Once open fields, Soho is now the lively centre of London - restaurants, coffee bars and streetlife go on until 4am. It's London's gay epicentre, but all the lively people are here, whatever their denomination. Pedestrianised at key times, it's safe despite the clamour. There are three distinct areas. The southern strip is Chinatown (Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus), full of chinese restaurants, supermarkets and shops - a small but tightly packed area. East Soho (tube: Leicester Square) is centred on Old Compton Street and includes the red light zone (intersection of Brewer and Berwick Street) which is shrinking rapidly, most of the liveliest bars and coffee bars and many of the private drinking clubs. Brewer street is lined with delicatessens and organic supermarkets - also Japanese shops and eateries. West Soho (Oxford Circus or Picadilly Circus) is most famous for Carnaby Street (tacky - but one block east of it is very smart) but also includes a warren of restaurants and record shops to the south - an area that is worth exploring.