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Capital Ale House
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
623 E Main St
phone: (804) 780-2537
(Place added by: JAGMAN)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 83 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
What a treat the Capital Ale House is! It's a clean, well-run, nicely decorated, fun and welcoming restaurant that offers 40 draught beers and over 200 bottles! The beer menu is well-organized and easy to read, without any misspellings or errors regarding the beers themselves (which is usually not the case!). And the beer is served in the proper glass!
The comfortable bar has an ice rail running down it's full length and it's well lit (not too light or too dark). The bar chairs are comfortable and nicely spaced, and there are planty of cozy booths running down the wall opposite the bar if you'd like to eat. And you should!
The food is quite good, inventive, and reasonably priced. Most of their appetizers, soups, salads and burgers are just $7.99. Start out with the mussels or roasted oysters, or maybe a ginger-lime scallop salad! The Maytag Burger (yep, you guess it - Bleu cheese) is interesting; and the Honey-orange Marinated Duck ($14.99) or Pork Chops Ardennes (w/ mushrooms & ham cream sauce - $18.99) are exquisitely prepared. The pizzas (@$17.95) are great as well!
They have a young, fun, staff that seem like they're actually interested in the beer; and the service is very good. Throw into the mix specials like Free Pizza Night and Steal the Glass Night and you can't go wrong!
10-04-2003 14:48:16 |
More by NeroFiddled
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | $$$
My wife and I stayed at a hotel in Downtown Richmond and this bar was a five-minute walk from there. Nice touch, but downtown in this place is absolutely dead. Easily the saddest center city ever, worse than Detroit.
The place looks like a small-town steakhouse that has faded and needs a renovation, both physical and mental. On a Thursday night, the bar is animated but not crowded. Bartender, however, cannot keep up. Takes forever to get stuff. Everyone looks confused, tired, unhappy. They're busier counting money and closing tabs than serving, and it's only 10pm!
After said bartender takes about four hours to bring two waters, I yell at him, he looks at me confused and we leave for the cool downstairs bar where the nice guy behind the bar has got a full brain and is not running around like a headless, sweaty chicken.
This bartender downstairs really saved the day and night with his cool attitude, friendliness and funny stories. But alas, he cannot save this place from getting a bad score on service.
Beer menu is outdated. On the cover it says, "December 10", I visited on December 9 and inside it said "December 3". Stone Lucky Bastard? Nope. Williamsburg Drake Ale on tap? Nope. On a bottle perhaps? NO! Nice job, everyone. I order three beers and you got NONE of them. Fuck You.
The bar and booth upstairs are whatever, not much class, could be anything. The downstairs area is much better, with a jukebox and darts and young college kids.
Selection... they say they have 30 taps upstairs and 16 downstairs. But who knows? Menus are a MESS! Nice choice of locals, Williamsburg, Starr Hill, Olde Richmond (got the O.R. IPA and a growler of it, delicious!) Some stuff I've never seen, like Epic Brewing in Utah. Also some Belgians and Euros, plus Stone, Oskar... good solid selection, not mind-blowing but good.
Huge selection of bottled beer to go, at absurdly inflated markups. Prices are HIGH in general, even more so for a small dead town like Richmond. The small 12-oz glass is $4-$5, and the large 22-oz is $6-$8.50. Do we really need 22 ounces of beer?? Growlers are $15-$25, plus five for the jug.
If you're at a downtown hotel or whatever, check this place out. There's pretty much nothing else around. And if you live in Richmond, then, well... sorry.
12-12-2010 06:01:25 |
More by DoubleSimcoe
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Stopped by for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon. The place was pretty empty but was beginning to fill by the time I left, around 1145am. Sat at the enormous bar that was equipped with some sort of ice sheet in the middle that keeps all the drinks cold. Never seen that before and is probably useful.
The beer list was enormous. They had about 20 or 30 drafts and over 100 bottles of anything and everything. They had some limited release stuff as well like Bells Double Cream Coffee Stout.
The food was pretty damn good too. I had a sourthwestern chesse burger that was a little overcooked (I asked for medium) but was still good. I would certainly come back again in the future and drink some cold ones.
