DC’s upcoming Metro Bar lets you drink inside old Metro train

A rendering of the new Metro Bar in Northeast D.C. (Courtesy Metro Bar)
WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Metro Bar (Part 1)

Eating food or drinking beer on the Metro is a surefire way to get kicked off.

However, in a few months, you’ll be able to do just that with all of your friends.

Behold, the new Metro Bar in the Edgewood-Brentwood area of Northeast D.C.

“I was hanging out with one of my business partners…dreaming about what makes D.C. great,” founder Jesse Rauch told WTOP. “There’s nothing that connects all eight wards better than Metro…When you have a couple glasses of whiskey you think, ‘Where do you go from there?’ Next, we said, ‘What if we could buy a train?'”

Turns out, the timing was right with Metro looking to unload some old trains.

“Metro was disposing of the old 5,000-series,” Rauch said. “What happens with old Metro cars is they’re often sold for scrap, so Metro might have to pay someone to move them. … We were able to buy these cars from Metro for something that was reasonable. We’re keeping something out of the landfill and giving it new life.”

The 75-foot train car will seat 50 people with plenty of additional seating outdoors.

“It was the first series to have the red and blue seating,” he said. “It also had that awful red carpet in it — and that was the first thing we removed…Half of the car has some of the original seating that we’re getting reupholstered with tables on them.”

There will also be an automated voice akin to Metro’s “step back, doors closing.”

“The doors will not operate like elevator doors,” Rauch said. “We will be able to make announcements over the loud speaker using a handheld mic. We hope it will be clearer. We want you to be able to hear what we’re saying when there’s a special.”

Of course, the resemblances can only go so far due to copyright concerns.

“You may not get the same door chime, you might not get the same voice, those are still things that belong to the Metro system,” Rauch said. “We did have a conversation with them and we respect what they’re doing, so we are making design considerations to make sure people know we’re not Metro…We’re looking at a lowercase ‘m.'”

The rest of the design will feature the work of local artists.

“We are going for high design,” he said. “We’re looking at some wire spool tables decorated by local artists. We’re working with Trap Bob to do some muraling and art on top of the tables. There will also be containers there that serve as movie screens.”

Metro Bar won’t be serving food from its own kitchen, but it will partner with food trucks and the neighboring food hall, Bevy. More importantly, what’s on the drink menu?

“We’re looking at a really nice menu that will really be focused on what we can find here locally in the D.C. area,” Rauch said. “We’re looking at our local distilleries, our local breweries, our local wineries to make our menu…I can guarantee that the names of our cocktails will be amusing, to say the least, hopefully inspired by our city.”

Just don’t drink too many — or you might feel like the train is moving. Helping to create this illusion is the fact that the bar is located right next to the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Metro station, meaning you can watch real trains arriving and departing.

“There’s going to be a patio built around it, and we hope it’ll be reminiscent of a Metro platform,” he said. “There will be…a good view of the Red Line as it’s going into the Rhode Island Avenue station. You’ll be able to watch a train from a train.”

It’s the latest brainchild by Rauch, 39, who moved from New York to D.C. 17 years ago.

“I came down here to be a third-grade teacher,” Rauch said. “I never gave up my arts roots…That is why I created a competitive karaoke league and why I helped keep Screen on the Green…HBO made a choice to not keep it…We hope to put on outdoor movies in our space, so the spirit will still live if you all know your HBO dance.”

Metro Bar is planning to launch this spring.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Metro Bar (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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