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Gay Hussar – the left’s London canteen – goes up for sale

The legendary London "canteen" of left-leaning politicians and journalists, the Gay Hussar in Greek Street, Soho, is up for sale. The 60-year-old restaurant, which specialises in Hungarian cuisine, famously enjoyed the custom of figures such as Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot, George Brown, Ian Mikardo, Barbara Castle, Roy Hattersley and Charles Clarke.

As befits its past as a hotbed of political plotting and gossip, where fact, rumour and fiction has so often been exchanged at lunch or dinner over its Hungarian cuisine, news that the business was up for sale first spread quickly through Twitter. Mark Seddon, a former editor of the Tribune, whose journalists were early settlers at the restaurant, tweeted: "Can’t believe Gay Hussar restaurant to be auctioned. How about a ‘diners co-op’?"

The Gay Hussar was established in 1953 by Victor Sassie, son of a Swiss father and Welsh mother. He trained for the restaurant trade partly in Hungary and opened his own establishment, the Budapest, in London in 1939. During the second world war, he worked for British military intelligence, and one Robert Maxwell after it. Sassie, who died in 1999, sold The Gay Hussar to the Restaurant Partnership in 1988. The current owners, Corus Hotels, and agents Christie + Co were caught on the hop by the leak on Friday about the proposed sale of its leasehold with a guide price of £500,000. Bids close on 5 December.

Simon Chaplin, Christie + Co director, said the restaurant, which has 12 permanent full-time staff, had a special place in the political history of London. "Whilst its infamous days as the venue where various political machinations took place may be behind it, it is still today one of London’s most unusual and popular restaurants. With this, and its unique history, we anticipate a great deal of interest."

source: The Guardian

gay – itt vidám, jókedvű (régi jelentése a szónak)
to be up for sale eladó
to enjoy the custom of – valaki vendége, vásárlója egy étteremnek, boltnak
as befits – ahogy illik (kicsit régies)
hotbed – melegágy
to plot – összeesküvést sző
gossip – pletyka
rumour – mende-monda
fiction – kitaláció
to auction – árverezni
‘diners co-op’ – vacsorázók szövetkezete
to establish – megalapítani
establishment – létesítmény
military intelligence – katonai hírszerzés
current – jelenlegi
to be caught on the hop – váratlanul éri valami
leak – szivárgás (itt információé)
guide price – irányár
bid – ajánlat
permanent – állandó
infamous – hírhedt
machination – fondorlat
to anticipate – számít valamire, vár valamire
interest – érdeklődés


1. The Gay Hussar was established by people who had no Hungarian origins whatsoever.

2. The restaurant is still popular with left-wing politicians and journalists.

3. The Gay Hussar will be auctioned due to the death of the original owner.

4. The proposed sale came to light earlier than the owners intended.

5. The restaurant is not expected to fetch a good price at the auction due to its unique history.

answers: 1-T 2-F 3-F 4-T 5-F

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