Bar Italia

20s and up / 30s / 40s / Anything goes / Arcade Games / Café / Celebrities / Classic / Club Kids / Dessert / Dessert / Diverse / European / Historic Bar / Intimate / Italian Food / Mid 20s / Outdoor Area / Party Groups / Pizza / Regulars / Sandwiches / Soccer / Suits / TVs / Tourists / Well-heeled
Bar Italia Bar Italia in London’s Soho is an old-school Italian joint open nearly 24/7. Grab an espresso, chat up the Godfather, & revel in late-night London with Party Earth. London England 51.513385 -0.131257
4.16 5
Bar Italia - Café | Historic Bar in London.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Even though Soho is no longer the Little Italy it used to be, Bar Italia maintains its reputation as central London’s epicenter of the Italian social and coffee scene. Before there was Red Bull and vodka, there was grappa... ... read full review

  • Tube:

    Northern, Piccadilly Lines: Leicester Square; Central, Northern Lines: Tottenham Court Road

  • Phone:

    020 7437 4520

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–Th 6am–4am, continuous hours F 6am to M 6am

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Bar Italia Review

The Scene

Bar Italia in London’s Soho is an old-school Italian joint open nearly 24/7. Grab an espresso, chat up the Godfather, & revel in late-night London with Party Earth.

Even though Soho is no longer the Little Italy it used to be, Bar Italia maintains its reputation as central London’s epicenter of the Italian social and coffee scene.

Before there was Red Bull and vodka, there was grappa and espresso, and Bar Italia is sticking to it!

Founded, and still run, by an Italian family from Piacenza in 1949, the venue clearly values tradition over novelty: the Gaggia coffee machine has been there since day one, the red and white Formica probably wasn’t in style even when first installed, and the old-school spinning bar stools creak with every turn.

That’s not to imply the cozy space isn’t full of kitsch – it is, in the form of walls covered in burnished mirrors, Italian flags, soccer jerseys, and photos and portraits of Rocky Marciano and celebrity regulars like Rupert Everett and John Hurt.

Daytime patrons are mostly Italian, with no shortage of old men waving their fists as they emphatically converse over biscotti dipped in jet fuel-caliber java.

Late nights – especially weekends – see the place crammed with all types, from party-happy girls sipping Campari at the sidewalk tables and hooting at the street, to packs of bleary-eyed clubbers in dire need of panini at 3am.

It’s doubtful anything on the menu will amaze, but Bar Italia remains a pocket of the Italian coffee shop culture that’s quietly being lost among the Costas, CaffeNeros, and Starbucks, and is worth a visit for the history alone.

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Tip from Emma:

After a weekend night out, stumble over to Bar Italia for some coffee and a slice of chocolate cake. Nothing tastes better at 5am.

  • Crowd

    London’s version of the Godfathers and Goodfellas, well-dressed Italian tourists in search of good coffee, and a mishmash of pretty much everyone who is still standing in Soho at dawn, mid-20s to 60s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Music tends toward old-time crooners like Frank Sinatra. TV usually tuned to Italian news channels and, of course, Italian soccer matches. Couple of video poker machines.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Menu of Italian café fare including panini, sandwiches, salads, pizza, and sweet snacks.

    Fun fact: In 1926, the first public demonstration of television was held in the building that was to become Bar Italia.

  • Prices

    Snacks £1–£3, café fare £4–£7.

    Beer £4, wine £4–£6/glass or £19–£25+/bottle, mixed drinks £10+, coffee £1.50–£3, bagged ground coffee £10.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Plenty of old gents in suits by day, but anything goes most of the time.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any late night for a coffee kick.

  • Close By

    Little Italy (21 Frith Street) right next door is a gritty bar and restaurant with a dance floor in back that gets going late.

Bar Italia User Reviews

Average rating:
a little taste of Italy
Tara R. Dec 10, 2012
I moved to London after living in Italy, and whenever I miss my old bar/cafe in Milano, I come to Bar Italia. London’s Italian population isn’t sparse by any measure—in fact, they’re pretty much everywhere—but they do seem to congregate at the best coffee places in town. Bar Italia is an institution and serves up an Italian-style cappuccino—there’s a café in Earl’s Court that does their coffee better, but doesn’t have the same open, friendly vibe that Bar Italia does. This place also doesn’t feel like it’s graduated from the 1970s—in a good way. There are always a group of old men congregated in the café talking to the baristas, and the television always plays the Italian football games.
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