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Capital Ale House
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
623 E Main St
phone: (804) 780-2537
(Place added by: JAGMAN)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 83 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$$$
Based on a previous visit to their other location and the tap list on their website, I was very excited to visit the downtown location. Unfortunately, my visit turned into a disappointment.
I was pretty surprised and excited to see Three Floyds Alpha King and Robert the Bruce listed on their website's tap list. I didn't see it listed in the bar so I asked the bartender. She said she'd never seen Three Floyds in VA and seemed to think I was crazy. I told her it was listed on their website and she again seemed to think I was crazy.
So I asked for a local IPA on the menu she explained that I was looking at the wrong floor. She added that the beer menu was out of date and said I should probably tell her what I was looking for and she would tell me what they had.
I went with a Ruination IPA. It was nice and fresh but it was a bit pricy at $6.94 for a 12oz glass.
I felt like this visit was a waste but I want to put that aside and give this place a fair assessment. The Capital Ale House has a great atmosphere and a serious commitment to craft beer. By my count, they had 26 on tap upstairs and 14 downstairs. And they had many bottles beyond that.
I'll certainly visit again on another trip to Richmond and hopefully with a different set of expectations, I'll walk away with a better impression of the place.
03-21-2010 12:09:10 |
More by GJ40
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
My boyfriend and I were unexpectedly stuck in Richmond one afternoon, and grousing about where we were ever going to find a bite to eat until we drove by this place. Awesome beer karma!
The selection is truly impressive--they were undergoing renovation when we were there, so only a small subset was actually available, but I was grateful for that because it made the choosing easier! I really like the fact that they support their local brewers in addition to great beers from across the world. We had an awesome lineup of hoppy beers (Nectar IPA, St. George IPA, Gemini Southern Tier, and a Nugget Nectar) with a delicious pretzel with mustard. My boyfriend liked his fish and chips, I was underwhelmed by my polish platter, and the desserts (we had the apple pie) were amazing--solid pub food if a bit pricy for what it is.
Our service was friendly and seemed knowledgeable, for what that's worth. The vibe is a little well-lit! and clean! for a beer bar, but hey, it's nice to have a place you could take the whole family to enjoy beer without having to apologize.
03-21-2010 11:46:39 |
More by lstokes
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
it is pricey but you get an incredible selection and high quality brews
read below to help keep $ in your pocket:
since new year rolled in the best time to visit is on sat afternoon. you can get a pint of very high quality american micro for 2 or 3 bucks (depending on your selection). i will miss the sunday time frame for this activity but , alas, the country is in a mood for "change" eh? be careful for what you ask for i say.
the service is highly variable, but genrally good. they are knowledgable but i don't really want a whole lot of advice in picking a beer.
for snacking get the mussels.
the window seats are sunny and fun for people watching.
01-07-2010 00:41:43 |
More by hedonist
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
When everyone suggests a place, I suggest going. A wide window front to the left with a short vestibule right opening onto the m.d.s. Benches in the windows, benches fronting the bar area, benches running the length of the right wall opposite the bar. The upstairs ar was a long, laminated blonde wood with an ice rail! Two hand pumps, 30 drafts and around 200 to 250 BTs. Downstairs was their game room with a CD jukebox, video game machine, 4 English dartboards, a dark-green felt pool table, a snacking wood bar, and outside a biergarten. To the left downstairs were the lavs.
12-13-2009 21:51:46 |
More by woodychandler
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
This is my second night in Richmond since I moved here, so I felt that I should try one of the best beer bars.
The atmosphere in this joint was very laid back. It was not overly crowded, yet still very busy. I saw many people enjoying great brews, yet also a few people drinking BMC.
The service was perfect. Our waitress knew a great deal about the beer. Every beer was served in a proper glass. Our order was completed quickly and without issue.
Selection was amazing for the area. I had a nice Flanders on tap, as well as a cask Victory Storm King. The bottle list and draft list fit the taste of any beer advocate. No matter what style, there seemed to be a brew to match.
The food here was wonderful. I had Cedar Plank Salmon and it was very nice. The side dishes were filling and also tasty. It may not be on the same level as Goose Island Clybourn, but it was well worth the visit.
Overall, I loved this place. I intend on making it a regular spot when I feel like going out for a brew.
11-26-2009 07:28:02 |
More by raverjames
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$$
I went here randomly with a friend, it was at first a little crowded, but after a few drinks it wasn't so bad. The service was great, the bartenders know what their talking about when it comes to beer. They get your drink to you quick, and they even offer samples for a small fee to see if the beer you want is actually the beer you want.
Probably the most awesome thing about this place is their beer selection. I thought it was a joke when I saw the beer list on their website, but no I was wrong... very wrong. They have a separate beer menu which consists of a whole world of beers just about everything you could think of. The amount of beers they have on tap is just freakin ridiculous, I mean they have a shit ton of beer on tap, and it's not along the lines of Budweiser. More like Stone Ruination and beers of that caliber... They actually don't even have Budweiser. What they don't have on tap they probably have in the huge fridge behind the bar just about anything you could think of.
The appetizers are pretty good, they're not the best, but they're definitely not the worst. The restaurant itself is rather classy, a fine mood set for some of the better entrees. This places quality is great especially for the bar, which is an ice bar so that your beer never gets warm. My only qualm is the prices. The food is modestly priced, but the beer here is rather expensive. I understand that they have quality beer, but it's not a reason to hike up the price as much as they do. What adds to the quality is their specials they have everyday on random things. For example they had a special on Clipper City Brewing company beers and two plates of hot wings for the price of one when I was there which was a pretty decent deal.
