London is the music capital of the world (back-off Nashville), with pop history round every corner. You walk through Soho and you’re in the cover of Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, you’re mooching in Mayfair and you’re walking past the house that both composer George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix lived in (not simultaneously, obviously, though that would have been quite the flat-share). So we thought you’d like a list of places where pop history was made, after all what’s more rock-and-roll than searching for a restaurant with a decent small plates menu?
The Marquee Club was played by anyone who’s anyone, from The Rolling Stones to the Sex Pistols, between the 60s and 80s. Now renamed and reopened as 100 Wardour Street, the venue still has music at its heart. The name above the door might have changed, the menu may be quite a bit more salubrious, but you can still feel the presence of the likes of Queen and The Who as you sit down to listen to modern-day acts, live DJs and enjoy fine dining.
Where: 100 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 0TN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.4 miles)
It’s an iconic staircase, used in countless films and TV series, not least a Batman film, but the grand staircase at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel really came into its own as the backdrop for the Spice Girls’ video of Wannabe. Stay at the hotel and they’ll let you prance on the stairs as much as your Instagram feed requires, then deal with your own feed requirements at the sumptuous Gilbert Scott restaurant, or perhaps Victorian-inspired cocktails at The Booking Office.
Hotel Café Royal has been at the centre of pop-culture culture for decades, it was where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton hung out, Muhammad Ali ate here and, famously, it’s where David Bowie ‘retired’ his Ziggy Stardust alter ego. Bowie thew a legendary blow-out party, attended by rock-and-roll luminaries including Mick Jagger and Lou Reed (pictured), Paul McCartney, Lulu and anyone else who was anyone else. The hotel has underlined its place in pop history with their new bar, Ziggy’s, where the decor, the menu and the cocktails all pay homage to Bowie.
The Troubadour hosted Dylan, then stopped modernising. At least, that’s what it can sometimes feel like at this time capsule bar, restaurant and club. The feel really is one of the 50s and 60s, and head downstairs to the cellar club below and you’re in a music venue that has hosted the greats, famously being the first place Bob Dylan played in London. It’s also where Caggie Dunlop performed in the season 1 finale of Made in Chelsea, but we won’t mention that.
It’s one of the most famous concerts in history, and it happened on a rooftop in Mayfair. The Beatles last public performance was on the roof of 3 Savile Row, watched only by passersby below and was finally curtailed by the police who were concerned by the gathering crowds. While you can’t eat or drink in the corporate offices below, you can glance at where pop-history was made, then head a few doors down and instead have a slap up meal at Sartoria, the Savile Row restaurant by Italian chef Francesco Mazzei.
The Good Mixer in Camden is pretty much synonymous with pop-culture. It’s the local for some of the biggest icons in the industry, Amy Winehouse was always here, it’s where the Blur/Oasis feud started, and it also serves a decent pint. Get down there, unless you’re in rehab, rehab, rehab…
You know the video for Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues? Well it’s filmed in a back alley round the back of The Savoy. Yes, the hotel may be one of the world’s most luxurious and glamorous, but one of the best known images will always be the loading bays around the rear! Go in the front, though, and enjoy the life that many a film-star and rock-and-roller have before.