New bistro lets you sip a craft beer in a decommissioned tram parked in Prague 6

The formerly abandoned tram loop has been revitalized and will become a small cultural center for the Dlabačov neighborhood.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 22.08.2022 14:43:00 (updated on 24.08.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

People aren’t supposed to eat or drink on trams. Now there is an exception. A parked renovated T3 tram by the newly restored Dlabačov tram loop in Prague 6 has fixed tables and tram seats so people can sit inside and enjoy a beverage or snack.

In the future, a cultural program including children’s theater, morning yoga, and evening concerts will take place at the site, which is also the terminal stop for the historical tourist tram 42.

There is additional seating around the tracks as well for those who prefer to be outside. Food and beverages are available at a stand called Bistro Točna, with offers craft beer, homemade soft drinks, and a small menu of quiche, curry, and chicken strips.

The cafe so far is only open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., but already proved to be quite popular, especially for families with children who wanted to see the tram controls in the T3’s unlocked front cabin. The new cafe is part of Prague City Hall’s ongoing efforts to revitalize forgotten corners of the city.

T3 tram at Bistro Točna. Photo: Raymond Johnston
T3 tram at Bistro Točna. Photo: Raymond Johnston

“We have shone a light on another abandoned corner and this time we breathed new life into the tram loop. Previously, tens of thousands of people used to stream through here for the Spartakiad, but now the public can come here for culture or just to hang out. The tram loop and the adjacent bridge now have a social and cultural function in addition to their transport function,” Prague City Councilor Hana Třeštíková, responsible for culture, said.

Spartakiads were large athletic meetings that took place in nearby Strahov in the communist era. The last full one was in 1985, though there was a scaled-back edition in 1990 as it had already been planned before the Velvet Revolution.

Inside the T3 tram at Bistro Točna. Photo: Raymond Johnston.
Inside the T3 tram at Bistro Točna. Photo: Raymond Johnston.

The Dlabačov tram loop is one of two that were built near Strahov Stadium in 1948. Since the late 1980s, however, both loops were almost unused and physically decayed. The idea to revitalize them and find a new function came from Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr, responsible for transport, and Prague 6 City Councilor Eva Smutná.

“What I like about the project is that it combines the revitalization of public space, the preservation of a unique staircase and the love for public transport and historic vehicles. This has created a new place for leisure with a unique atmosphere,” Scheinherr said.

The front cabin is open so people can see the T3 controls. Photo: Raymond Johnston.
The front cabin is open so people can see the T3 controls. Photo: Raymond Johnston.

People can also sit with a beverage and do some lazy tramspotting. “During the summer, the historic line 42 stops here and visitors can enjoy historic cars from the Austro-Hungarian era, as well as T1, T2, and T3 cars,” he added.

People can also take a ride on the 42 tram from here after they finish their snack. (Food and drink isn't allowed on the 42 tram.)

“Fans of public transport and people who want to discover the most beautiful places in Prague will enjoy the journey. Now they can also have a lemonade or a beer in a parked T3 car or on the repaired staircase in Dlabačov,” Scheinherr said.

The revitalization is joint project of Prague City Hall, the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP), the Technical Road Administration (TSK), and Kreativní Praha, a registered city institution for strategic planning in the cultural and creative sectors.

Repaired stairs at the tram loop. Photo: Raymond Johnston.
Repaired stairs at the tram loop. Photo: Raymond Johnston.

Petr Peřinka, director of Kreativní Praha, said the project’s main idea was to give meaning to a place that is located in the cultural center of Prague and has not been used for a long time. “We wanted to find someone who could offer a program to the residents of Prague 6, students from nearby schools, but also seniors and parents with children,” Peřinka said.

“Another condition was the offer of quality refreshments and the ability to involve local cultural actors in the event. All this is to fulfill the idea of giving this place a new impulse and offering a new space especially for local communities,” Peřinka added.

The open competition to operate the space was won by Ondřej Kužílek and Jan Řídký. The project, called Bistro Točna, transforms the space of a tram loop into an outdoor bistro that preserves the authentic character of the place.

"We are trying to give the whole space a new touch, but maintain the reference to the original meaning of the place. It is important for us to work with the local communities, the people, and also to have a wider discussion with the relevant authorities. The whole future of the site will depend on them too,” Kužílek said.

Bistro Točna food stand. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Bistro Točna food stand. Photo: Raymond Johnston

“At the moment we are focusing on fine dining and our own brand of beer, but we are planning more and more cultural events in the future. We will definitely focus on further development and we are not stopping with the current situation at all,” he added.

The refrestment stand is operated in cooperation with Kolorit bistro, which focuses on modern street food. It also serves exclusive 10 degree and 12 degree craft beer under the brand name Toćena, made by the Kladno Kročehlavy brewery.

Iconic Prague tables and chairs are used in the project, one of Kreativní Praha’s inputs into the cultivation of public spaces in the city.

Jan Šurovský, member of the Board of Directors and Technical Director of Surface Transport for DPP, said they provided the maximum cooperation with the city.

“We are happy that the tram, which has already reached the end of its regular service in Prague, will find another use in the form of a café and will continue to be of use to passengers. … We have secured the tram in the loop against being run over. I wish the new café many satisfied clients,” he said.

Dlabačov will also continue to serve trams, especially as a stop on the tourist tram line number 42. The transport company has sensitively restored the srructure and had the metal elements painted in the original red color, which historically distinguishes it from the nearby "blue" Královka loop.

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