This story about an innovation in street cars in the Czech republic brings back a lot of memories:
Officials at Dopravní podnik města Brna (DPMB) - the company that runs public transportation in Brno, south Moravia - will be converting some trams into traveling pubs... The pub tram has 38 seats and 17 standing spaces, and has been designed to resemble a traditional Czech pub. During operation, passengers will be able to enjoy three types of beer from the Starobrno portfolio as well as hot beverages, soft drinks and food. Those concerned about the immediate aftereffects of beer need not worry, as the pub trams are fitted with restrooms.
Not that I have been on a Brno tram... or in the Czech Republic for that matter. But I have had beer on a train. Which, as far as I am concerned is one of the great experiences available to human kind. And I am not speaking of a can of McEwan Export on the train to Glasgow from my folks hometown. No, my second favorite memory of beer on a train was from Koszalin to Gdansk, Poland in the fall of 1991 when me and my better half were teaching ESL just after the end of Communism. The track wound through rural countryside parallel to the Baltic coast as we stood in a chairless bar car drinking beer and having the chicken lunch which, as was the case throughout our stay in northwest Poland, was always the left leg and thigh. Apparently the rest of the chickens were exported. We stood in cool stainless steel surroundings ducking down every once in a while to watch a cow go by, eating a chicken quarter and a bun, looking forward to the big city, anticipating the weekend as we drank cool fresh lager.
But that was only second best. The best was the bar car in Nova Scotia in the late '80s. Back then there were at least three train lines all long gone each with very short trains down to the single car "Valley bomber" on which in every case there were a few seats designated as "the bar car". In undergrad summers, you could catch the 6:25 pm Friday evening train right after supper and bump along slowly the 60 miles to the nearest city, Halifax, for seven bucks and - once you were in that golden seat - drink your share of Olands Ex all the way to the coast where the train let you off right in the pub district. Or, you could take a three hour trip to your buddy's village where he had a whole house and a real job when he was 24 - including a porch which allowed you to climb up to the roof to watch the evening go buy as the sea roared in the distance as the stereo blasted below.
Or, best of the best, you could take the six or seven hour trip all the way to Sydney and drink with Capers. Capers are, as you should know but don't, Nova Scotians on steroids and they take the train all the way home. In the bar car to Cape Breton, you don't sit in the bar car seat. You shuffle in and out. See, the waiter could only serve you if you were in the seat but, once you've had your beer, you can given another guy a turn waiting standing until it was again your turn to sit. Once on the Cape Breton Friday evening run, I sat with members of the Canadian Armed Forces gun run team. One was in an arm cast as apparently he missed his timing and had his arm snapped by the cannon barrel. Hard guys but gents, we whiled away the trip them asking about university and us asking about the military each looking through the looking glass. One of my favorite memories.