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Capital Ale House
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
623 E Main St
phone: (804) 780-2537
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
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: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
Took a weekend off and took the little lady to Richmond for the weekend for her birthday.. Managed to stop by CAH for brunch.. Good Golly Miss Molly... I think i died and went to heaven.. The place is lovely inside, well designed and thought out. I can see how it could be hard to get around when packed, but it wasnt when we were there. The beer selection is outstanding, both in quality and bredth. If you cant find a tasty beer here you arent trying. The beer list changes a lot so i wont bother listing what i had as it might not be there next time. The taps focus mainly on American Craft , but the bottles cover the rest of it. The service was tip-F@ing-top. The waitstaff knew their beer and were not condesending about it ( are you listening Biergarden. The food at brunch was superb, Pan Roasted Virginia trout with eggs and bacon.. That and a hoppy IPA on cask and I was ready to move in. If you are in Richmond you as BA must check out either this location or the one in Innsbrook.. I wanted to claim to not have money so i could wash dishes and just hang out somemore. The best beer bar I have been too in a long time!!
07-11-2004 20:38:40 |
More by TinusTime
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
Was here over the weekend for dinner. They advertised a "Firkin Friday", but when I asked the hostess what was on the firkin, she says "Hmmm, I'm not sure, I could ask the bartender"...never mind, I'll do it....but first I order the food. I ask the waitress, "What's on the Firkin"...response? Not sure. OK, to the bar...."What's the Firkin?" "Oh, we haven't done that in several months." HELLO???
Anyway, the selections they had were pretty good, and local. Weyerbacher Pale Ale on the cask, and about 25 other drafts. Decent selection of bottles as well. The rest of the area, being in the financial district of Richmond, seems pretty dead after 5pm.
07-04-2011 23:23:25 |
More by PudTinkler
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
In the heart of downtown Richmond, the Capital Ale House has a nice, upscale feel. There is a long bar with a "cold stripe" to keep you beer cold from the bottom up. There are plenty of booths opposite the bar, but when they get busy, the aisle gets extremely tight.
The beer slection is fantastic: 30 or so taps, plus a huge refrigerator filled with an enormous selection covering the entire spectrum. To top it off, they often have casks as well. Prices seem a bit high for some selections. They have plenty of locals represented as well, including Legend, Richbrau, Mobjack, and Starr Hill.
The food is top notch and vegetarians will find numerous options. Service is excellent as well, and the waitstaff are actually familiar with the beers and are able to make recommendations.
Definitely a must-stop destination when in Richmond.
12-02-2005 18:20:33 |
More by hopsaplenty
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
I frequent both CAHs in the Richmond area. One is near work and this one, the downtown location, is on the way home.
The selection on-tap is less than the Innsbruck location. The bar area is shorter and narrower. The game room (dart boards and pool tables) are downstairs. For its quality and popularity the place is simply too small. Oh well. But it is an excellent place to hang out and enjoy a beer or two. The food selection is good and exotic enough never to bore. Only major complaint would be the smokiness. This makes Innsbruck, with its additional bar that is non-smoking, a better choice. However, at the downtown location you are a literal mile or two away from Richbrau (back down Cary St) and Legend (across the James).
03-16-2005 00:18:08 |
More by pentathlete
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
We stayed at Crowne Plaza, a short 2 block stroll to the Ale House. Great tap selection, and waiter was attentive enough, carried a list of what is dead and what replaced it. We were disappointed that racer 5 was kicked, but were happy when we found out Hop Stoopid was in its place. Obviously some of these kegs are rare and to keep a good supply would be impossible. While this can be frustrating to some, this is really why a place like this is so interesting.
We sampled Delirium Noel (steal the glass, disappointed that it was not the Noel glass, but a plain delirium glass), Breckenridge 471, Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, Saranac IIPA, Stone Ruination, and St George IS on cask. They also offer any of there bottled beer to go at a discount, we left with Einbecker Mai Bock, Bells 2 Hearted, and Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye. Beers on draft typically come in small (12 oz) or large (I think 22 oz), but some special offerings are one size. There were plenty of beers I would have liked to try and understand the difficulty in offering samplers, but I would definitely favor a sampler menu. We were seated in the back, and it is sort of out of the way, the ambience of the front bar area is much more desirable.
Other notables that we did not get to try while we were there were Aventinus, Bells Double Cream Stout, Gouden Carolus, Storm King on cask, and plenty others. They also offer approximately 300 bottle selections to go with the 46 taps.
On food, we weren't starving, and got chicken quesadilla appetizer which was rather tasty and filled us up. I got a Cuban sandwich which was not a cuban, but none the less tasty. Wife got a spicy chicken salad (same chicken as the wings), and it was definitely spicy, but still good. Food was fairly priced and they have a children's menu.
