It was in this neighbourhood that Dick Bradsell invented the Espresso Martini, after all. It's home to the wildest gay bars, the baddest brothels and the craziest cocktail spots, and they'll all welcome you into their seedy underbelly. At one point there was a petition to "sanitise Soho", but we like it that little bit grimy, that little bit gritty and that little bit naughty.
Another reason we love Soho? It's now home to some of London's - and the world's - best bars and restaurants. Yup, you can wine 'n' dine and get down 'n' dirty. Here’s how to have a day-to-night experience in this epic neighbourhood that'll certainly be worth remembering... even if things end up a little foggy.
You're gonna need to line that stomach, 'cos you're in this thing for the long run. Bring on the Bloody Marys, pancakes and bacon.
Scarlett Green's badass brunch
As long as the queues aren't too insane, hit up The Breakfast Club - you can't miss the bright yellow exterior. It's where it all began for these brekkie behemoths and you need at least one visit. Here it's all about American classics like The Club Burrito, pancakes and bacon and fried chicken and waffles - washed down with a Club Bloody Mary and a Flat White Martini, naturally.
33 D'Arblay St, London, W1F 8EU
Part of the Daisy Green Collective, they serve some banging Australian-inspired dishes here that are beautiful to look at and awesome to eat. The menu is divided between sweet and savoury. We naturally go for something from each side: red shakshouka and buttermilk blueberry pancakes, yum. They also do a very decent daily 90-minute bottomless brunch with free-flowing fizz - get involved.
4 Noel St, Soho, London W1F 8GB
One to visit at any time of day. They specialise in Negronis - you can try five different types - and have chilled Italian vibes nailed. We say head in for some of their exceptional coffee and a Bloody Mary, a simple spread of Italian charcuterie, and finish up with a Rosato Negroni. So chic, so continental.
7 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 5JE
You think they love their three-Martini lunches in the City? You ain't seen nothing yet. Wander the streets of Soho at lunchtime and you'll see the best of them getting on the sauce. Be rude not to join them, no?
French fancy at Cafe Boheme
If meat's your thing, swing by Temper. One of London’s hottest barbecue chefs is behind this fire pit BBQ restaurant, and it's got a six-metre-long central fire pit in the dining room. Now that's hot. Whether you're here for the aged beef skewers or the 500g of T-bone, one thing's for sure - you're gonna want mezcal with that. Their cocktail menu champions the agave spirits and we're so down for the smoky Momma's Margarita.
25 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DF
Not a member of Soho House? Who cares, you can still enjoy the vibes without the fee right next door at Dean Street Town House. Chill out on the outside tables wearing shades and people might think you're famous as you make your way through a bottle of Lady A and a few Picantes, all while doing a bit of celeb spotting of your own.
69-71 Dean Street, London, W1D 3SE
This spot is pure Soho - buzzy, relaxed French bistro vibes with old-world charm. It's a go-to for loadsa different types: you might find yourself chatting to actors who will be appearing on stage that night, some famous artist who makes sculptures from foam, or wide-eyed party people who haven't slept yet and are making their way through to the next sesh with red wine and a croque monsieur.
13 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JQ
Ya can't talk about dining in Soho without mentioning Barrafina - but since the Dean Street branch of this epic tapas restaurant doesn't take bookings, you're better off trying your luck at lunchtime. Sip a sherry and don't miss the tortilla, cooked to runny perfection.
26-27 Dean Street, W1D 3LL
Although Soho sadly doesn't have the same amount of boozers it used to boast (that's Central London, baby) there's still a few places for a pint and a packet of peanuts.
The French House looking sexy. Image credit: Peter Clark
A buzzing corner pub that's always rammed and has a saloon bar serving Yorkshire ales, no fuss. It's named after the doctor who traced the London cholera outbreak, btw - not the Game of Thrones character or the newsreader.
9 Broadwick St, London W1F 9QJ
A beauty of a Grade II listed pub/bar where you'll be rubbing shoulders with the literati. Plus it's got a no-music, no-machines, no-television and a no-phones rule, which means the conversation - and the 30 wines by the glass - will be flowing.
49 Dean St, London W1D 5BG
More inclined to a Guinness or two? Hit up this place, it’s the real deal - the best traditional boozer in this postcode and is one of the best spots around for a pint of G and some oysters.
19 Carlisle Street, London W1D 3BY
You can sip cocktails any time of day in Soho - and you'll see people doing just that. Time to join 'em!
Upstairs at Bar Swift
It's gonna be a long night, so start off with something lighter in Mele e Pere - sneak downstairs and they have a bar dedicated to vermouth. It's super sexy and ideal to perch at the bar sipping a V&T.
46 Brewer St, London W1F 9TF
Yeah, it's a members' club, but the restaurant bar's open to all - and that's a very good thing. Get on the afternoon Manhattans or unwind with a Martini; whatever you do, make sure you order one of their otherworldly eel sandwiches to snack on while ya sip.
26-29 Dean St, London W1D 3L
BarChick always makes sure to stop in here for at least one drink - that usually turns into four or five, tbh. They're just so damned good, and we love the staff. Downstairs it's swanky - dimly lit, sleek booths, date-central. Upstairs is more chill, with countertop seating and a bright aesthetic. If you can, then sit in the window and watch the world go by. Not had a Swift Irish Coffee yet? Remedy that immediately.
