A 'Monopoly'-Themed Restaurant Just Opened in London
The first Parker Brothers-branded Monopoly games hit store shelves in late 1935, featuring that now-familiar collection of properties, from Baltic Avenue all the way to Boardwalk. A year later, the first foreign edition was published, swapping the Atlantic City, New Jersey locations for streets and landmarks in London, England.
Leeds-based board game company John Waddington Limited was responsible for printing the brightly colored boards, with their Piccadilly and Pall Mall squares. And almost 85 years after Waddington's London board made its debut, there's now a Monopoly-themed bar and restaurant in the capital city, complete with an adjacent 4-D "completely immersive" version of the game.
The Top Hat, which just opened last Saturday, can seat 70 guests in the restaurant and another 40-plus in the bar area. According to Big Hospitality, the bright red booths in the bar were inspired by the color of the game's hotels, and some of the other seating options have been upholstered with reclaimed fabrics from trains on the Piccadilly and Northern Underground lines, because the four train stations on the board are part of those two lines. (The Top Hat is also officially licensed by Hasbro, which now owns the rights to the game.)
"So many of us have fond memories of playing the iconic game, be it with grandparents in our childhood or over drinks with friends in our adult lives," Joseph Smith, the Top Hat's director of food and beverages, said in a statement. "For some, the London version of the board game was their first experience of the capital. We're excited to be part of the journey as London slowly comes back to life and to be opening a hospitality venture that celebrates the city and its wonderfully rich heritage."
The Top Hat's menu focuses on "quintessentially British" small plates, which include petite versions of pub classics like rump steak with parsnip mash and a mini-Yorkshire pudding, Wye Valley lamb, and "miniature fish and chips." (Also, the menu design is a faithful tribute to the classic Monopoly board.)
Guests can also ask for a deck of "Monopoly Deal" cards with their drink orders so they can play a round of the playing-card version while waiting for their entrees, and yes, there's a "Take a Chance" option for anyone who'd like their drink selection to be a surprise.
The Top Hat is located at Monopoly Lifesized, where participants can play a fully immersive version of the game on one of four different massive (15 feet x 15 feet) boards. Players will have to complete "escape room-style challenges" in order to buy properties and — unlike every game of Monopoly we've ever played — there's an 80-minute time cap.
It's probably worth the "Lifesized" ticket price to play the kind of Monopoly that won't end when someone gets into a screaming match with the banker, and won't result in a years-long aversion to the words "Electric Company."