Oh so Soho!

The hipster mini barrio of Soho Benita is not one to miss on your next trip to Sevilla

A FEW years back even a Sevilla policeman couldn’t have told you where to find Soho Benito because this artsy bohemian district didn’t exist.

Today it’s a thriving artisan community and a testament to the entrepreneurial flair of local merchants and craftsmen who formed a collective to fight the financial crisis by reinventing their neighbourhood.

Taking inspiration from the magnificent mushroom-shaped Metropol Parasol which has revitalised nearby Plaza de la Encarnación, they created a new shopping and dining district, christening it Soho Benita in a nod to the trendy districts of London and New York.

Now this atmospheric mini barrio is giving the posh stores in Calle Serpes, the city’s principal shopping street, a run for their money.

On the outskirts of the Alfalfa neighbourhood, this unique collection of around 20 independent fashion shops, hotels, restaurants and bars covers six streets (Golfo, Perez Galdos, Don Alonso el Sabio, Ortizo de Zuniga, Santillana and Jose Luis Luque).

Recently tipped as a must-place to visit by the New York Times, a modern art gallery, a nail salon and a traditional barbers are among the gems to be discovered.

The newest arrival is the RecoVeco restaurant on Calle Ortizo de Zuniga, opened just this year.

The Spanish ‘heritage’ eatery promises traditional and seasonal Andalucia dishes but with an avant garde twist – and all in a superchic setting… the perfect place to treat yourself or loved ones for a night.

The luxury restaurant is connected to Unuk Soho, a four-star hotel which arrived only last year.

Obsessed with the use of the latest technology, the accommodation also boasts an eco-friendly philosophy and salt water pools which look over the iconic Giralda bell tower.

At the end of Calle Perez Galdos is Milk Away, a great vegan-friendly cafe managed by a group of friendly women, offering fantastic smoothies, paninis and salads and a range of natural and vegan chocolate products.

Other eating options include the great little pizzeria La Mia Tana and cuban restaurant Habanita, both on Perez Galdos.

For a drink or cana and tapa al fresco, head to Bodega La Aurora, a traditional Spanish bar which has been standing since 1913.

After dark you’ll find mucho ambiente in Calle Perez Galdos which attracts a young crowd and is always abuzz with revellers and students.

In the daytime on the same street you can get your dose of culture at the Delimbo urban art gallery.

The entire barrio is a constantly-changing scene, crammed with colourful street art, art book shops and boutiques selling trendy t-shirts, hipster fashions and one-off designer creations, depending on who is exhibiting at the time.

Independent fashion shops like Isadora and La Importadora offer a great selection of clothes made by young Spanish designers, many of them from Sevilla.

The latter also sells furniture and artworks by local designers and artists.

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