Lights, camera, ACTION!

We were delighted to welcome the singer and bandleader Ray Gelato to Bar Italia last week when he filmed a video along with ‘The Soho Hobo (aka Tim Arnold) of the song ‘Bar Italia’.

Ray wrote the song and Tim produced it. There has been a tremendous around it, and demo’s will be hitting the media in the next week or two, so expect plenty of air play.

You can hear the song in full here…

Here come The Mumpers!

Two of our most regular customers to Bar Italia over the years, Mark Baxter and Paolo Hewitt, combined in 2007 to write a book called The Mumper. The book is about Mark’s life in the 1980s and in particular the drinking culture of South East London. One day the regular group of guys who drink together are offered a racehorse ‘off the back of a lorry’ , which they buy and decide to race and chaos then ensues.

The book was optioned by a film company and a film called ‘Outside Bet’ and starring Bob Hoskins, Jenny Agutter and Calum MacNab was finished earlier this year and this will be released nationally by Universal Pictures in early 2012.

The first edition of the book sold out and this has now be re-issued by Phoenix Books and that was published on 27th of October.

We would like to say well done to the chaps and we look forward to the Premiere!

It's Tony Bennett and our clock!

Legendary singer Tony Bennett was in the area of Frith Street, Soho, recently and a photo of him with our famous clock in the background has reached us, which we are delighted about and thought we’d share with you.

Bennett, real name Anthony Dominick Benedetto and of Italian extraction,  has long been one of our favourite singers, famous for songs like ‘Rags To Riches’, ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, and that absolute belter ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco’

Frank Sinatra once said “For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business. He excites me when I watch him. He moves me. He’s the singer who gets across what the composer has in mind, and probably a little more’

You can’t argue with that…Salut Mr Bennett!

4 Postcards of Bar Italia now available!

Four iconic images from Bar Italia are now available to buy as postcards. The Gaggia machine, the marble floor, our famous neon clock and the world famous Rocky Marciano poster, which was given to the Bar by his widow Barbara, make up a set of four cards that you can now take home as a souvenir or send them to your friends and family

They are available within the Bar and a set of four available are priced at 0nly £2.00

The Cheeky Girls meet cheeky Pauly!

Romanian twin sisters Gabriela and Monica Irimia, better known as The Cheeky Girls, popped into Bar Italia over the weekend, where they made our night manager Pauly, a right cheeky sandwich.

The girls who’s first single ‘Cheeky Song’ reached number 2 in the UK charts in 2002, are still performing around the country appearing at many ‘Pride’ events.

The Olympics come to Bar Italia…

We have had a film crew in the Bar over the last few days, who were making a film about Bar Italia as part of the forthcoming 2012 Olympics.

They interviewed Antonino about the history of the place, what made our coffee so good, and how we had managed to last so long since our opening in 1949.

The resulting film, accompanied by the ‘Bar Italia’ song by Ray Gelato and produced by The Soho Hobo, will be seen during the Games next year, can’t wait!

Hear the Bar Italia by Ray Gelato on YouTube!

The legend that is Ray Gelato loves Bar Italia so much, he wrote a song about the place!

Below, Ray explains why he wrote it and you can then click onto the YouTube clip to get a sneaky preview of the song…Over to you Ray

‘Bar Italia in Soho is a lot of things to me. Apart from making the best coffee in London. Bar Italia is also my favorite place to hang out and catch up on what’s going on. It’s one of the few places with that ‘ Old’ London feel about it.

I have been using Bar Italia for 20 odd years, and have known Antony Polledri and his family for many years. That’s why I was delighted when Tony asked me to write a song about his bar! It was such a lovely opportunity to put into words what this place means to me, and I guess so many of us that love Bar Italia. I didn’t need much inspiration, because Bar Italia itself was inspiring enough to craft the lyrics around it. I hope the song, ‘ Bar Italia, Where you wanna be’, reflects the warmth of Bar Italia itself and the love and kindness of the wonderful Polledri family that run this iconic place’

Another classic photo from the Getty archive

Today’s photo from 1940 shows the level of anti – Italian feeling there was in London during the Second World War. Italy’s leader at the time, Benito Mussolini, decided to side with Hitlers Germany during the campaign. As a result, upon the outbreak of war, many shops were attacked and shut down, with their signs removed, as can be seen here.

All Italian men aged between 17- and 60 were interned in camps around the country.

One tragedy remembered by all Italians to this day is that of the 2nd of July 1940 when the SS Arandora Star, originally a passenger liner, was sunk off the west coast of Ireland taking Italian and German internees to Canada. 470 Italians and 143 Germans and many  crew members lost their lives.

Fascinating story behind the Getty photo now hanging in the Bar

We have recently changed the display of photos in the Bar and have now hung two from the Getty archives which always get a great reaction when they appear.

Today we are featuring one from 1955, which shows Bar Italia in the background, next door to Bianchi’s restaurant (which is now Little Italy).

Towards the corner you can see ‘Angeluci’s’ (the sign is still there, though the business has now left the area) and on the corner is the Continental Fruit Stores, which was the scene of the infamous fight between two gangsters Albert Dimes and Jack Spot. This has gone down in the annuls of the history of Soho. Below is a rare clip of the main protagonists talking about the event.

New stock of the Bar Italia brochure now in!

We have new stock of the Bar Italia brochure now available. This fascinating document details the story of the Bar and of the Polledri family who started it all way back in 1949.

Full of fantastic photographs, many from the family archive, it is a must-have for those who love the Bar

Priced at £6.00 it can be purchased in Bar Italia, 22 Frith Street, Soho.

Last 'Lunch With Elena' for 2011

The lunch on October 12th will be the last “Lunch with Elena” of 2011 so it would be great if you could make it. We’ll resume again in January 2012 (the second Wednesday – 11th January but please wait for confirmation).




Contact Details:

Little Italy        020 7734 4737

A sample of Elena’s menu is available at under the name of Lunch Club Menu.

The Guardian recently ran a slideshow on-line interview with Elena, which can be viewed at this link -

Introducing 'Little Italy'

A new short film has been made which will introduce you to ‘Little Italy’ our restaurant next door to Bar Italia.

In the film you will be introduced to the restaurant by Antonio, you’ll get a glimpse of the kitchen at work and get the feel of the buzz of place of a evening.

Christmas Bookings Now Being Taken

Both of our restaurants , Little Italy in Soho London, and Nolita in Hertfordshire, are now taking bookings for Christmas and the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Please follow the links below for further information.

Thanks Ed

Many thanks to Ed Gray for the kind words of thanks to the Polledri family at his current exhibition ‘All This Useless Beauty’ at the GX Gallery in SE5