New Restaurant Set For Soho Square Bomb Shelter?

Ben Norum
By Ben Norum Last edited 41 months ago
New Restaurant Set For Soho Square Bomb Shelter?

Soho Square by M@ from the Londonist Flickr pool

The West End looks likely to gain a new subterranean hotspot, as the Standard reports that a Second World War air raid shelter under Soho Square has been put on the market for £175,000.

On top of the sale price, it’s estimated that whoever buys it will need to spend in the region of £2m to transform it from a Blitz hideout to a bustling recreation space — but this hasn’t put off would-be buyers.

Westminster Council is offering a long lease on the space, and says it has already had interest from three different restaurant groups as well as a gym operator and a music venue. The agents responsible for the sale reckon it's unlikely the council would allow it to be a bar.

If it were to become a restaurant, the so-called Soho Bunker wouldn’t be the area’s first subterranean eatery. Just across Oxford Street in Fitzrovia, café and coffee shop Attendant opened in 2013, in transformed underground toilets. Last year also saw the opening of wine and charcuterie bar WC in underground loos near Clapham Common station, and Ladies & Gentlemen in disused conveniences in Kentish Town.

It wouldn’t be the only air raid shelter to be put to foodie use, either. In Clapham, former Second World War shelters have been transformed into subterranean farms. They are being used to grow mushrooms, salad leaves and micro-herbs with the use of state-of-the-art low-energy light bulbs and an integrated hydroponics watering system. The resultant crops are served in some of the capital’s top restaurants, including Michel Roux Jr’s two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche in Mayfair.

Given the land beneath Soho Square is home to tunnels and platforms for both Northern line and Crossrail trains, presumably some serious sound-proofing would need to be done to prevent dinner being a tad deafening.

What would you like to see in the bunker space? Let us know in the comments below.

Last Updated 20 January 2015




A Kirsty MacColl museum!


Let's see some pictures of this intriguing building below ground! I've longed to find out more about it...


The AIDS Memorial Campaign is hoping to find a home in the southern part of Soho Square for a permanent AIDS memorial as part of a co-ordinated uplift of the Square and its facilities for local workers and residents. A dream perhaps - but it would be fabulous were we able to find a backer to turn these subterranean spaces (actually a disused electricity sub-station and four separate but connected WW2 shelters) into a permanent home for the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt and an HIV/ADS exhibition and resource space, with a specific emphasis on education and prevention in relation to the continuing epidemic. Something far more fitting for this oasis in the centre of London than a restaurant or gym.

Rob Gray

For heavens sake please don't let it become anything more than a restaurant. I'm glad the council held back requests of turning it into a bar, pieces of hidden history like this shouldn't be mistreated.