register your interest in the space.