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When Ridership Fell, BART Considered Adding a Bar Car

Plus: a Canadian poutine chain has given up on California

Glass of sangria. Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A 1980s-era BART director wanted to put bar cars on the transit agency’s trains

SF Chronicle pop culture critic turned historian Peter Hartlaub has a remembrance of civil rights leader and BART director Wilfred T. Ussery, who, after ridership fell about 10 percent following a 1987 fare increase, proposed adding “club cars” that served booze to encourage patronage, with sponsorship from a name brand like Marriott or Seagram’s. The idea didn’t fly in ‘87, but Ussery brought it up again in 1993, this time suggesting the agency add extra long trains with a bar on each end. These days, BART ridership is dropping swiftly, but it might take more than a cocktail car to get riders back on board.

Smoke’s Poutinerie has shuttered its Berkeley location

The website for Toronto-based Smoke’s Poutinerie says its goal is “Global Domination,” but that goal appeared to suffer a setback this week, as its last California location has closed its doors in Berkeley. The permanent closure was announced via a brief Facebook post, and a commenter on the announcement noted that a pay rent or quit notice had been attached to the door of the 2518 Durant Avenue location. SF Gate reports that this was Smoke’s last California location still in business — and if we are to assume that the company’s locations map is accurate, the only way you’ll be able to visit a Smoke’s without crossing the border is if you’re at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

Gilman Brewing Company has opened a BART-adjacent taproom

Berkeley-based beer producers Gilman Brewing Company opened its Daly City gastropub and taproom Thursday, in a retail and business park located a block from the Daly City BART stop (or, for the cinephiles in the audience, just steps from the Century 20 movie theater). The 2001 Junipero Serra Boulevard spot is Daly City’s first craft brewery, the company says. Executive chef Kurt Steeber, who previously toiled at Zuni, promises hand-ground beef burgers and calamari that’s butchered in-house — perfect if you’re headed to a midnight showing of It Came From Beneath The Sea.

Postmate delivery workers say their pay has dropped by 30 percent

Delivery workers with San Francisco-based Postmates say that they’re making 30 percent less — for the same number of orders — since the company changed its rates this past May. That’s when, The Washington Post reports, Postmates eliminated a $4-per-job guarantee. The Postmates workers’ concerns echo those of Instacart’s, shoppers for which went on strike earlier this week to protest alleged drops in pay.

A new vegan ice cream startup is making headlines

There are loads on non-dairy frozen treats on grocery store shelves, from the venerable Tofutti to 15-year-old Nada Moo, to the Portola’s own Churn SF, where all flavors are egg-free and several are completely vegan. But publications like the Chron and the SF Business Times spilled considerable ink on Berkeley-based start-up Eclipse Foods, which unlike other brands out there, is backed by folks like Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian and Gmail creator Paul Buchheit and is part of the Y Combinator seed accelerator program. Its Mexican hot chocolate flavor debuts at Humphry Slocombe locations today, giving dairy-free dessert lovers the chance to figure out if VC-backed ice cream tastes as good as the real thing.

Humphry Slocombe

1653B Abbot Kinney Boulevard, , CA 90291 (424) 387-8161 Visit Website

Smoke's Poutinerie

2518 Durant Ave Unit A, Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 540-7500 Visit Website