01-27-2009 20:52:21 |
More by SaCkErZ9
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
The Ale House had been suggested many times over by friends. I walked in not knowing what to expect. We were seated immediately and began to peruse the beer menu. 30 taps, all good to high quality and a huge amount of bottled beers. The service was very good, and the food, well with a $1.50 burger special, it made the night out an adventure indeed. We had Dogfish 120 minute on tap along with several IPA's, Kwak, and a few seasonals.
The non smoking section had no smoke at all, but I did not have time to checkout the room downstairs. Highly recommended.
11-25-2003 02:05:05 |
More by GCBrewingCo
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$$$
Based on a previous visit to their other location and the tap list on their website, I was very excited to visit the downtown location. Unfortunately, my visit turned into a disappointment.
I was pretty surprised and excited to see Three Floyds Alpha King and Robert the Bruce listed on their website's tap list. I didn't see it listed in the bar so I asked the bartender. She said she'd never seen Three Floyds in VA and seemed to think I was crazy. I told her it was listed on their website and she again seemed to think I was crazy.
So I asked for a local IPA on the menu she explained that I was looking at the wrong floor. She added that the beer menu was out of date and said I should probably tell her what I was looking for and she would tell me what they had.
I went with a Ruination IPA. It was nice and fresh but it was a bit pricy at $6.94 for a 12oz glass.
I felt like this visit was a waste but I want to put that aside and give this place a fair assessment. The Capital Ale House has a great atmosphere and a serious commitment to craft beer. By my count, they had 26 on tap upstairs and 14 downstairs. And they had many bottles beyond that.
I'll certainly visit again on another trip to Richmond and hopefully with a different set of expectations, I'll walk away with a better impression of the place.
03-21-2010 12:09:10 |
More by GJ40
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
What could be better than a 28-page beer menu with full annotations? We made Capital Ale House a stop on our trip down I-95, and it was absolutely worth the wait. We sat upstairs (street level) where 30 taps and two hand pumps awaited our decision. Downstairs, an additional 10 taps are available, and there are many, many pages of bottled beers, as well as a page of wines, and, unlisted, three macros.
The food menu was equally pleasing. We each had a vegetable soup - mine a vegetarian vegetable full of chunky veggies, broccoli and chickpeas, and Ds was a thick, creamy chicken vegetable. And for dinner, I enjoyed broiled Rock Fish with asparagus and rice, all prepared with a peppery citrus sauce. He had a fried oyster sandwich on very crusty bread.
But this is a blog about the beer! So, heres what we had (one each with dinner, and one each for our dessert):
* Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (ABV 8%) - I loved this strong ale!! It was an amber IPA with assertive hop, but such a well balanced flavor.
* St. George Winter Stout (ABV 7.6%) - D let me taste this, and it was all about the roastiness A very nice beer.
* Avery - Czar Imperial Stout (ABV 13%) - The more this warmed, the more it reminded me of a barleywine. It was so full of candy flavors and spice, including dark flavors like molasses and anise. It was warm and complex. A fabulous dessert beer that could only be sipped.
* Legend Brewing - Imperial Stout (ABV 8%) - This was Ds dessert beer. I was not nearly as enjoyable as the others because it lacked balance. But I found a lot of pleasure in the unexpected hop aroma and initial hop flavor. It unfortunately didnt blend well with the other flavors (the annotation described it as a food fight in your mouth, but I think its just a small but serious conflict.)
Before choosing our dessert beers, we had already made a decision to share a St. George Cask IPA (5% ABV) - winner of a Gold medal at the 2000 Beauty of Hops English Ale Awards. It was cask-conditioned, and since all cask beers at Capital Ale House only come in 20 oz servings, we planned to share (most other beers come in small and large, so we had smalls (50-cents off each small went to charity that night!)) The unfortunate part of this story is that we missed out on this lovely treat. The tap was kicked and something less appealing was on
Our waitress sent us home with a menu since the menu changes weekly. Well be reading and enjoying for a long time, and looking forward to our next visit (there is a second location, and soon to be a third, so we should get back!)
02-11-2007 16:01:36 |
More by Deuane
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
During a recent long weekend in the Confederate Capital, I spent much time here - three days, three visits. This, the original Main Street location, is very similar to the one in Fredericksburg (See My Review), the only other CAH I have visited. It is a large establishment; the main room, modernistic yet dimly lit, consists of a long mahogany bar that runs its length. Opposite the bar, and along the wall, are the booths, which provide patrons a more private venue for quaffing the 30+ draft beers. Apparently, there is another bar downstairs with later hours. (I did not venture here.) A music hall is adjacent.
