Ever since we visited Vytopna Railway Restaurant in Prague — a joint which serves you beers via miniature train — we've had a notion to do something similar in London.
But now, a pub in Forest Gate has gone one better. The Holly Tree — reopened in October 2019 — has an electric 7 ¾ gauge train, which punters can ride on at selected times at weekends.
Robert Thomas is the man behind the idea. He's been buying up and renovating London boozers since 1985, under his Remarkable Pubs brand. With a love for vintage transport (Thomas claims to have introduced double-decker sightseeing tours to the States), maybe it was only a matter time before he did something like this in one of his pubs.
Says Thomas, "I came into this garden and I sat down I looked around, and it was the most boring space. I thought 'it needs something to make it more interesting'. And it's so big I thought 'well, we could start get a train in there,' you know?
"So that's what we did."
Though Robert does like to operate the train, he might not necessarily be your driver when you visit (he'll probably be busy buying up another pub). The train takes up to three passengers at a time, and there'll be a small fee (as yet undisclosed) to take a trip.
We predict big things for this beer garden come summer 2020 — although hopefully not involving crowds quite as big as those at say, Waterloo or Euston.
The Holly Tree, Forest Gate.