IF Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, Mitzi Del Bra from Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Sally Bowles from Cabaret all hung out together in London, Soho would definitely be where they would be.
Once a seedy hotbed of s*x shops and late-night boozers, Soho’s narrow streets have undergone a renaissance over the years and now offers an eclectic mix of restaurants, culture and cocktails — while still retaining the colour and character of times past.
If you want to experience both the old and new Soho, here are my top five favourites to give you a glimpse at everything this neighbourhood has to offer.
1. Prince Charles Theatre
With a rotating mix of films — old and new, modern and classic — at one of West End’s only independent cinemas, this theatre has earned a special place in the hearts and minds of London residents. Quote-along to Superbad, sing-a-long to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, check out a sci-fi double feature or stay overnight for an 80s themed movie marathon — the Prince Charles has something for every taste.
2. Madame JoJo’s Cabaret
Glitter and glamour, drinking and debauchery, all at Madame JoJo’s Cabaret – the jewel in Soho’s crown. A decadent yet intimate venue, Madame JoJo’s hosts magic shows, burlesque performances and drag acts of the highest calibre.
3. Trannyoke at Escape Bar
Lubricate your vocals, tease up your hair, slip on your most dazzling outfit and get ready for TRANNYOKE! Held every Wednesday at Escape Bar, host Lady Lloyd will have you doing the locomotion and belting out Tina Turner’s entire back catalogue.
Delicious, healthy and cheap! These are three words you don’t see together very often, but with the huge amount of great Asian restaurants on offer in Chinatown be prepared to see these three words together all the time.
5. Maison Bertaux
Enjoy a cuppa and croissant at the quirky and kitsch Maison Bertaux patisserie. Dating back to 1871, Maison Bertaux is London’s oldest and self-proclaimed best patisserie in town. Baking delectable goodies daily, it will have you frothing at the mouth before you even step inside. It also hosts an art gallery showing the works of London artists including mega-babe Noel Fielding.
Madame JoJo’s Caberet
So, if you want to discover Chinatown like Jack Burton, shake your groove thing like Mitzi Del Bra or belt out a tune like Sally Bowles, then head to Soho anytime, any day. There is always something great on.
Next week Michaela Gray shows us Hammersmith. Last week Alex Ivett shone the spotlight on Newington Green.