Comptons of Soho

 
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Male-dominant Soho institution
Cruisy and casual two-floor pub attracting mostly non-perfumed guys, including leathermen in day wear (or in leather), bikers and bears. Comptons is mildly reminiscent of the now-defunct and much-missed Earl's Court pub the Coleherne, but not quite as convincingly sleazy. In short, vanilla in the rough. And with attentive barmen. Upstairs bar is decidedly more decorative and sit-down/relaxed. The pub is consistently busy, with men often spilling out onto the pavement smoking area (with heating lamp above), which provides an optimal view of the catwalk that is Old Compton St. Managed with aplomb on and off between 1998 and March 2017 by popular guv'nor Neil Hodgson, whose attention to detail included a carpet woven for Comptons from a pattern used aboard the Titanic and sister ship the Olympic. Hodgson left London, but the carpet remains (up on the first floor). The building, which dates from 1890 and which was damaged during the Second World War, originally housed The Swiss Hotel, which then became The Swiss Tavern and, in 1986, Comptons (originally with a bar down the middle dividing the room into two spaces). Nearby compatible watering holes include the King's Arms and the less cruisy (and more loud and friendly) Duke of Wellington [see entries]. In May 2017 Comptons changed hands, now under the domain that also includes nearby 'competition' the Duke of Wellington, the King's Arms, Admiral Duncan and Rupert Street [see entries]. Increasingly, and possibly down to the corporate links, the Wellington and Comptons appear to share clienteles. In June 2017 the hugely popular Monday deal — £2.50 for most drinks, from 5pm ― shrank to a mean minimum, limited to various spirits and the not so gay-popular Carling lager. Leather Alert: monthly, friendly and cruisy all-ages Leather Social [see entry], started up by Simon Allen in early 2013, meets every first Sunday from 5pm until 10.30pm in the upstairs bar.

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