After Hours

Mark Thomas
Sunday 18 September 2011 09:57

'I don't drink because I'm very bad at it. I get drunk really easily, but also I'm around it all the time and I've got really tired of drunks. So I go to coffee houses. The best one is the Olive Tree, 11 Wardour St, London W1 (071-734 0808). They do the meanest falafel and hummus there, and the guys who run it are really lovely. They have the Morning Star and the Guardian laid out, and it's OK to sit for hours at the wobbly tables.

I don't go to clubs, but I often go to see bands at the Academy and the Fridge in Brixton, people like Carter USM and Sonic Youth. My favourite restaurant is Fungus Mungus in Battersea Park Rd. They show Elvis films on the wall one frame at a time, have Jimi Hendrix on the PA, or sometimes a live band, and loads of lava lamps, smiley faces and penis gourds scattered about. It's not totally veggie but the food really does depend on how stoned the chef is. One night the waitress told us that dessert was duelling wah wah pedals in puff pastry or gingerbread flamenco dancers. Another good place is the Friendly Inn in Chinatown. It's cheap and cheerful and the waiters immediately say 'No credit card, no credit card]' when you come in. I like that. The seaweed's good, but really it's just fried cabbage. The clientele are just a notch above your sprawling Saturday night Leicester Square drunk. A thin notch.

I'm on the road a lot, but one place I'll always make a detour for is Brick Lane and the bagel bakeries, London E1. My other favourite place is Leicester Forest East Service Station on the M1. It hasn't been ruined like Watford Gap, which has been badly chromed. There's no Granary or little pots with croutons in. Clean toilets, a game zone and food you can eat - you don't end up buying pasties from the petrol station.'

Mark Thomas, comedian, plays the Almeida Theatre with Barry Cryer, 24 Jan

(Photograph omitted)

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