Naturists, swingers, goths, dude food: all best avoided for mum on her special day, we suggest. But all present on London’s eating and drinking scene …


Mother’s Day is a very important opportunity to thank mothers for all they have done, the sacrifices they have made, and the loving and caring they have given over the years.

So here are some venues best avoided if you want to give mum a good time:

La Bodega Negra

With its dimly-lit, concrete-encased basement vibe and the spicy Mexican food, including duck tostaditas, BBQ octopus, steak and sweetbread tacos and tequila cocktails, LBN is not screaming Mother’s Day. Then factor in the entrance, which is seedy Soho at its old-school best, illuminated by a crappy light, with a sign to a sex shop and, on entrance, a cabinet full of sex toys and an imposing figure with a clipboard. The cramped interior with a piano tipped over on its side is just plain unsettling – wide berth for mum, we suggest.


Cheese sauce-melting, chilli sauce-splashing, burger-juice wiping MeatLiquor may not be mum’s thing either. The music pumping out might induce a migraine, the garish nightclub interior, festooned with horror-inspired murals of hybrid animals, might induce nightmares, and the cocktails list and deep fat-flooded dude food might induce a heart attack. Well, perhaps, palpitations. Definitely, at least, heartburn. They don’t do dover sole or risotto or a glass of chianti and the queue outside may possibly set off the bunyans – or at least a sense of disquiet. It may be that mum is an old rocker at heart and thinks she could handle it. Nope.


At Rio’s in Kentish Town you can get a cocktail, or even a cup of tea and some nice bar snacks. You can treat mum to a house massage and even some sundry spa experiences. It costs to get in, so be aware of that. Oh, it is also for naturists. This may be a tad uncomfortable for some, especially later on (it’s open all night), when the more broadminded among the guests begin to freely express their devotion to each other, and maybe even the nice person they just met sitting next to them in the hot tub. If mum and dad want to go on their own, every Saturday is couples night. (Sadly, there have been no reviews of the food from Coren, Rayner et al as yet.)

The Hobgoblin

AKA The Dev, as in Devonshire Arms, and London’s premier goth and metal hangout (“Snakebite and black, mother?”) for those in the know. There is loud music and some seriously surly metalhead bar staff. You can find the right evening for thrash, power or death metal, whichever genre mother is particularly keen on. And there’s pinball and arcade machines if she tires of shouting over the music. Maybe this dirty dive bar is worth a visit when the old girl’s not around, as regulars talk of people rocking out in the old-school way. Like, totally rad, dude!

Dans Le Noir

Oh we know mum’s up for a laugh, but eating in a restaurant in pitch-black darkness with ‘surprise’ dishes, well, it’s not the kind of relaxing fun mum is after. Yes, it’s a sensorial experience but then so is the Nemesis at Thorpe Park but you wouldn’t take her to that for her special day. Past experience tells us that mum doesn’t want to play Guess What It Is Your Eating, and how can she rubberneck all the other guests in the complete darkness? Another time, maybe.