With black walls, cold air, and people you don’t necessarily want to fuck with, Coal Yard Bar is aptly named. Despite being relatively new, it feels like it’s been there forever and works as a great First Avenue get-away. No one’s there you don’t want to see and neither is anyone you do. It’s almost worth a duck just to avoid the Indian Food Row hecklers across the street.
Coal Yard’s the sister establishment to International Bar, located a few blocks up the street. The resemblance is palpable, mostly in that the drinks are cheap and the place is not that dirty—at least it seems that way, as most everything inside is black. There’s no TV, no games, no alternate forms of entertainment besides the jukebox, so it’s really up to you to have yourself a time. The bar takes up most of the space, though the room is quite large. It lines the right side, wrapping into the wall towards the back. There are few alternate seats. It is a bar, after all. The vibe is pretty no-nonsense.
And so are the prices! Their happy hour is killing it. Four bucks for a shot of Evan Williams and a Rolling Rock, and the same for most fancy drafts. On any given hour it’s $5 for said shot/beer combo and drafts. Three dollars for only Rolling Rock and other cheap American beers—most on draft are $2 before eight, and $3 after. Wells run around $4, neat.
Basically Coal Yard is a great anytime bar. In the summer, it’s cool. Winter, warm. The backyard is kind of prison-like (gravel and cement-block square with lots of backward ventilation, which is a little weird), so don’t expect too much. What you should expect are big drinks, cheap prices, and funny people. Go before you go out. It’s perfect for the novelty of hanging out with creepy old bikers and kids wearing band shirts all at once. Plus, if you get hungry there’s always the McDonald’s next door.