We all know that it’s bad etiquette to eat on public transport, and Boris put paid to mid-journey boozing when he banned alcohol on the network back in 2008. But there are still plenty of opportunities for transport-related eating and drinking across town, from tube-themed drinks to pizzas on a bus.
These are London's best transport pit stops, helping inject a bit of TfL into your teatime...
This secretive subterranean bar in Soho’s Kingly Court occupies a space which used to be an air-raid shelter, but to all intents and purposes it’s now a slightly worse-for-wear closed tube station in post-war Britain. It has been designed with advice from London Transport Museum and comes complete with tube carriages, sandbags, wartime posters and stairs that look like an escalator. Music is of the jazz and swing ilk while the drinks list has a ‘dig for victory’ theme with cocktails featuring potato, peas and beetroot. The food stretches to snacks and sandwiches (including crisp sandwiches).
Cahoots, 13 Kingly Court, W1B 5PG
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What’s big, red and serves pizzas? That will be Big Red, a decommissioned number 30 bus which has found a new lease of life as an Italian bar and restaurant. It launched in 2011 and has now got a permanent spot on a disused plot of land off Deptford’s Church Street. Hop aboard the converted double-decker for pizzas and pasta dishes served at your seat, or take a place in the garden area alongside it if there’s no room.
Big Red, 30 Deptford Church Street, SE8 4RZ
One converted double decker bus serving pizzas is apparently not enough for a city like London. With the launch of The Crust Conductor earlier this year — also in south London — we now have two. This one sits alongside Brick Brewery under railway arches near Peckham Rye station and is run by the man behind nearby pub The Gowlett, which itself serves rather good pizzas. A wood-fired oven has actually been fitted into the ground-floor of the bus itself, along with a DJ area and cocktail bar, while the eating happens on the upper deck — it really is meals on wheels. Serving times coincide with when Brick Brewery’s Tap Room is open, usually Friday evenings from 5 to 9pm and Saturdays from midday to 9pm.
Crust Conductor, Brick Brewery, Arch 209 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL
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The Underground Supperclub
Enjoy dinner on a decommissioned 1967 Victoria Line train at these regular pop-ups at Walthamstow Pumphouse Transport Museum. Chef Alex Cooper — formerly of Mayfair’s Sketch restaurant — is cooking so the offering promises to be pretty slick, but the real treat is to be able to eat your dinner on the tube without getting a single look of disgust (hopefully). Don’t tell Boris, but you can even have a drink. Be warned that these events sell out very quickly.
The Underground Supperclub by Basement Galley at Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum, 10 South Access Road, E17 8AX
Covent Garden’s cute BB Bakery isn’t transport-themed as such, but it does offer guests the option of taking their afternoon tea atop a moving London bus. Be prepared to embrace your touristy side if you decide to hop aboard the vintage Routemaster, which takes you on an hour-and-a-half round trip from Trafalgar Square taking in Buckingham Palace, Royal Albert Hall and Marble Arch. Tickets cost £45.
BB Bakery, 6-7 Chandos Place, WC2N 4HU (bus tour departs from Northumberland Avenue just off Trafalgar Square)
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Upper Deck Café Bar
Set above the London Transport Museum shop, you won’t find anywhere more in touch with the capital’s transport heritage than here. As well as gazing over buses and tubes galore, enjoy colour-coordinated tube-themed cocktails (try the Metropolitan Mix made with sloe gin and berries), roundel-shaped ice, and moquette covered seats based on the pattern used on the Northern line in the 1930s.
Upper Deck Café Bar, London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB
The Old Shoreditch Station
Well, this one does what it says on the tin. Set on the corner of Kingsland Road and Old Street, this café and bar used to be the old North London Line station which closed in 1940, before much more recently being taken over by the Jaguar Shoes Collective. Interestingly, if you look out on the way to the toilets you can still spot the original staircase which led to platform level.
The Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Road, E2 8DA
Pop-up supperclub troupe Gingerline was one of London’s very first immersive dining experiences when it launched back in 2010. What they do and where they do it varies and is kept top secret until a few hours before the event starts, when guests get a text revealing the location. Until then all you know is that it will be somewhere on the Overground’s East London Line. Upcoming event The Secret Island promises to merge art, theatre, food, design and time-travel, but — given that it’s a secret — we don’t really know what that means.
Gingerline, secret locations
Know of any more transport-related eating or drinking spots? Let us know in the comments below...