It's finally here, the day we can all go back to pubs and restaurants and raise a glass outdoors with friends! After a long miserable winter of takeaways and sobriety it'll be great to meet up and make merry again.
But if you forgot to plan ahead you'll likely find that everything's already fully booked because everyone else had the same idea and space is limited. How gutting to be stuck at home today while all your mates are wide-eyed with alcoholic glee and uploading group selfies to social media.
That's where the brand new Cafe Bus Stop M comes into its own, welcoming lucky patrons to a cosmopolitan beer garden amid the glamour of roadside Bow. Top quality food and beverages will be available at extremely reasonable prices, served at dainty tables in the shadow of a medieval church, and best of all tickets aren't yet in short supply.
Pop-up bus stop cafes are the perfect response to the pandemic, conveniently located for the local population and easily accessible by public transport. And Bus Stop M is more perfect than most, cut adrift on an island behind a cycle superhighway so safely segregated from any heavy breathing pedestrians on the pavement.
Better still Bus Stop M has an exceptionallyelongated footprint, ideal for laying out a lengthy string of distanced chairs and tables. Chefs and bartenders will operate from the ventilated shelter at one end while punters quaff their ales and enjoy their snacks at the other. The experience will literally be street-food-tastic.
Food can be selected from a wide range of burgers, chicken dishes and potato-based sides. Salads and spicy veggie wraps will also be available, along with our signature hot apple pie for afters. Just tell us what you fancy when you arrive, or preorder using the bespoke Cafe M app and we'll have it ready.
If the menu looks familiar that's because we're sourcing our hot food from the nearby McDonalds drive-through. Installing a kitchen beside the A12 proved too challenging so instead a crack team on mopeds will collect your selection and ride it 200 metres up the pavement, safe in the knowledge that all our tables face the other way so you'll never see them doing it.
As for liquid refreshment all kinds of sparkling soft drinks will be available as well as the very finest siphoned tapwater. We have alas been unable to obtain a licence to serve alcohol, but have stashed a case of Becks under the bench in the shelter so will be pleased to slip you a surreptitious bottle on request.
Cafe Bus Stop M is just one of a number of TfL-funded temporary hospitality venues across the capital. Also opening today are the Roding Valley Restaurant, Trattoria Emerson Park and the New Addington Beer Terrace, all taking advantage of underused outdoor space and recouping valuable commercial income for a beleaguered public organisation.
Londoners can also enjoy a bottomless brunch on Blackfriars Pier, a Goblin-themed cocktail bar on platform 3 at Gospel Oak and an alfresco pizzeria in North Greenwich on the cablecar's upstairs terrace. Demand for the cordon bleu restaurant at the as-yet unopened Custom House Crossrail station is expected to be high.
But the capital's premier outdoor refreshment location this week is undoubtedly Cafe Bus Stop M, whose dozen tables are sure to attract the most influential diners. Book now to reserve your seat and don't forget to bring your foodie friends. Just remember not to arrive by bus as regrettably services will be non-stopping for the duration.
Why waste your first day of freedom by getting a haircut or visiting a freshly-opened non-essential shop? Make your way instead to Cafe Bus Stop M and don't be deterred by a forecast maximum of nine degrees and the threat of snow. Wrap up warm, bring your vaccine passport and head to Bow Road for the unlockdown experience of a lifetime.