• Trackside Bars, Hotels, and Restaurants in New England

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by RedLantern
After seeing the successful thread in the New York State Railfan forum section (6 pages so far!), I got to wondering what we have in New England.

This is any establishments open to the public (i.e. not private clubs like VFWs, etc.) where a railfan can grab a beer and watch some trains (legally). This should be limited to bars or restaurants (serving alcohol) where you can see the trains from the premises of the lounge or outdoor patio area, whether the place is railroad themed or not.

Off the top of my head, the only places I can think of are:

The Tap (Haverhill, MA) It's a microbrewery serving their own hand crafted brews as well as a full food menu, their back patio section has a great view of the Merrimack River bridge, it even has a bar (against the railing, nothing is served outside) where you can sit facing the tracks with an unobstructed view.

There's another bar (I can't think of it's name) which is right next door to The Tap, which also has an outdoor patio with a great view of the bridge, they have a regular beer selection, but their patio area is much smaller than that of The Tap

Carlin's (Ayer, MA) This is right at the MBTA station and has an outdoor patio area (smoking deck) that faces the tracks. I've never been in there, but it does seem to have a rough reputation.

The billiard hall (upstairs) across the street from Ayer Station is a great place, there's a window next to the bar which gives a great view across the street at the station area as well as straight down the yard lead into the yard. When I'm railfanning in Ayer and it starts raining heavily, I'll usually end up here, and many times I'm not the only railfan there. They also have some great historical railroad (and electric traction) photos on the walls.

Anybody else?

I'm not looking to get drunk, just for nice places to grab a beer while out wandering around New England watching trains (I don't like to miss anything). We can start another thread for places that don't serve alcohol, this is just a way of narrowing it down.

Once we get a decent number of locations, I'll edit this first post as we go so we'll have a one-stop list of places organized by location to keep in mind while we're out searching for trains (and getting thirsty after a long day of hanging out by the tracks). I know from experience that nothing sucks more than to spend all day by the tracks, then to find a watering hole and to hear a distant train horn knowing there's no chance of getting out of there and back to the tracks in time to see anything.
Last edited by Jeff Smith on Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:44 am, edited 3 times in total. Reason: Dusting off this old topic and broadening the scope
  by TomNelligan
Great topic! I'm sure there are a whole bunch of places that qualify, but the first one that came to my mind was the Bank Street Roadhouse on Bank Street in New London, CT, about a block from the station, which has good barbeque, good beer, and a great view of the Northeast Corridor line that runs right behind it from the rear of the room or from the outside deck.

Closer to home, the Sports Depot restaurant in the Allston section of Boston (and in the former Allston station of the Boston & Albany) should in theory have a splendid view of B&A action, but only a few of the seats have a view out windows facing the tracks, and that view is often blocked by a line of parked freight cars.

And while it's not a bar as such, my favorite place for simultaneous beer consumption and train-watching is the Harbor Yards minor league ballpark in Bridgeport, where Bridgeport Bluefish games are accompanied by a steady procession of Metro-North and Amtrak trains on the embankment immediately beyond the outfield wall.
  by NNR
Peter Ryans in westbrook CT right off exit 65 on a dead end road the bar is the old station the foot rest under the bar is a long piece of big rail even have an old pot belly stove tons of railroad memorobilia
  by bridpath
Beverly Depot has a fine bar on one end (Beverly, MA). Railroading is limited to the 'T' but it's frequent and regular.
  by RedLantern
bridpath wrote:Beverly Depot has a fine bar on one end (Beverly, MA). Railroading is limited to the 'T' but it's frequent and regular.
Hey, an F40 or a GP40 is still a locomotive. I know I'm one of the few that still gets the camera out whenever the T runs through Ayer.
  by tom18287
pearl street station in malden, right on the purple line and orange line. trains go by every few minutes. it sounds better than it looks, because subway is kinda boring imo. youre inside and you hear the rumble, and thats pretty cool.

great food too
  by Rockingham Racer
I agree with Tom Nelligan; great topic. But why do I have a sneaky feeling that we're not going to get a long list...........
Right now, I can think of zero locations.
  by MEC407
Champions Sports Bar
15 Thornton St
Biddeford ME 04005
Located inside the old B&M passenger station
  by Steve Zuppa
The back deck of Sarah's Cafe in Wiscasset, ME overlooks the Maine Eastern track (former Maine Central Rockland Branch),the remnants of the original Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington trestle work, the Sheepscot River and the location for many years of the Hesper and the Luther Little.Not much activity but at least Maine Eastern's passnger schedule is predictable.
  by ProRail
The "Sports Depot" right along the main line of CSX in Allston, MA. Trackside seating available upon request.
And its in the old Allston Depot for the Boston & Albany.
You can see it right along side the Mass Pike just before the Allston Brighton Tolls heading eastbound into Beantown.
Its located at the west end of Beacon Park Yard.
  by michael_m_rubino
In Lowell, the Trainview Pub comes to mind. Although, I have never been a patron, it is against the the tracks on 1018 Gorham St.
  by b&m 1566
Stockyard Restaurant in the Brighton section of Boston, MA has a limited view of the old B&A tracks. At one point the restaurant had an old stainless steel passenger car as part of restaurant but was removed when they remodeled the restaurant. The place serves excellent food and beer and if you get a view of the tracks then your golden. Off topic: Does anyone know if the passenger car was scrapped on sight or sold and now resides someplace else?
Fabyans Station Restaurant & Lounge in Bretton Woods, NH (owned by the Mt. Washington Resort) is another place with good food and beer. Unfortunately train service is limited to one train a day for a three week period from late September to early October.
Those are the only two that I can think of right now!
  by TomNelligan
b&m 1566 wrote: Off topic: Does anyone know if the passenger car was scrapped on sight or sold and now resides someplace else?
Scrapped on site. It was a former New Haven lounge or grill car.
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
Fabyan's in Twin Mountain NH at the entrance to the Mount Washington Auto Road. Located in the former Fabyans station, the restaurant is to the left in the former waiting room, the bar (oops!) the lounge is to the right in the former baggage room. You have to plan your visit to coincide with the Conway Scenic run, which comes in about twelve feet from the building.