Hey, there! Log in / Register

No bar cars on commuter rail, but harried downtown workers could soon grab a bottle or six-pack at South Station to go if board approves

The Boston Licensing Board decides tomorrow whether to let a company that already runs a mini-packie in New York's Penn Station open a similar liquor kiosk in the South Station commuter-rail waiting area.

Land of Beer says it sees a good market in hard-charging downtown workers who get out late but want to come home with a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer without having to detour to a more traditional liquor store before they get home.

Nearby Leather District residents expressed concern about grab-and-go alcohol contributing to South Station's existing problems. At a hearing today, board member Liam Curran expressed concern about people creating ad-hoc bar cars on their rides home. Transit Police and the T itself wrote the board to vehemently oppose the idea of alcohol to go in South Station.

Land of Beer attorney Marci Costa said the kiosk would have several measures to ensure the 480-square-foot store doesn't increase public drunkenness: It won't sell nips or singles, all the bottles and cans will be behind the counter and there will be a security guard. Also, she said, the prices will discourage brown bagging: A bottle of wine that would go for $12.99 at a conventional liquor store will set commuters back $18.99, she said.

She added that in response to Leather District concerns, Land of Beer has agreed to scale back its originally proposed closing time from 11 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Costa said the station area hadn't seen any issues with the to-go drinks offered by the Tavern-in-the-Square mini-bar during the pandemic.


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!


In the 90s when I was a regular train commuter out of Penn Station it was common and accepted for the 9-5 crowd to grab a beer in a bag to drink on the long slog home. There was no problems that I recall. Depressed and tried office workers would sip quietly as they watched their lives slip by out the window of the train.

The western European model of "booze good, guns bad" seems to be a whole lot more effective at keeping people safe and sane than American's inverse approach.

Voting closed 85

You can get beer, wine, and mixed drinks as you watch the planes take off and the tourists wave to you from the harbor cruises. The boat is, as they remind you, an MBTA contracted vessel. A Notch tastes good on a late summer afternoon.

Commuter rail - Why not?

Voting closed 67

Plan to do a round trip on a Friday afternoon this summer. My office is a block away from the docks, and two blocks from South Station

Voting closed 17

It's not just accepted, and you don't have to brown bag it. On the LIRR and Metro North, drinking is 100% legal. The only restrictions are after midnight on weekends, and on certain holidays like New Year's Eve. They even had railroad employees selling drinks on the platforms until a few years ago, but now you have to go to one of the many convenience stores in the station.

Voting closed 20

I enjoyed the option to brown bag on NJT back in the 90s, too, and think it should be the same here.
I never saw much of a problem that came from that. Much bigger problems from sports fans or concertgoers getting on late evening or weekend trains completely smashed.
The proposal and some of the points of contention, however, are pretty stupid.
1. Leather District concerned that grab-n-go in the station will somehow bring the quality of the neighborhood down? They need to back up that assertion with cause
2. 50% markup over common retail!!!??? Being touted as a plus?
3. No singles?
If you're going to allow drinking on the trains, why would you make them buy more than a single post-work beer that isn't likely to impair most people's driving?
Why would you make them buy greater quantities, which increases the likelihood of drinking more and impaired driving?
If you're going to allow drinking on trains, how would stop them from buying less and/or less expensive at any store on the way to the station.
If you're not going to allow them to drink on the trains, why the hell would anyone pay a premium to give themselves something extra to carry that they can't use? They can get it cheaper and more conveniently at/near their destination.

Voting closed 35

used to have a barrel of singles in ice at the register. They were tasty sitting in Morrissey Boulevard traffic on a hot summer afternoon. I only stopped in there to play the lottery, because I heard it was a lucky store.

Voting closed 20

Bar cars were a fixture on the New Haven line (first for the original New York, New Haven and Hartford, then MetroNorth) between Grand Central and New Haven until 2014, when the original trains that had them were falling apart; MetroNorth planned on reinstating bar cars with the delivery of the M8 trains, but that hasn't happened because the MetroNorth claims it's expensive to retrofit the trains.

Voting closed 29

I have always felt that the Commuter rail was missing a good revenue source by not having drink service on the end-of-the-day trains. I've seen it work perfectly in Japan.


Voting closed 36

Sitting on the train at the end of a long day, sipping a beer.

Charge like a $2 "T beer convenience fee" and use it to keep people from falling through stairways to their death.

What's not to like?

Voting closed 47

Who's Liam Curran working for here, the people or someone else?

Because last time I checked, since Prohibition ended, South Station and its environs were not the only place in the city where once can purchase a bottle of wine or a six pack prior to boarding a train, so if people were really serious about boozing it up on board, they'd be hauling thirty racks into work each morning. Which they don't, because adults know how to behave themselves without a "concerned" nanny micromanaging them and people weren't staggering around in an alcoholic haze even when there were actual bar cars.

Voting closed 25

Menu here. The train uses the same equipment as the MBTA commuter rail. It would make sense to introduce similar service on the T's longer lines (Providence, Worcester, Fitchburg, Newburyport, and Rockport).

Voting closed 31

Get to South Station, board and rack the bike, and sit back with a beer while the landscape shifts from urban to suburban to maritime.

Great way to end a summer week by heading south.

Voting closed 28


Voting closed 18

I'd say a sizeable percentage of commuters through North Station pass near or right by The Boston Public Market, where you can pick up locally produced goodies for standard prices.

Headed to South Station? BWX on Devonshire has a full selection of nice stuff.

Voting closed 20

thus demonstrating that we are not mere booze barons, but members of the Entrepreneur Class.

Voting closed 21

"Don't worry, this is just for the rich, we'll still treat poor people drinking in public like shit."

Voting closed 16

My dad told me stories about Mohawk Airlines' Gaslight Service. He never mentioned the five cent cigars, but he did say that on a Friday, heading home from a job meeting in Syracuse or wherever, they would have a washtub full of beer on ice right at the hatch, and you could just take whatever you wanted. Made for a jolly start to the weekend according to the old guy.

Voting closed 14