A Jamaican flag flew above the entrance which led down to a basement bar and into a fug of ganja smoke that only dispersed when the weather was good and the door was left open. During summer months you could smell the place 50 metres before you got there, opposite the Bulgarian embassy, en route passing one of the city’s biggest police stations, cops walking in and out, guns in holsters, on the hip, and, if you overshot and reached the end of the road, you could always drop in for a thirst quencher at Major Zeman’s pub, an old school hostelry populated by beer soaked veterans of Bohemian renown. Major Zeman himself was a communist era TV cop along the lines of 'Who loves ya baby?' Kojak or the dirty raincoat of Columbo.
Reggae, as we referred to it, attracted a diverse crowd - from student to wide boy to suit and punk; from hippy to tourist to housewife to displaced African and Arab - and on one particularly memorable occasion a foxy, uniformed policewoman showed up, gun in holster, on slinky hip, whose dyed blonde hair beneath her cap and scarlet lips momentarily silenced the raucous, irreverent rabble of spliffheads. Not even Tom the French Dog, who usually sniffed around every female to cross the threshold, tried to chat her up. She casually drank a small beer from a lady’s glass, nodded as if to say ‘nothing untoward here’, then left. We never saw her again, although we wanted to, but she most certainly became enshrined in Reggae’s legend and during lulls in conversation someone always brought up that heart-warming episode.