12-28-2007 12:58:13 |
More by aleyeast
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
Wow, am I glad I checked this place out. Got discounted food for buying a pint, had an excleent meal, and got to see a damn good selection of beer. Thier selection reminds me (though the variety of what they have varies slightly) of a beer bar in Phila, BUT, much more open, cleaner, and, dare I say, nicer (in a hopspitality, not personal. I mean as a service they are good. As people, well I cannot comment on that becuase I do not know them. See what I mean?) way. It was a nice mix of college kids to senoir citizens, and, not a BMC to be found. Never tried micros before? They'll sit you down and set you up (at least they did for 2 patrons when I was eating). As for the food - nothing but kudos from me. Had the $1 burger (special w/ a pint), and that is a pretty good price for a 1/2 lb loaded burger. And then the roasted oysters - aye dios me, that was a good night. I really think you'd be hard press to find a nicer place (there are maybe 3 that come to mind in PA, but I digress). Only problem - they cleared away m beer (before it was finished) when I went to the bathroom. But, they did offer me another. Good times all around
03-09-2005 03:35:01 |
More by PSUDREW
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stopped in Friday March 28th before the Drive By Trucker show at The National:
Stopped in CAH around 6:00 p.m. and were greeted by a lively bar full of after work happy hour seekers. The space is nicely appointed though narrow. The bar is long with plenty of stools and decent standing areas. Booths and a section of tables are stationed along the right side of the space and in front of the street front window. Adjacent to the bar is the new music hall with live music for happy hour. A decent blues band was cranking out the tunes for the happy hour faithful.
Now to the beers: Very nice tap selection upstairs in the main bar. Not the best I've seen but very good to say the least plus 2 beers on cask. An extensive bottle selection is available as well. I like the way the beer menu is broken down by style and or region (ie..Virginia beers). Had the St. George Porter on cask. The beertender took her time filling the imperial pint glasses to ensure a maximum pour. I really like the St George Porter and on cask its even better. Next, we tried Virginia's newest brewery, Blue Mountain's Pale Ale. Very good APA, wish they would expand distro to NoVa. All beers were in good shape and handle with care in the appropriate glassware. Service at the bar was very good.
Now for the food: This is more of service issue at the front of the house. We had a group of 6. The hostess said it would be 45 minutes which was fine with us since we wanted to hit the bar for a few anyway. Well, after 1.5 hours we finally get a table and its almost time to leave for the show. The hostess said they only had one 6 top to accomodate our group in the whole place !! Why they couldn't put a couple of tables together is beyond me. Food was pretty good. Everyone pretty much ordered sandwiches since we were in a bit of hurry to leave.
Overall, CAH is definitely worth the trip to downtown Richmond. Really good draft and bottle selection and decent food. The bar staff is knowledgeable and knows how to pour a good pint. Food service is spotty at best.
03-31-2008 13:18:53 |
More by SwillBilly
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
My wife and I sat at the bar and enjoyed a couple of nightcaps before heading back to our hotel after a fun but hot day of doing some of the Richmond tourist stops -- FIne Arts Museum (surprisingly good) and Tredegar Iron Works and Museum (also a pleasant surprise).
Took quite awhile to find something for my wife as she tends to like anything from amber to stout without much bitterness -- not a real popular range this day and age. We did finally settle on the Legend Brown Ale, which was not as good as we remembered.
On the other hand, I was lucky enough to settle close to Belgian Independence Day, and they had several very good Belgian options. I selected the Ommegang Independence Saison ($5 for 12oz goblet) and was blown away. Nice service and good attentiveness from the bar staff, although I could tell the upstairs group wanted to keep us upstairs for tips. After enjoying the peppery Ommegang offering, I had a large Ballast Point Sculpin IPA which rang up as $10.50. Pretty steep but not ungodly I guess for 20oz.
The atmosphere was a bit muted for about 10PM on Saturday night. It is summertime I guess. They had about 30 taps upstairs, and the bar staff wouldn't even float me a clue as to the downstairs menu.
Not a bad stop although I'll have to admit their selection, while good, was not as good as folks have reviewed. My local Mellow Mushroom carries as good a selection any day of the week.
08-05-2011 03:43:06 |
More by argock
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
We arrived at Capital Ale House around 1:15pm on a Saturday, and there were only a few other people in the downstairs area. Upon entering I saw a large selection of bottles and the many taps offered. The bar, chairs, and tables are all dark-wood giving a pleasant cozy feeling while hanging out.
If you get a damp beer list next time you go, it's because I was drooling on it when I visited. An amazing selection is here--bottles and taps. This place has all of the bottled beer that I dream about buying at a retail location in addition to all kinds of goodness on tap. I tried St. George porter on cask while I was here in addition to 90-minute on tap--Amazing on both accounts. By far this was the best porter I've had and it encouraged me to buy even more bottled 90-minute at the next retail stop after lunch.
The food I tried was excellent. I'd like to note the Mexicali wings are more than worth ordering if you like wings...good stuff. I look forward to trying other menu items when I go back in the future.
The service was amazing. Our server was attentive and very knowledgeable about the menu and beer selection. What other place has a server that would mention 'cascade domination' while talking about an IPA they offered?
This was a wonderful experience...I can't wait to visit again.
04-21-2004 00:15:01 |
More by Stoo333
Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA