How To Have A Drink On A Vintage Routemaster Bus

M@
By M@
How To Have A Drink On A Vintage Routemaster Bus
A red double decker in a beer garden with a blue fever tree gazebo to the right

Beer gardens are a rarity in Zone 1. But a beer garden with a genuine double-decker bus must be unique.

That's the little-known attraction at the Old Bank of England pub on Fleet Street. Head round the back of this sturdy McMullen pub and you'll be confronted with a genuine vintage Routemaster.

A red routemaster bus in a beer garden

It's not just a conversation piece, either. Provided it's not closed for a private event (like when our mate Harry launched his Routemaster book here), you're welcome to climb onboard the bus and enjoy your drink at one of the tables — upstairs or downstairs. You can even order food to eat on the bus.

On the upper deck of a bus, fitted with tables. Five people sit around, smiling at the camera, not quite knowing that I'm going to use this in an article

One question everybody has is "how did they back this thing into here?". The beer garden gates seem too narrow for the antique vehicle. The answer is that it had to be craned into the courtyard. Which also means it's probably sticking around for the foreseeable future.

A six-year-old girl in a lilac roundel top sits on the top deck of a bus drinking orange
Little Londonist enjoys a top-deck orange juice

If there's no room on the bus, the pub itself contains one of London's finest bars. Set inside an old banking hall, over two marble-clad levels, this has long been a cherished drinking spot (formerly as a Fullers pub, now under McMullen).

To 'ride' the bus, simply turn up, buy a drink or food, and take your seat. No booking or tickets necessary (or possible). To hire the bus for a private event, see the Old Bank of England's website.

Bus in a beer garden
A dummy bus driver sitting in a cab, seen from below

All images by the author.

Last Updated 01 September 2022