10-20-2009 03:33:35 |
More by DooMMonkey
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
Recently visited while in town for work and would definitely recommend a stop into one of their 4 locations. (I visited the Innsbrook and downtown locations.) The more westerly Innsbrook locale had 75 beers on tap of excellent quality and variety, and the downtown site had 48 of extremely nice offerings. The downtown location is in an historic building in the financial district and has nice woodwork & brass accents throughout. The front of the building opens up to the street which is a plus on nice fall days. The bar included a refrigerated metal strip on which to rest your beverage if it requires maintaining a cooler temp. Neither my cask Storm King Stout from Victory nor the Founder's Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale were in need of such technological trappings, but a cool addition none the less. The downstairs bar had some great seasonals on tap and I really enjoyed talking with Sean the bartender. All the staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable about all the beers that were offered and the German wurst was pretty darn good as well. One caveat is that at the time of my visit smoking is still permitted in Virginia restaurants & bars so tread and/or breathe lightly. The quality of the beer is worth the somewhat spendy prices, and I would visit again if I ever have occasion to return to Richmond.
10-14-2009 17:04:31 |
More by veech
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
I go to the downtown Capital Ale House 3 to 4 times a month. I am usually going there on a business dinner and take 4 to 6 other business associates. The beer selection is the best in Richmond. The burgers and appetizers are very good but other menu items are not that great. They advertise a menu of 30 beers on tap but I have found that they are out of up to 50 percent of the on tap menu. This is compounded by the fact that the waiter/waitress does not usually have a clue as to what beers they are still serving. So every time you switch to a different beer a high percent of the time they end up coming back and you have to reorder. They also have great specials during the week. Over all I like The Capital Ale House and will continue to go there.
09-01-2009 18:30:01 |
More by kebrown
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
Well, I had occasion to revisit the downtown CAH this past week and think it's time I give this one another shot. I left the original review notes below, as our first visit didn't leave much of an impression. I was more pleased by far with this visit...
There is a very long bar when you walk in and it has that gimmick manufactured ice thing that you see at Red Square...a Russian-themed martini bar @ Mandalay Bay in Vegas. Nice touch to keep your beer cold...if you need to keep your beer cold. Good woodwork in here. Music isn't bad. I was in here on a Monday so it quickly crowded up for $1 burgers. Clientele was a little mixed - not a lot of beer intelligentsia here. It would be nice to see such a well-regarded place more actively educate, 'cause I saw a lot of people ordering a lot of crap. But that's not their job, so no beef here; it sort of detracts from the experience sometimes, though.
Pretty hard to knock the quality of beer here. Something for everyone. Lots of taps, even more bottles. Only beef is that the head on pours are a little bigger than usual - 1 to 1 1/2 inches depending on the size. If there's no retention it's easy to feel like you've gotten boned on the pour.
Service this round was friendly, effective and knowledgable. This was the biggest plus from our visit (of course, it was the item with the most room for improvement). I appreciated honesty when discussing beers I wasn't familiar with and didn't have a chance to research; our bartender steered me away from a clunker or 2, which I was happy about.
The only food I had was one huge flippin' pretzel. Mustard sauce had a lot of sweetness to it. Baking that much dough left it slightly greasy, but overall it was tasty.
Seems like prices trend a little higher now than I remember. By no means a deal-breaker; it may be perception because a lot of bottles here retail in stores for $10+ so even with a standard 2x markup or so that tag will look crazy on a menu. Drafts weren't as bad, but maybe a little pricey.
All in all, it's a decent stop. For those working in the financial district, it's a great happy hour outlet.
B / 3.64
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 - $$
This place has potential. The bar is absolutely beautiful and the selection is vast, but the place just screams "corporate!" This outweighs everything. Excellent selection and what they had was very good. I found the service to be thoroughly unpassionate about beer and would have gotten more insight from the dishwasher at Applebees. Maybe it was time of day (midafternoon on holiday weekend when we were in town) and there may be more knowledge during prime time, but I didn't see it. Great beer list, no soul.
Reviewed on: 02-12-2008 13:33:12
08-22-2009 16:08:13 |
More by IBUnit63
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
While on a 7 hour drive, I was traveling through Richmond at lunchtime, so my wife and I drove downtown to check out this bar. We were both very impressed. We ended up staying for two hours and delayed our arrival time to our destination, but it was worth it. The place is very easy to find and were able to park on the street right in front of the bar at lunch time on a Monday. [Once we left, we saw signs for parking; it appears they have their own lot behind the building]
It was pretty empty when we got there and it took the hostess awhile to seat us (all we wanted to do was go to the bar), but that was the single black mark on our visit.
It was dark and cool inside, a great relief after being in the car for a number of hours. The bar has a strip of frosty, cooled metal on it, so you can rest your beer there and keep it chilled. It was gimmicky, but very effective. I liked it. The bathrooms were quite impressive; not dirty or covered in graffiti like a lot of places. The sinks have pebbles in them; it looks quite upscale.
The beer selection was great, especially for an out-of-stater like myself. Nearly everything there, on draft and it bottles, is unavailable in Maine. The bartender was very helpful, offering suggestions and complementing us when selected things before she could even recommend them.
We weren't too hungry, so was asked if we could split a sandwich from the menu. Not only was that allowed, but the chef cut the sandwich in two, put half on each plate and gave each of us a full order of fries. I was very impressed with this.
I wish this place was closer, as I have no idea when I'll get back to visit again, but I certainly want to. I recommend stopping in even if you are jsut driving through town on 95, it is well worth your time.
08-20-2009 13:24:09 |
More by ToasterChef
Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA
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