Spice of Life information

The Spice of Life is a traditional pub on two floors with a music venue in its basement - Backstage Bar. There is live music on every night, ranging from classical, jazz and blues through to rock, pop and indie.

Ranked #415 of 2091 pubs & bars in London

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Opening Hours
Opening Hours

10:00 - 23:00


10:00 - 23:00


10:00 - 23:00


10:00 - 23:00


10:00 - 23:00


10:00 - 23:00


12:00 - 22:30

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What did you think of Spice of Life?

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Spice of Life reviews

By Andrew M.

The Spice Island have excellent jazz nights. Really good, seductive music with a chilled out atmosphere. The Spice Island are experts at cocktails. They have a couple of house specials that are worth trying. Really like this place.

By Kat F.

Went there recently for the live music in the bar downstairs- does get packed quickly so I recommend booking an area. Music was good and setup seemed well run. Music started at 8pm, and had three acts which were all really good. I would recommend this place as the drinks were very reasonably priced for the area, good selection, and it was free to get in. I think I would go back again. Perhaps on one of their Jazz nights next time. Only thing I'd say was disappointing was the quality of the food. Steak and chips was good but many of my friends really didn't enjoy their meals. Very generous helpings but if you are hoping for amazing food go eat elsewhere first and enjoy this place for the drinks and music!

By Miguel L.

Great location but really poor service. Waiters have too much of an attitude and the manager is inept at handling complains. Waited an hour for food, asked four times and was told it was on its way, went to complain and manager was snotty, no apology, obviously - do you still want the food or a refund? Took the refund went elsewhere. It may seem unimportant but how would you take it if it happened to you? How graciously would you take their stupidity?

By A.

the spice of life is a very friendly bar/pub. the staff are very friendly. prices are very reasonable. they have a fantastic bles/jazz night every tuesday, with an amazing band (chris kalli's blues force) opening the show every week. i would definatly recommend it.

By Frank S.

excellent pub,great staff, really enjoyed the open mike session monday evening. well worth a visit. frank and lyn liverpool.

By Anne K.

Big pub, nice bar stuff and in the early evenings always a chance to find a seat. Big choice of drinks and food. Food is not too bad too.

By Pru E.

If you’re expecting a curry house, you might be surprised when you stumble upon the historic, thriving heritage pub and live music venue that is the Spice of Life.

The Venue
With an imposing presence on Cambridge Circus in the heart of the West End, right next to the Palace Theatre, this majestic pub could easily have become a bland and overpriced tourist trap. Instead, the Spice of Life is a Soho landmark that has charmed Londoners and visitors alike since the 1890s with good food, friendly surroundings and an impressive live music heritage.

Upstairs is sizeable and spacious with plenty of seating, whilst the heart of the Spice is downstairs in the Backstage Bar – a low-key music den that in its time has seen performances by greats such as Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and the Sex Pistols. These days you can catch live performances of almost every genre from jazz and blues to classical, rock, indie, funk and soul. The pub’s decor makes the most of the building’s historical fixtures with small touches like wall-mounted lanterns, vintage chandeliers, tassel-sashed curtains and tartan carpet adding to the immaculately presented, pleasing surroundings.

The Atmosphere
Its prominent position means the Spice of Life is nearly always buzzing with local workers, theatregoers and passer-bys. There’s only one TV that is hardly ever on, which means you can avoid rowdy sporting crowds in favour of a relaxed pint and conversation. When the gigs get going, the place to be is in the basement bar downstairs, which packs a lively crowd.

The Food
The menu is large by pub standards with solid, hearty dishes that appeal to everyone. An all-day breakfast butty for £5.45 is a notable inclusion while other well-priced favourites like Cajun chicken quesadilla with skinny fries (£5.95) and a grilled halloumi and aubergine burger with tomato salsa (£7.95) are delicious. The Spice of Life is also a great place for traditional nosh like chargrilled ham and eggs, fish and chips, burgers or a steak sandwich - all a bargain at under 8 quid - or mussels, falafal flatbread or mackerel fillet if you fancy something a little different.

The Drink
The prices are admirable for an area renowned for being overpriced. You can get a small glass of white wine from £3.10 (and from £11.95 for a bottle) and pints from the £3 mark. Beers on tap are limited to Heineken, Kronenbourg, Erdinger Weiss and Fosters plus some McMullen real ales, but in bottles you’ll get Corona, San Miguel, Tiger, Budweiser, Becks and the more unusual Kaliber and Newcastle Brown Ale.

The Last Word
For bands, burgers and well priced beer this Soho stalwart is a must. After all, if it's good enough for Bob Dylan and the Sex Pistols.

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