So as we get settled into our new offices overlooking Soho we thought we’d share a few cultural highlights from this bustling, vibrant and historic part of town. So in no particular order here are some places to check out, and feel free to suggest others to firstname.lastname@example.org
21 Dean Street
So there are the main West End theatres such as Prince Edward’s (currently showing The Jersey Boys) and The Piccadilly Theatre (Spice Girls Viva Forever The Musical is set to open on 11 December), and everything else along Shaftesbury Avenue in between. But the Soho Theatre is just 2 minutes from our offices and it is a great little theatre that often punches well above it’s weight. It is a great spot for new writers, comedy and cabaret.
They’ve also got a theatre bar, free wifi, and are open for breakfast at 9.30. They’ve a 1am bar licence for members – £50 for a year (or £25 if you’re 25 or under).
Coming up – they’ve got a host of comedians including Shappi Khorsandi (closing Saturday 3 Nov) to Josh Widdicombe, Greg Proops and Alexi Sayle . Terror 2012, their 9th annual festival of horror theatre. Blast Off a science fiction night and a staging of A Clockwork Orange.
Riflemaker Contemporary Art
79 Beak Street
Described as “London’s funkiest gallery space” by WSJ it prides itself on exhibiting emerging artists and often receives glowing praise for their innovative shows. Each Riflemaker exhibition features live performances, films, talks and music/poetry events, usually taking place on Monday evenings.
From 13 November to 22 December is Judy Chicago’s “Deflowered” exhibition. Judy Chicago is an American artist, author, feminist educator, and one of the pioneers of Feminist art in the 1970′s. Known for her large collaborative installation artwork which examined the role of women in history and culture, the Riflemaker exhibition will be her first London since 1985. Simultaneously, Judy Chicago’s first UK museum show opens to the public in London on 14th November at Ben Uri, The London Jewish Museum of Art.
47 Frith Street
The grandday of live Jazz venues and a Soho institution in it’s own right, it is a “must do” at least once while working in Soho. If you’re going to take in one of the main shows, from personal experience, the food isn’t up to much, and the seats at the side are cramped for taller people – so in for a penny, go the whole hog and get a spot in the middle. And with the London Jazz Festival 9-18 November at venues across London, you’ll be sure to see and hear some amazing artists.
Ronnie Scott’s Upstairs
47 Frith Street
With it’s smaller, more intimate space, those looking to experience the main club’s atmosphere but not sure about shelling out for the main show, this upstairs bar is worth a try. There is live music every night of the week and an eclectic array of artists and bands, from funk and Cuban to jive and poetry nights, catering to tastes that run beyond jazz.
Pizza Express Jazz Club
10 Dean Street
And why have two jazz venues when you can have three? And this one serves Pizza! Check out the list of artists coming up. ww.pizzaexpresslive.com/jazzList
100 Wardour Street
Or four? If you fancy a bit of live Latin Jazz with your cocktails, this is the place to be.
8-10 Brewer Street
Ok, so there’s more than one institution in Soho, and this one covers almost everything else that Ronnie Scott’s can’t: – cabaret, burlesque, drag artistes, magic shows and club nights. And every Wednesday Madame Jojo’s hosts Trannyshack, described as “one of London’s most popular avante-garde cabaret club nights”, welcoming “fabulous drag queens, gender illusionists, dressed-up Klub Kids, transexuals, faces-about-town, and a host of other wild creatures channelling glamorous polysexuality!”. Well, this is Soho after all!
Orange Yard, Off Manette Street
Live music venue and club nights including The Christmas Club, every Saturday 11pm-4am is London’s longest running indie disco.
The Society Club
12 Ingestre Place (corner of Silver Place & Ingestre Place)
The Society Club is a unique bookshop and gallery hosting book launches, poetry readings and photo exhibitions. It is an elegant and welcoming space, like a Bohemian sitting room, where you can get a cup of tea, glass of wine or cocktail while you browse. Stocking everything from rare signed first editions to the latest publications, they also host regular exhibitions openings and intimate author talks. Open late Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – serving and mixing some unusual cocktails. And there’s a poetry night this coming Tuesday 6 November.
They are dog friendly and have three shop dogs; Monty, Molly, Modesty. And they stock dog food (organic), treats and accessories.
Current Exhibition: Circumstance: American on Bruised Knees — Photographs by Formento + Formento
99 Shaftesbury Avenue
Your local art house cinema: www.curzoncinemas.com
Currently showing Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Shining and the related documentary Room 237.
(And if you’ve missed that film you really wanted to get to see, there’s always The Prince Charles www.princecharlescinema.com or Odeon Panton Street, who screen long after the multiplexes have bumped the art house films for the next blockbuster).
Soho Stories App
And while you’re exploring Soho don’t forget to download the National Trust’s Soho Stories app and listen to local stories, guided by Barry Crier with other well known commentators, to give your skinny chagga double a flat white a little bit more colour.