3 Soho Bartenders show us how to drink in Soho
Once considered to be London’s Red Light District, many have complained that Soho’s gentrification has pushed out the free thinkers and the rebels in favour of a tamer and more commercial neighbourhood. Whilst the crimson lights and bits of naughtiness may not be as prominent (they’re still there if you know where to look), the district is now also known as a go-to haunt for those in the know when it comes to mixology. We speak to some of Soho’s coolest bartenders to hear their thoughts on the next big thing in booze, and the best places to drink in Soho.
1.Alessandro Rocci, 68&Boston
Located on buzzing Greek Street is wine and cocktail lounge 68&Boston
. The venue is separated into 68, the wine bar on the ground floor, and Boston, the cocktail haven up top. The décor is reminiscent of a bygone era of post-war decadence with velvet curtains and a wood panel finish.
Their menu is a tribute to Soho and reads “It’s the people that make the city, and nowhere is truer than in Soho” Our favourite is the Royal Charter with Plymouth gin, whey syrup, lemon juice, and nutmeg.
Alessandro Rocci is one of the bartenders at Boston. He talks to us about how the scene is changing and the industry’s need to adapt. “Consumers are more conscious about how much they drink as more and more people are leading a healthier lifestyle. No to low ABV drinks have been growing as a category, and I think we’ll see more and more cocktail bars stepping up the game in this category.”
2. Pietro Guerra, Salvador and Amanda
Though he’s only been living in London for 3 years, Pietro Guerra of Spanish tapas and drinks hub, Salvador & Amanda, is making a statement with his signature drink, the ‘Dracarys’, which is his own concoction of whiskey, apple liquor, and tabasco.
Salvador & Amanda
has been bringing the flavours and spirit of the Mediterranean to London for over 15 years. Nights dedicated to the sensual flamenco and the pumping beats of a DJ help ensure that the fiesta never ends. Their drinks menu features a mix of traditional Spanish wines and cava along with a wide range of cocktails and guilt-free mocktails too.
Pietro says that to him, London is a less ordinary city with all types of customers who keep him constantly curious and on his toes. When asked to predict the next big thing in drinks, he says: “Automatic machines that make cocktails…[or] a gimmick inspired by a TV series or movie to entice guests to visit the venue and get them involved with finding clues in order to make their own drinks!”
3. Nikos Tachmazis, Bar Termini
Listed on The World’s 50 Best Bars three years in a row, Bar Termini
brings a little slice of Italy to Central London. From coffee in the morning, Italian food for lunch, and later Negronis in the evenings, the Soho joint welcomes guests no matter when they decide to come for a visit.
Built to resemble the famous Termini train station in Rome, Bar Termini is a joint effort by mixologist and author Tony Conigliario and coffee connoisseur Marco Arrigo. Aside from a number of coffee options, the menu lists a fantastic Bloody Mary with horseradish vodka and Spritz Termini, among others.
Nikos Tachmazis is the Bar Manager at Bar Termini Soho where he delivers exceptional cocktails created in the bar’s own testing lab, the Drink Factory. His vision for the future of booze involves long drinks and aperitivos. In a cutthroat, competitive industry, we ask Nikos what a bar needs to stand out as a true winner. “Service and identity,”
he says. “I think the most important thing to do is to give people a reason to choose to be served by you. Go out of your way to create a better overall guest experience by creating a friendly and caring connection with every one of your guests.”
What are some of Nikos favourite Soho haunts? It’s Barrafina
and Milk and Honey.
Despite the changing neighbourhood landscape, Soho’s charm is undeniable. It remains to be a little corner of London that embraces uniqueness and progressive thinking and still remains our favourite place in the city when we’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary tipple.
Words by Ina Yulo