The Bar Italia was founded in the winter of 1949 by Lou and Caterina Polledri. The couple was originally from Piacenza and already have opened another café in Covent Garden a few years earlier.
Right from the beginning Bar Italia has become extremely popular and act as a fantastic social centre for the Italian community.
The design of Bar Italia was state of art for that period. It has been renovated 3 times, however the Polledri family tried to keep every detail and leave the bar looking very similar to the first day of the opening.
The red and white formica is an important part of the Bar. Original pieces remain from 1949. The Gaggia coffee machine, for example, has been there for 60 years now.
Nowadays Bar Italia is a legendary place in London. You can have a cup of morning espresso along with Rupert Everett, an old friend of the Bar or any other celebrity. This is a really special bar that connects all types of people while enjoying the cup of real italian coffee.
In November 2010, it was announced that Dave Stewart and Ian La Frenais were writing a stage musical about the cafe which will be called Bar Italia. Stewart was quoted as saying, “This coffee shop is very small but what goes on in there is as big as the world.”
What makes it so special?
“It’s not just the wonderful coffee, the warm greeting or the atmosphere. There is something unique. Coffee making Is a ritual handed down over the centuries. Here you feel the history and when you order a coffee in Bar Italia you are participating in the millions of rituals that have taken place there over the years. So perhaps that’s why it is like no other coffee bar because here you become part of that timeless institution that is Bar Italia.”
Louie Salvoni – Manager of the Bar