The bright neon signs advertising, ahem, adult entertainment outside La Bodega Negra in Soho may confuse innocent tourists, but, for those in the know, they mark the entrance to the trendy Mexican eaterie. The signs were designed by in-demand New York artist Serge Becker and, according to the restaurant’s owner, are a homage to the history of an area previously infamous for sex and sleaze.
However, Westminster Council are less concerned with the scandalous history of the West End quarter, and feel that the signs are aesthetically damaging to an area that boasts five grade-II listed historical buildings. The council have applied pressure in the past on Soho’s actual sex shops to take down their neon signage in an attempt to clean up the area’s image, and they have ordered the restaurant to take their signs down for the same reasons. However the owner has sworn to fight the plans, citing soho’s colourful past as a reason why they should stay. Katie Forster
What do you think of the signs – cool and wacky or cheap and tacky? Decide for yourself at La Bodega Negra, 16 Moor St, W1D 5NH.