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The Vintage Guide To London | February 24, 2018

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Fifties formica glory: Bar Italia

Fifties formica glory: Bar Italia

Founded in 1949, Bar Italia was one of the first Italian coffee bars in Soho, perhaps even the first as claimed by some.

Although the tiny 24-hour bar has been redone over the years, the red and white formica, Gaggia coffee machine and the neon entrance sign with hanging-clock fronts remain intact – Bar Italia is as stylish as ever if you can look past the ugly flat screen TVs churning out the news or Italian football.

The coffee is as good as it gets, the food is decent (skip the full English and have a sausage sandwich instead), the prices are extraordinary but then where else in London can you sip an espresso at 3am surrounded by authentic Fifties chrome?

Bar Italia
22 Frith St

Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
Google Map


  1. “I’d like to take you by the hand/and go for a walk/past the people as they go to work…”

    This was one of my early 90s haunts, along with its Pulp soundtrack. Love it. My favourite sarnie is the bacon though. 🙂

  2. Just looking through the net and saw this… happy that you love my work ….built both machines for BAR ITALIA over the past 2 decades check out doctor espresso facebook.

    The Doctor