First Call: Are the Yard's Beer Lockers Worth $250?

No, but do go for a Dark & Stormy.

The Watering Hole: The Yard, 8313 Greenwood Ave. N., 588-1746, GREENWOOD The Atmosphere: Half a dozen couples, a pair of drunken beer-festival castoffs, and one guy named Robert Zwirmer, who really hopes Seattle Weekly Arts Editor Brian Miller will give him some freelance work, crowd around the polished wood bar at The Yard, Greenwood's newest beer and cocktail mecca. Old soul wafts through the speakers, and the flawless 80-degree summer weather instills an urge to consume cold booze at a reckless pace. Down the hall near the bathrooms are a set of about 50 small lockers, accessed by key. Sold at a rate of $250 per year, these lockers come with a 20-ounce mug which can be filled with beer at the same price that normal patrons pay for a 16-ounce pour. Doing the math, one would have to drink about 892 beers to make that a good deal. The lockers are sold out. The Barkeep: Matt Coughlin is a veteran mixologist at The Dray, The Yard's oppositely spelled sister bar in Ballard. Now he works at both locations, where he finds no greater joy than "discussing the finer points of beer." The Drink: I once lived in Key West, Fla., a small, rum-soaked island that's as far south as one can get in the continental United States and as far removed from mainstream society as one can get and still earn a living. In Key West—as I suppose is the case in all Caribbean-bordering sailor's ports—the folks drink a cocktail called a Dark & Stormy. And while it's not an uncommon drink among landlubbers, when I asked Coughlin to mix his favorite drink and he came back with a Dark & Stormy, I was giddy with nostalgia. To construct it, Coughlin started with a quaff of homemade ginger beer. Next he topped it with two hefty pours of Gosling and Bacardi dark rums. And finally he squeezed in two juicy limes and stabbed a straw through the ice cubes for convenience. The Verdict: Dark & Stormys occupy a strange niche: manly enough for sailors and fishermen, yet girly enough for bachelorettes and moms. In Coughlin's D&S, the citrus of the limes and the tang of the homemade ginger beer sharpens the dull slap of the rum into a margarita-esque pucker- producer. Combined with the three tacos I ordered for dinner (yes, the place oddly serves Mexican cuisine), the experience was nothing short of flawless. But I'm still not convinced a $250 beer locker is a good deal.

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