12 Old Compton St, London W1D 4TQ
There's more to this David Bowie-inspired joint than meets the eye. Settle in for a cocktail at the moody bar upstairs, and ask a member of the team very nicely for a cheeky tour of the recording studios below - they're a literal chapel to the Thin White Duke himself, and they're really f*cking cool.
22 Great Windmill St, London W1D 7LD
Find this speakeasy by looking for the opticians sign. Best to book this one as it gets pretty popular. Don't expect the drinks to come cheap, but you get your money's worth in service, creativity and quality. One of their menus was based on popular children's books, for example. It's also above chef Jason Atherton's Social Eating House restaurant, if you get peckish afterwards and don't wanna wander too far for dinner.
58 Poland St, London W1F 7NR
Soho is pure central London - crowded and buzzy. When it comes to outdoor spaces, the best you'll usually manage is nabbing a much-coveted pavement table - or hitting a glorious rooftop.
The Ham Yard Hotel lookin' fine
Quite a lot of Carnaby restaurants have some seats outside for the lucky few, but our fave in the area is this little wine bar and shop with its terrace. The plonk here is all natural, baby! Ask the team to recommend you a glass of something special and watch the world go by.
12A Newburgh St, Carnaby, London W1F 7RR
Get yourself to the Aqua Spirit roof terrace here on a sunny day and you're in for a treat: epic views of Regent Street, and some damn fine drinks too. Hungry? You're in luck - they've got loads of wicked Japanese dishes to keep ya fed.
5th Floor, 240 Regent Street, London, W1B 3BR
Nestled in its own little leafty square, this spot offers a bit of peace and quiet for a perfectly fixed cocktail - sit at one of the terrace tables or see if you can blag your way up to the roof terrace on a sunny day.
1 Ham Yard, London W1D 7DT
When you wanna treat your honey to a meal that'll truly wow them, go to Soho. There's no shortage of epic restaurants here - just do your best to book in advance, 'cos it's the place to be.
Disco and dinner vibes at Randall & Aubin
For absolute dining decadence, there's nowhere better than Bob Bob Ricard. These are the legends who introduced London to the "press for Champagne" button, which always makes for a very fun night. The food is kind of luxe Russian-English fusion, so if you wanna go all out then caviar and frozen vodka shots is the only way to kick things off.
1 Upper James St, Soho, London W1F 9DF
If you’re looking for good booze, great food and fun vibes, look no further than The Palomar. This modern Jerusalem kitchen serves dishes that taste like fine dining in an atmosphere that feels like a party. Get close at the zinc bar and you might end up sharing more than just mezze.
4 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DN
Set in the building of what used to be the Gay Hussar, which was one of London's oldest restaurants. The Noble Rot crew have brought a fitting sense of old-school charm to their Greek Street digs, with their signature epic wine list and lush French-ish dishes.
2 Greek St, London W1D 4NB
Constantly nominated on best restaurant lists, and we can totally see why. It's from the same peeps behind the epic Smoking Goat, and South East Asian flavours influence everything from the food (the pork and crab clay pot-baked glass noodles is a must-order) to the cocktails. Make ours a Thai Basil and Peppercorn Mojito, please.
58 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9TL
One of our top picks, always. For one thing, it has a f*ck-off huge disco ball dangling from the ceiling and they play chilled house music and funky classics all day. They specialise in seafood, so we say down the hatch with oysters and Champagne to start, then get on the lobster frites. It's all high stool seating at marble countertops, and you usually end up chatting away with your neighbours. We say go for it! You'll make new friends, and who knows where the night will take you?
14-16 Brewer Street, London W1F 0SG
For those that think all good places in London close at midnight, we say swing by Soho. Head here nocturnally you'll most likely find something going on - insalubrious as it may be...
Mind those stairs... if you know, you know. The Pink Chihuahua, El Camion
Open 'til 1am for top tequila times. Go through the back entrance that's disguised at a sex shop and down some stairs, where you'll find an underground tequila cellar bar and Mexican restaurant. The tacos are awesome but it's the drinks in this dimly lit den that you'll wanna get to know.
9 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JF
Not only does Soma serve up some of the best cocktails in the city - they serve 'em until 3am on the weekends. This ain't your average late-night drinking spot, honey. Sleek, sexy and minimalist, with Indian-inspired cocktails to match.
14 Denman St, London W1D 7HJ
It's all about the swanky, high-style vibes here, and there's various spaces and levels to get your glam drink on. They have top DJs spinning into the early hours (3am on the weekends) so you can have a dance before heading off into the night.
100 Wardour St, London W1F 0TN
Perfect for those hours when you should definitely be in bed - they're open til 5am Monday through Thursday and 6am Friday and Saturday. They also serve food 'til late late, so if you get a case of the post-midnight munchies, come here.
60-62 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UG
No trip to Soho is complete without ending the night with a few Espresso Martinis at this legendary Mexican cantina. Downstairs is the Pink Chihuahua - a bartenders' favourite, it stays open 'til 3am and has seen more debauchery than we've had tequila shots. If you're lucky you might just spot BarChick down there dancing on tables...
25-27 Brewer Street, London W1F 0RR