Throwback Thursday: Go Inside The Retro World Of Grand Central's Bartenders

When we city dwellers think of Grand Central Station, we conjure images of tired commuters, suburban bankers, or those infamous scenes from Gossip Girl. But, it turns out the landmark has a decades-old tradition that is incredibly fascinating — and oh-so-New York. Since the days when Grand Central wasn't much more than a seedy reflection of the city's gritty (and dangerous) periods, a corps of dedicated and jovial locals have been tending bar for commuters. Esquire recently hit the tracks to get the stories straight from the sources, and what they found was a hilarious and insightful slice of Big Apple history.
The veteran bartenders — mostly heavily-accented middle aged men from the Bronx — have seen it all, literally. From sharing the tracks with passed-out drug addicts during the crime-ridden '70s and '80s to tossing back scotch after scotch in smoke-filled club cars with the Don Drapers of the era, they served up a ritual for tri-state commuters.
Of course, now that the 'anything goes' mentality has faded — and Grand Central has been buffed and polished into a shining beacon of tourism — barkeeps are more apt to see hijinks in the form of investment bankers blowing off steam with a secret Coors Light (or three) before they head home to their families in the 'burbs. In fact, while the group of bartenders hesitates to out their loyal customers (most of whom keep their train-imbibing habits from their partners), they are quick to admit that rush hour's biggest lushes often come from the most exclusive enclaves of Westport and Greenwich. Color us surprised. (Esquire)
o
Photo: Via Esquire

More from New York

It’s called the city that never sleeps for a reason. On any night of the week, New Yorkers are enjoying a cocktail, a dance party, a special meal, a ...
This may be news to you, but living in New York is kind of expensive. But, while it may always be the land of $17 cocktails and unmentionable rents, the ...
We won't call this list definitive, because rooftops are, after all, all about spontaneity. And, with three summer months to get your toes wet (literally ...
Just because you aren't wearing "short-shorts" doesn't mean your dress qualifies as office-and-everywhere appropriate. In fact, a short dress can be more ...
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to eat roasted guinea pig in Flushing, Queens. Oh, is that not how the Statue of Liberty poem ...
The West Village may get all the attention as the fancy foodie haven of New York City, but that’s just fine for the East Village. All that means is that ...
Appetizers are nice and entrées are essential, but we adore dessert. For real — we feel about ice cream and cookies and brownies the way Liz Lemon feels ...
(Paid Content) When a movie like Disney's Queen of Katwe comes out, you know award season is upon us. The inspiring new film has all the makings of an ...
The only thing more depressing than the end of summer is the number of days between now and the next long weekend. We know: All you want is to sit by a ...
The Lower East Side may be best known to you as the home of rowdy, rollicking nightlife, but that adventure extends to the food scene as well. Restaurants ...
Is there anything better on a Saturday afternoon than a spicy Bloody Mary and some simple — but delicious — bacon and eggs? Didn't think so. Brunch is the ...
You've probably heard about how gritty Soho was back in the '70s and '80s, when artists flocked to the downtown 'hood in search of affordable living and ...
As New Yorkers, we take our pizza seriously. Whether you prefer thin-crust or deep-dish, extra sauce or more cheese, simple-and-plain or loaded with ...
Bars are as bountiful as Starbucks in New York City, but there are a few that raise their drinks — and their dishes — to an art form. So don’t just settle ...