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How to Drink on NYC Public Transit

How to Drink on NYC Public Transit

A definitely unsanctioned PSA not even remotely brought to you by the MTA.

Even when commuting, the train can be a civilized way to travel. Avoiding the traffic of the roadways, it allows for the (discreet) imbibing of an adult beverage. The days of rolling raucous bar cars are largely behind us, but there are ways to enjoy sips while shuttling from one station to the next. All aboard.

1. Pick the Right Beverage

No need to plan ahead. Most major rail stations have at least one option for picking up a beer, wine or cocktail before boarding. While not always a robust selection, there’s often enough variety to fit mood, weather or season. Don’t get stuck in a rut; switch things up from time-to-time.

Take your trash out illustration

2. Leave No Trace

If you bring something onto the train, make sure it’s coming off with you as well. Don’t leave your empty cans or bottles behind on the seat. No one wants to hear them rolling around, or step in a puddle of India pale ale. There are receptacles on most commuter trains, so use them or carry the empty home for your recycling bin. No exceptions.

You May Also Like: How to Master the Art of the In-Flight Cocktail

Be Polite illustration

3. Be Polite

Most veterans of rail imbibing will tell you that train staff are willing to look the other way so long as drinking passengers don’t get rowdy or overly flaunt their private happy hour. Maintain your composure, keep the music in your earbuds, don’t get chatty with those around you. Enjoy the drink and the scenery flashing past your window.

Conceal Your Choice illustration

4. Conceal Your Choice

Train imbibing is not a label-out situation. There’s a reason the in-station shops wrap the can or bottle in a paper bag. Some rail operators have rules against eating and drinking on board. You’re not fooling anyone with a paper-wrapped 19.2-ounce can of beer or the burgundy-colored liquid visible through the straw of your Stanley.

This article originally appeared in the May 2024 of Wine Enthusiast magazine.

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