The converted garage along a rutted brick side street in Irvington might not look like much from the outside. Just a hand-painted sign propped against the concrete block exterior marks it as the home of Coal Yard Coffee, a funky lair of leather chairs and mismatched tables with an industrial edge that started life as the 5547 Project art gallery. Owner David Jackson introduced a coffee shop to the space last fall, but oversized oil paintings and photos still line the walls—the frames themselves works of art, made from salvaged wood and disassembled pallets found around the city by Jackson’s first business, Allied Logistical Services.
Open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Tuesdays), Coal Yard is more of a coffee lounge than an early-morning caffeine-dispenser, with free Wi-Fi and soft music accompanying the barista’s stirring and steaming in the kitchen. Pour-over coffees featuring a rotation of local roasters and espresso drinks like the house-fave flat white are sent out in metal-handled glass mugs, and trendy cold nitro-infused coffee is on tap.
But mainly, Jackson wants his customers to stay awhile and soak up the artsy vibe of his self-described “community venue” as they sip their iced yerba mate lattes. To that end, he hosts First Friday art shows, Sweet Jazz Thursdays, and Second Sunday music matinees—some events accompanied by food trucks parked outside. “The whole thing,” Jackson says, “is built around a place for people to come, meet the artists, see them at work, and hang out.” 5547 Bonna Ave., 929-1297