Metro-North's bar cars, built in 1973, were beloved by many a New York-Connecticut commuter. The cars sold snacks and drinks, both alcoholic and not, and in recent years, their number has declined dramatically as trains were replaced with newer, sleeker models. Back in 2008, 19 trains ran daily with bar cars, and fans even set up a Twitter account to keep track of which trains the bar car would be on.
But after today, riders on the New Haven line will have to stock up on their snacks and booze before they board the train. Tonight, the last four daily commuter train bar cars left in America will go on their last ride before being replaced with newer cars (bartender not included).
The bar cars have been something of a unicorn for many Metro-North riders. I've taken the New Haven line to and from CT for 11 years and have only stumbled upon a bar car once. It was filled with middle-aged men, their shirtsleeves scrunched to their elbows as they played dice, shot back gin and tonics and loudly barked insults at each other. In short, it was magical. Tipplers can still bring booze on board, as the MTA didn't win the teetotaler battle and with revenue from platform bar carts totalling $6,733,000 last year, they're definitely safe for now.
Amtrak’s cafe cars, at least, are still in operation. They might not have the boozy, mingling charm of the 1970s-era bar cars. But they’re still in business—and they're some of the best seats on the train, if you can snag one.