Most people tend to go home, put their feet up and maybe get some rest after taking a 8 1/2 hour flight, but not me! The second I landed in London, having just returned from a short visit back home to Delhi, I rushed over to Notting Hill Gate to my friend Leslie’s place for a home cooked meal prepared by the talented Mr. C2.
After dinner, exhausted and running on fumes, I dragged myself along with the others to this place on Portobello Road called Mau Mau Bar. Right away I have to say, I loved the vibe in this place. It had a genuine bohemian/one love/hippie atmosphere, which I have to say is rare in this city. The place was full of an eclectic mix of colorful characters – from full-on P.I.M.P.S (right down to the hats and fur coats), to friendly Rastafarians (massive dreadlocks and all) and even a few “It doesn’t matter how old I am because I’m still 18 where it counts” hippies. And then there were the 8 of us who were standing right in front of band, swaying to the beats for hours.
Mau Mau has live music most days of the week, but Sunday was really something special. It was a Jam Night and basically anyone and everyone was encouraged to come up and sing with the resident Reggae (and I dare say, by their musical style, Jazz) collective “The Hard Way”, who had some great self-composed numbers of their own. Over the course of the evening we were treated to some soulful numbers, amazing bass solos and funky reggae beats. Tired or not, I couldn’t help but get on my feet.
Last, but not least, another thing about this place that I genuinely thought was awesome was their cover charge – where other places might enforce a 5-10 Pound cover in order to ensure a profit, or maybe demand a one-drink minimum, Mau Mau Bar asks each of its patrons to bring along a can of food as a cover, which they distribute to the homeless of the city. Of course, they won’t refuse you entry if you forget to bring one along, but it is an amazing idea, and just adds to the atmosphere that the proprietors have cultivated.
I’m almost wary of sharing this experience, because the last thing I would want to happen to a special place like this would be for it to be over run by the uber-touristy crowd or by people who just like the idea of being bohemian. There used to be places with a similar vibe in my home city of Delhi as well, and over the last couple of months before I left I noticed that they became flooded with people who just seemed to want to go there because it was “the place to go”. For those who frequent such places, its hard to see them lose their character or have their flavor drowned out my noisy inconsiderate masses. But, if you genuinely enjoy a relaxed and chill out atmosphere and some nice reggae music, I recommend you check this place out. I doubt you will be disappointed.