London’s Soho was once famous for unmarked doors that led to private drinking clubs and semi-legal clip joints, but a new generation of bars and restaurants means that hidden venues are no longer the preserve of furtive businessman or guileless tourists.

Monocolumn is Monocle's daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

London’s Soho was once famous for unmarked doors that led to private drinking clubs and semi-legal clip joints, but a new generation of bars and restaurants means that hidden venues are no longer the preserve of furtive businessman or guileless tourists. Instead, they have become the destination of the capital’s gastronomic cognoscenti.

With its rusty signage and frosted windows, Spuntino looks unremarkable against a vista of neon shopfronts and window displays of fluorescent lingerie in this seedy corner of the capital. If you weren’t looking for it you would walk straight past. But for those in the know, Spuntino (“snack” in Italian) is the latest addition to a growing list of chic under-the-radar venues that provide a vintage aesthetic and, most importantly, quality cocktails. Unadvertised, rarely marketed and with websites that furnish the barest of details, these bars and restaurants rely on word of mouth recommendations. Their sudden profusion suggests that their unorthodox methods are succeeding, and that a slight aura of mystery is an excellent way to attract a loyal following.

UP YOUR QUOTA FOR JUST $15 A MONTH
PSFK’s Premium Subscription provides access to a database of over 100,000 articles featuring new ideas, interviews, analysis and opinion on the latest innovation in brand, customer and retail experience.
Already a subscriber? Log in
(powered by Wallkit)