In the latest attempt to make the billion-dollar Midtown development Moynihan Train Hall happen, train service Amtrak has launched full bar service inside its shiny new travelers lounge on the upper level of the sprawling transit station.
It’s a far cry from the sad bags of chips and burnt coffee that travelers up and down the East Coast find in-transit on busy routes between cities like New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston. Inside the rail hub, the bar is stocked with wine, cocktails, and beers from local breweries including Five Boroughs Brewing and Brooklyn Brewery, according to the company. Throughout the day, La Colombe coffee, salads, sandwiches, and “complimentary snacks” will also be available. However, not everyone will get to partake: The Metropolitan Lounge — where the bar is located — is open seven days a week only to higher-tier Amtrak customers, including those with first-class tickets, and customers who buy day passes to the lounge.
In the year since Moynihan Train Hall — an expansion on Penn Station, Midtown’s subterranean transit center that is best known as the worst train station in the country — debuted, it’s been drawing in fancier food businesses to try and position itself as a place that travelers don’t want to avoid at all costs. Along with pints from Brooklyn Brewery, diners can grab Blue Bottle cappuccinos, Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, and smoked salmon sandwiches from NYC’s 50-year-old bagel legend H&H Bagels, which opened an outpost at the train hall in December.
Before the rise of the new transportation hub, Penn Station had started shutting down a range of food options below in the old basement space, including a Shake Shack, at least two Starbucks, and a Godiva chocolate boutique. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has previously announced plans late year about plans to expand renovations at the station, possibly spending up to $7 billion, to improve NYC’s infrastructure.
Eventually, the transit center is slated to include a full market and food hall, plus “three signature restaurants showcasing the best cuisine in NYC,” according to information on Moynihan Train Hall’s website.