Wild Wiley’s At The Depot

Charleston, West Virginia

Wild Wiley's At The Depot - Charleston WV Dive Bar - Exterior

Field Rating

7

out of 10

If Charleston had a dive bar Flatiron Building, this would be it.

The Basics

430 W Washington St
Charleston, WV 25302

Connect

 Yelp

In Short

Almost impossible to find online and shaped by the railroad track that runs along the building, Wild Wiley’s at the Depot is about as local as it gets for a Charleston, West Virginia, dive bar. A pair of locomotive murals inside and out carries the theme in a slender, triangular, hole-in-the-wall dive bar that caters almost exclusively to locals and regulars at the noted tradeoff of slight intimidation to first-time visitors.

Field Note

There is a certain level of dive bar romantic appeal to a location so notoriously difficult to research that only a handful of sources pop up at any variation of the bar’s name. Such is the case for Wild Wiley’s at the Depot, not to be confused with Denver’s Depot (a past name) or Wild Wiley’s at South Street (a fellow Charleston bar that may or may not be open).

Scant online details aside, unmistakable is the bright blue mural on the side of the Wild Wiley’s at the Depot structure depicting a locomotive in theme with the train tracks that run next to the building. The sign above the door still reads “Denver’s Depot” and a depiction of a railroad crossing sign flanks the entrance to the bar. The adjacent train tracks give the Charleston dive bar its shape, the structure aligned diagonally to the tracks in such a way that creates a slender triangle of a footprint.

Wild Wiley’s at the Depot is without a doubt a dive bar that embodies the ‘everyone looks at you when you walk in’ stereotype.

Wild Wiley’s at the Depot is without a doubt a dive bar that embodies the ‘everyone looks at you when you walk in’ stereotype of neighborhood spots like this one. Because the space is so slender thanks to its triangular shape, all eyes naturally gaze toward the front door from ancient bar that runs the full length of the Charleston dive bar’s main room. Wood paneling runs behind the bar but the walls give way to white paint punctuated by wooden beams in a sort of Germanic ski lodge way.

This reviewer’s visit involved a sparsely attended set of obvious regulars arguing over the actions of an unseen set of fellow Wild Wiley’s patrons. The lone bartender was naturally part of the conversation, dispensing the seldom drink in between adding useful details to the story. If the scene sounds like really any typical neighborhood bar, that’s the point, and it’s a point that doesn’t require a Facebook page or Yelp review to make clear.

The room terminates in, you guessed it, another mural with a locomotive theme.

Padded seats flank the bar rail and low tables surrounded by folding chairs fill in the interior space. A long row of gaming terminals underneath a string of NASCAR posters represents the center of gravity for many of the locals and regulars at Wild Wiley’s. The other center of gravity is no doubt the pool table that takes over most of the scarce square footage inside. The room terminates in, you guessed it, another mural with a locomotive theme. The floor plan bends with the building into a secondary space that looks to fill up only on weekend evenings.

Physical attributes aside, it would be difficult to imagine a neighborhood bar more focused on Charleston neighborhood regulars than Wild Wiley’s at the Depot. Difficult to find online, nestled in a low traffic corner of Charleston, lightly intimidating outside and a bit more intimidating inside, the authenticity of the experience is unquestionable. That kind of authenticity maybe isn’t ideal for every first-time visitor, but as far as unassuming spots for a domestic beer, it would be difficult to beat Wild Wiley’s. Or Denver’s Depot. Either one. Or Both.

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