Soho's Star Café has been going strong since 1933, supplying its loyal, local clientele with the whole range of greasy spoon / traditional English breakfast options, some hearty lunch specials (liver, bacon & mash, steak & Guinness pie, meatball sandwiches) and hot, cold and alcoholic beverages throughout the day in a superbly nostalgic setting. Owner Mario, who has worked there all his life after taking over from his father Pop, is always on hand with his infectious smile, charming demeanour and steady supply of one-liners. The décor is special: the tile floors, red and white checked tablecloths, vintage advertising boards (for Lyons tea, Colman's mustard, Hudson's soap etc), old clocks and kitsch paraphernalia give the place a cherished, traditional feel.
The menus promise that the place is "more than just a café", which is clearly the case (film crews shoot here regularly, such is The Star's undeniable cachet). Yet it is more than a tasty meal combined with a trip down memory lane, too, as when day trade ceases at 4pm, it undergoes a complete (not to mention unlikely) transformation and becomes The Star At Night, a relaxed, mixed gay bar open five nights a week until midnight. The Star Café is one of Soho's institutions, a timeless place that has stood the test of time and without which London would be all the poorer. It claims that "after 70+ years maybe, jusy maybe, we're doing something right" - and we'd wholeheartedly agree.