-

On Anon does do exactly that. It goes on and on and on and on. It's a labyrinthine venue on the tip of one of those slice of cheddar buildings arranged around Piccadilly circus, designed to offer the twentysomethings a one-stop night out. You enter at street level from backpackers hell at the beginning of Shaftesbury Avenue, walk through a sad-looking patisserie perfumed with the smell of stale beer and idle desperation, and then you climb.

 

Upstairs it gets better. There are several different bars to choose from - all themed - think changing rooms without the MDF and you've got the idea. There's the Lounge, the Loft, the Club - with obligatory dry ice, strobe lights and music until 3am - and the Study - a rather dire, low-ceilinged place with Chesterfield sofas, mock flock wallpaper and Berni Steak House art in gilt frames.

 

On the top floor there's a dark, sombre room decorated like a sweat lodge - if a sweat lodge had a bar and was full of the snogging young. The furniture has more fringes than a sixties girl group and it's all very camp in a log-cabin, homespun, Moose-head sort of way. Up another staircase is the rather fabulous Booth Bar which has tall, curvaceous, velvet banquettes curled around windows overlooking Piccadilly circus. The whole place is like visiting Chessington world of adventures except you don't ride through it strapped into a carriage, screaming. Well, not out loud anyway.

 

Perched on a stool in the self-styled New York Loft I feel like one of those dreadful women mothers warn their sons against, but I'm only here for the bar food, not the babes. Though as you'd expect - this is not fine dining. It's fry dining. You'd be hard pressed to find anything on the menu that hasn't been refreshed in hot fat before serving. However, as one who hails from the country that deep fries offal and calls it culture - let he who is without fat cast the first chip.

 

We ordered the 'char grilled' lamb koftas which had been inexpertly reheated all the way to tepid, looked awful, but tasted all right. Then we had some green chicken coconut kebabs which were good and some corn and crab cakes which really, really weren't. Everything came with its own little ramekin of sauce - or accessorised flavour - lest the food failed to have any of its own. We also had potato wedges seasoned with the paralytic drunk in mind - six Moscow mules and I guarantee that you would still be able to taste the salt.

 

I'd like to tell you about the mini sausage and mash but it never arrived. Neither did the plate of Spanish cured meat, which despite repeated enquiries, also failed to turn up. The large, ebullient party of local government officers sitting next to us had similar problems with their food, some of which took ages to come and later appeared on my bill.

 

Otherwise, there are sandwiches. cod and chips in newspaper, deep fried scampi with fries (served in a basket, of course) spring rolls, samosas, falafel which look like shot puts and houmus - the Middle East's gift to grazing. All we need is Yasser Arafat and his bring-your-own tablecloth and you've got a picnic. No wonder the young drink.

 

My friend Rose asked for a mint julep - but they didn't have any mint which the barman quite rightly thought pretty vital. Instead she had a nasty concoction called a Venetian which tasted like strawberry squash and had the kind of weak kick that Barbie gives Ken when he wears her high heels. (Oh come on - you know/italics/ he does.) I had a couple of extremely competent martinis, painstakingly mixed by the able, willing, but overworked bar-tender. Staffing is clearly a problem. There aren't enough waiters, and those they have were probably still in Barcelona a week ago. I dread to think how they cope on the weekends when the place is full.

 

On the plus side, for curiosity value alone - should you speak Spanish and have time on your hands - there is no entrance fee, no door policy, there is a dance floor - and the drinks are reasonably inexpensive for central London.

 

Frankly, though, I'm beginning to tire of the single life. The husband has been away for the last two weeks and to ease the monotony of his absence I rashly arranged to go out almost every night. Who knew socialising was this exhausting? I usually get up at seven and cycle off to whichever tube station I've abandoned the car at the night before, but this week I've been sending the children to school in a cab and going back to bed. How did I survive my nocturnal twenties and still hold down a full-time job? Looking at On Anon's clientelle of slim, bright-eyed beauties, wreathed in cigarette smoke - I wonder how they can knock back the booze for hours on end and still manage to look drop dead gorgeous.

 

I just look drop dead.