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Chapter 16 Taking a Light Glass in Soho

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2352

ISBN: 978-1-908999-03-0

Published: September 2013

Component type: chapter

Published in: Food and Drink: the cultural context

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2005



I am taking a light glass in Soho! Standing outside the Coach and Horses (one of my regular haunts), with my newly acquired drinking companion, who is reminiscing about how things have changed. She misses her days with Soho luminaries, not least ‘No Knickers Joyce’. She drains the glass of wine that I bought her and goes back inside. She will never speak to me again. Such is the character of Soho – sustained by drink and legends. Today it’s a cosmopolitan quarter of restaurants, pubs, bars, coffee shops and clubs, interspersed with traders, hairdressers, porn shops and media houses. It’s here that London’s gay ‘village’ affably co-exists with tourists, hedonists, media- types and epicures. Soho is comprised of about 130 acres of central London. Oxford Street, Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road mark its physical boundaries, and provide a framework for its powerful and enduring symbolic culture. Soho was extolled by a foreign diplomat at the beginning of the 20 th Century as a home of artists, dancers and musicians and a sanctuary for foreign refugees. Fifty years later it was condemned by the Daily Mail as a neighbourhood, ‘Solely for stinking men, prostitutes, perverts and pimps.’ Whatever its perceived failings, its rich diversity placed it at the vanguard of new tastes – particularly in food and fashion. It has remained a case study in cross-cultural acceptance, as well as a theatre of over-indulgence and unruly living.

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  • Paul Bloomfield (Author)

For the source title:

  • Donald Sloan, Oxford Brookes University (Editor)

Cite as

Bloomfield, 2013

Bloomfield, P. (2013) "Chapter 16 Taking a Light Glass in Soho" In: Sloan, D. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2352


Mort, F. (1998) 'Cityscapes, consumption, Masculinities and the mapping of London since 1950', Urban Studies, 35: 889-907


Sloan, D. (2004) Culinary Taste: consumer behaviour in the international restaurant sector, Oxford: Elsevier


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Published in Food and Drink: the cultural context

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