The Most Unique Subway You'll Never Get To Visit

Tucked away in a nondescript neighborhood in Virginia, just around the corner from the local bank and post office, is an entirely unassuming Subway sandwich shop. At first glance, it seems like every other Subway in the country, except you will most likely never be allowed inside. But even if you could visit it, you probably wouldn't want to. This Subway is in Hogan's Alley, the most crime-ridden town in America. According to the FBI, Hogan's Alley is "a hot bed of terrorist and criminal activity" where "mobsters, drug dealers, and international terrorists lurk around every corner." 

But it's not what you think. This Subway is located on the FBI Academy's training grounds in Quantico, Virginia, where it feeds the nation's newest law enforcement recruits and FBI agents. Named after a bad neighborhood in a popular 19th-century cartoon strip, Hogan's Alley has been in use since 1987, per Atlas Obscura. It serves as a realistic set where FBI recruits can develop their skills and incorporate tactical and defensive techniques into real-life scenarios. 

To make it as realistic as possible, the entire town was designed with the expert help of Hollywood set designers, and includes just about everything a real town would have, from a coin-op laundromat to a pool hall. Actors are hired to reenact any number of situations new agents may encounter in their line of work, including terrorist attacks, bank robberies, gunfights, and criminal interrogations.

The Hogan's Alley Subway is part of the FBI Academy's training grounds

While most of the town's businesses, from Hogan's Bank to the Dogwood Inn, are fake, the Subway is real. "If you're in the middle of training, it's a long way back to the main academy building," Rich Kolko, a retired FBI agent, explained to the Wall Street Journal. Rather than walk all the way back to the main building for lunch, they decided to open up their own sandwich joint inside the training grounds.

In the early days of Hogan's Alley, the lunch hotspot, called "Pastime Deli," was run by the same contractor that managed the cafeteria inside the academy. However, eventually the Subway franchise took over management of the restaurant, and now it serves the same menu as any other Subway in America. Customers can purchase any foot-long sub they desire, with an added side of getting the opportunity to witness hired bad guys robbing the nearby bank. 

However, this Subway's customers are limited to FBI agents, law-enforcement officers, and actors. According to Atlas Obscura, Hogan's Alley is not open to the general public, and that includes the Subway. If anyone does happen to wander near the fake neighborhood, they are warned away by a large caution sign, which reads: "Law Enforcement Training exercises in progress. Display of weapons firing blank ammunition and arrest may occur. If challenged please follow instructions."