Soho/Covent Garden Travel Guide
In 1679, a man attacked John Dryden in this tiny pub’s alleyway for writing scurrilous verses about one of Charles II’s mistresses. These days, drinkers spill out into the alley during summertime; during winter, they cozy up around the working fireplaces and leaded-glass windows.
Britain’s best-known men’s wear designer is gregarious and charming, and his eccentricities manifest in discreetly peculiar and impeccably tailored clothing.
Inside London’s Covent Garden, Hope and Greenwood is a small confections shop offering a variety of handmade British sweets.
Art Deco-inspired suites, private chambers, and secret passageways make up London’s hottest nightclub. Not surprisingly, it’s tough to get in, though there is easy (and free) entry to Glass, a boutique cocktail bar.
From the street you wouldn’t know this bar exists (there’s no signage or visible address; it’s between numbers 59 and 63), but inside you may as well be in a dark, intriguing, and illicit prohibition-era speakeasy.
A London institution since 1875, Liberty’s a mainstay that’s as overwhelming as it is essential. Despite its historic appearance (Tudor timber-framed exterior, wood-paneled rooms, grand staircases, beamed ceilings), this shop is a consummate trendsetter.
Seductively stylish yet surprisingly unpretentious, this modern Soho speakeasy is ideal for small groups and couples hoping to get cozy over Curacao.
Behind the unprepossessing facade lies a bizarre array of opulently campy bric-a-brac (Meccano model sets, twinkly mini-carousels, and 3-D paintings) expertly slung together to create a trendy, unique, and expensive cocktail bar that’s both surreal and hipper-than-thou.
A stunning Covent Garden landmark, the Royal Opera House is one of the world’s greatest opera houses. The Grade I-listed building was built in 1858 following a fire in the previous theatre and retains its period character to this day.
Its impressive pillared facade, spanning an entire block, hints at the retail experience within, but this is no ordinary department store.
The city’s most storied wine bar has been operating as such since 1890, and today you can relish a glass of one of 80 wines (a blackboard shows daily specials) within the subterranean medieval vaults that literally drip with ambience.
Supper clubs and cabarets are London’s latest craze, and Shaun Clarkson lent his design expertise to this one. The name doesn’t refer to the saucy Parisian suburb but to a late 1940’s Piccadilly hot spot, which the interiors reflect.
No other store follows the catwalks so closely or initiates its own national trends like Topshop, a mecca for high-street fashion. What looks like a teen hangout (similar to H&M) is really an insider’s source for designer knockoffs.
One of London’s most popular upscale nightclubs, Chinawhite is frequented by wealthy tourists and celebrities, with former patrons including Kate Moss, Lindsey Lohan, and Lilly Allen.
A mere 47 years after Ronnie Scott and fellow saxophonist Pete King launched this legendary jazz venue, current owner Sally Greene (who runs the Old Vic theater with Kevin Spacey) recently refurbished the club, taking the look back to the old days, with reds and blacks, wood and brass, low lighti