Bar Italia – a Visual Update

I’ve been going to Bar Italia in Soho’s Frith Street for decades now, probably since the 80s. Recently, a Facebook ‘memory’ came up reminding me that ten years ago I had a solo exhibition of my photographs there. The theme was Urban Illusion – a series of street abstracts shot around Soho.

Paola hanging the Urban Illusion exhibition at Bar Italia, 2013

A paramedic checking out my exhibition

The exhibition was a life changing experience for me; not only did I feel I’d reached a creative goal but as a result also met a wonderful man – Stephen Moon – who happened to love my photos before he even saw me. We fell in love and got married a few months later!

Mish & Stephen, Venice Biennale, 2019. Photo by Albano Rossano Sanavio

I’ve gathered together some of the photographs I’ve taken more recently at Bar Italia, including portraits of several regulars. This is an ongoing project, especially now that lockdown is over and I am back to people-watching again.

It’s also three years since Covid pandemic really kicked off in London. In March 2020 during one my final outings to Soho pre-pandemic, I was sitting having a coffee at Bar Italia and was offered a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a “random act of kindness”.

Still Life at Bar Italia

Like many others, I had to forego my coffee-going ritual for a while when everything shut down.

Bar Italia’s iconic Rocky Marciano poster under wraps whilst the Cafe was closed during Covid, June 2020

Since then, here are some of the things that have caught my eye whilst hanging out at the cafe:

The iconic clock and blue skies, January 2023

Long Hair at Bar Italia, September 2022

Socks and Tiles, November 2022

Platinum Jubilee, June 2022

Window and reflections following the death of Queen Elizabeth ll, September 2022

Street Abstract featuring signage and portrait of Bar Italia family – son and father Anthony and Nino Polledri, 2023

Next a few compositions which include parked bikes and vehicles outside the cafe:

Sam on her tricycle , September 2022

Delivery, November 2022
Santa delivering, December 2022

More people:

In the centre, Bar Italia co-owner Anthony Polledri and friends, October 2021

Soho George being greeted, December 2020

Brunch with my sons, April 2021

Soho George in Monochrome

Me and Stephen reflected, April 2022

Retro roll-up, June 2021

Musician Ray Gelato, October 2022

My cousin musician Daphne Roubini at Bar Italia on her visit to London, April 2022

Introducing US photographer Karen Ghostlaw and her daughter Milana to Bar Italia, September 2020

Brian, January 2023
Big Al, February 2023

Wayne Kirven and Tommy Pitman, March 2023

Spritz on a nice day, 2022

Vino Rosso – Steve and Mark Baxter having a laugh with Soho George, 2021

Wayne, 2023

Hanging out, February 2023

Bar Italia – a documentary abstract with reflections, 2023

Finally a few shots featuring a couple of the day time staff:

Rainbow wings during Pride, July 2022

Jubilee, July 2022

Luca and customer, March 2023

Rossano, March 2023

Link to a blog featuring old portraits from Bar Italia


Also published on Medium.

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