As mentioned, CAH Richmond offers 30 rotating taps that run the usual style gamut. Many beers, such as Legend and Starr Hill, are regionally brewed - and, needless to say, hard to find outside the state. Like all Beer Advocates, I always appreciate, and support, the local stuff. The bottle menu was extensive and well considered. The service was excellent on each one of my visits; the servers (Mary, Brochelle and Diane) were professional, efficient and beer-wise. (The same applied to the Fredericksburg site.)
I thought the food (3 lunches, anyway) filling and satisfying. You cannot go wrong with Belgian-style frites accompanied by spicy mayonnaise - c'mon, does anyone use catsup anymore!! Try to stop by on Saturdays, when CAH celebrates "domestic" micros with some pints going for $2.00. A nice price. A really nice place. The best beer bar in Richmond.
08-24-2010 16:15:08 |
More by jjboesen
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$$
Came in twice over the weekend and had a good time both times. The servers that waited on my wife and I were very nice and efficient (hard to say quick when the place is slammed on weekends) and knowledgeable (thank God). They changed beer menus along with some beers every week so the menu I had on Friday was updated/changed when I went in Saturday. They offer very few duds out of the 250 beers there, so that is very nice. And for once I went to a beer bar and they weren't out of three or four things I want. Add that to beers on the go and this is a beer geek's haven. As for the food I ordered a sandwich and fries which was decent, but I ordered a piece of carrot cake and the thing was HUGE and tasted GREAT. I had to eat the whole thing it was so good...even if my stomach was hurtin' later. The only negative is that for all this greatness comes up a price, a steep price. I.E. a bottle of ST Mokah will cost $18 there or (w/ 25% to go discount) $14 on the run. A local store about five minutes away was selling them for $9. I know bars have markups, but this place will set your wallet back bigtime. Still worth it for a visit or two.
06-23-2009 17:27:19 |
More by clayrock81
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5
Here's the thing about the Capital Ale House, it'll get you broke real fast if you're not careful. Let's be serious, a Victory Golden Monkey bottle -- BOTTLE -- for ten dollars? My thing is, if you're going to respect the patrons, please respect that they understand they can go to most grocery stores and / or markets and get a six-pack of Golden Monkey for $10. Why try to take advantage of people, especially if you try to run such a quality establishment such as the Capital Ale House?
And yes, they have an ice bar, which is pretty badass for sure. But then again, most beers on the ice bar when I was there were bottles of Miller Lite, which, as we all know, needs to be kept cold to be able to handle moderately.
That's my gripe with the atmosphere for the most part, I suppose.
The quality is amazing. Tons and tons of bottles, and all are in front of you, though most are cold and probably shouldn't be. I think they have at least 50 taps, and they rotate pretty frequently, which is great.
One of the bartenders there not only knew his beers, but he also let my friend and me taste at least 5 beers, which was fantastic because I didn't want more than the small glass of either one after tasting, as a pint would've been way too much to handle. I can't say that all of them are like that, but that guy was really cool and extremely nice about giving the patrons what they wanted.
And yes, like I said, the selection's sick. They have menus with descriptions for even the beers I had no clue about, which I think is a plus as most bars like that, I feel at least, don't have enough experienced folks working for them to be that caring about what they're writing and how they're describing.
Sorry, I didn't try the food, but I hope to go back again sometime fairly soon enough with an updated inkling about it.
Note: Honestly, the one thing I didn't like was the exorbitant prices. I just feel that someone who cares enough about the patrons should understand that they shouldn't need to charge as insanely as they do. Yes, micro and craft brew kegs are expensive. And yes, speciality and micro and craft bottles can get expensive also. BUT -- you have people going there to be trendy, too, and that's fine, they can do what they want. But don't act like the patrons who love beer and don't have the money to try many expensive beers -- because most are way too overpriced -- don't keep a place like that going elsewhere [as far as keeping the small breweries afloat and prospering] because they go to respectable beer sellers who are in it for as much as they are...
03-21-2005 06:06:22 |
More by asabreed
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Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA
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