Capital Ale House
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 93 | Reviews: 83 | Show All Ratings:
4.38/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5 | $$
Since I reviewed Mekong and Legend, it's only fair I review Cap Ale...
They have a rustic meets modern beer hall theme that fits well with the downtown location, and the city of Richmond as whole. The atmosphere does get a bit confused during the concerts in the adjacent concert hall room - it's odd to hear a metal band through the wall while the house PA is playing their lighter mix.
Unless it's burger night (Monday), you can expect good service by a usually knowledgeable staff that enjoys the beer they're serving. Most of the waitstaff also are able to offer pairing suggestions as well - a big plus for me.
The beer selection is fairly large, though split - they offer the lesser rotating drafts and their bottle selection upstairs, they stick the more rotating taps downstairs in the gameroom/beer garden. The only drawback I've seen is that when they kick a keg, sometimes they forget to tell the servers they're out (since the menus are printed for the month, it'd be hard to change them regularly) until after an order is placed.
The food is your standard American gastropub menu with burgers being the featured item. On regular nights, they cook them to your specifications, and throw down with some frites and one of their 4 flavored mayos. Also, the Bavarian pretzel is definitely worth a trip by itself.
Burger night is unto itself - usually there's a large rush of people during normal dinner hours, and the kitchen is cooking to order instead of specifications to get them out. However, servers generally still give good service.
Big plus of this place is the gameroom/beer garden - it has a few dartboards with the proper spacing and scorekeeping setup, plus a pooltable and some other games too. The outdoor beer garden is awesome if you like being outside and having a nice space in a city to hang out with your friends and have a few beers.
10-06-2013 20:54:09 | More by CraftBeerMe
4.06/5 rDev -6.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4 | $$$
I've been here so many times for lunch; no complaints. The problem is the downtown set up and overcrowding factor and extremely slow to almost non existent service. But, it's almost understandable because of the atmosphere. If I were to give this place an honest review for dinner drinking time, it would be very low. But, this will be a lunch review.
Easy to get a table or bar seats for miles and miles. Good food...great black bean burger, great fish n chips, decent beef burgers. Service is good at lunch. Ordered a GKnight can and it's always great when the servers immediately know and compliment your selection (not too many people reference GKnight here in VA). Plenty on tap...plenty plenty...and oh so so much bottled. They still had some 120 min, but prices on "those beers" are a bit high.
Either way, the downtown location is great for lunch and the south-side location is, so I hear, great whenever.
PS...had a great value on a local brewery's release of an ipa that same day with snifters and a growler, but that was at dinner and the overall experience was not good.
This is strictly a lunch review only.
06-29-2013 01:26:34 | More by tabascosigned
4.25/5 rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
A massive selection of beer on rotating taps. The food is pretty good, and the prices are reasonable. My wife actually doesn't mind going with me, which is a big plus. Another go-to here in Richmond. Highly recommended. There are multiple locations throughout the greater Richmond area. The downtown location might have the best atmosphere, while the one in Innsbrook has even more beers on tap
05-31-2013 20:13:20 | More by McBraniel
3.63/5 rDev -16.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$
First let me start off by saying the Ale House is definitely worth going to. They have the best pretzel I've ever tasted in my life and the burger & sandwiches are all good. The beer menu is very extensive with lots of local selections. HOWEVER, after being there once a week for almost two months, I've noticed that they are ALWAYS out of multiple selections off the draft menu. I don't buy the excuse of 'well we've got so many on tap it's hard to keep them in stock'. I've been to places with a much wider selection that do a much better job of maintaining their menu. And most of the stafff seems to be caught off guard when they realize they're out. Causing you to wait over and over again while your server goes back and forth looking for what's available. So go, but makes sure you have a lineup of what you're looking for to save yourself some time.
10-13-2012 00:50:24 | More by triwolf
4.78/5 rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I have to stop at Capital Ale House every time I'm in Richmond. They have a great selection of beer and their food is pretty good. The servers have a vast knowledge of the beer they serve, and being new to beer and wanting to expand my tastes, this was extremely helpful for me. I was able to tell them what I've had and liked, and they were able to give me suggestions for something new but not overwhelming in flavor.
My only gripe is that their service can be rather slow on occasion. I waited almost 30 minutes on an order of calamari, but I can honestly say that it was worth it.
Overall, great place with a great atmosphere. Can't wait to go back again.
08-23-2012 18:33:48 | More by mchunt25
4.35/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Not much I can say that hasn't been said already. In addition to the beer, the menu has quite a few options, and the food is delicious. My wife and I both had burgers the other night, and they were outstanding. I also appreciate the fact that they update their beer menu online each week, so you can study it before going in.
I went on a recent Monday night, and the atmosphere was quite good. It was relatively full, but we were sat immediately, so it wasn't too crowded or too empty. Very relaxed atmosphere with good service. Great place to unwind with some amazing beers after a hard day at work.
02-10-2012 06:17:39 | More by Crazyale
4.95/5 rDev +13.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
This is my go-to beer location in Richmond. Not only do they have the best selection, but they also host the best events and have some pretty darn good food too. The bartenders are not your average college-kid-working-for-rent/beer money. These guys and girls are super-knowlegable. They know their beers. And after a few visits, they'll remember your name and even your preferences. The lack of TVs in the bar is sometimes criticized, but the fact that it forces patrons to engage in conversation with each other and their bartenders is certainly not a bad thing. And whether you're looking for your favorite microbrew or a rarity, you will be able to find it all. In a city that is becoming increasingly beer-centric, Capital Alehouse remains at the top.
01-24-2012 22:01:12 | More by jayfro70
4.25/5 rDev -2.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Stopped there for lunch in the middle of a five hour road trip, so I could only enjoy one beer.
Their beer selection was really good. Cigar City, DFH, Legend, Bell's, Port City, Ommegang, Brooklyn, Avery, just to name a few.
The fact that you can get growler fills there of anything on tap is a huge bonus. DFH doesn't allow you to get a growler of Burton Baton at their brew-pub, however, it was advertised at Capital Ale House that you could.
Our server was new and a bit slow.
The food was pretty good. I could have ordered a ton of different items, but went with the Schnitzel sandwich. My traveling partner had a great looking bacon cheeseburger. If you are in Richmond, you must go here.
I didn't like that it was pretty dark inside, especially on a nice sunny day.
01-04-2012 21:50:18 | More by rhartogsq
3.8/5 rDev -12.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Capital Ale House is but a few miles walk/drive from the VCU Campus, downtown, and so it's common to head there with friends when you have a little extra money to throw around on good beer.
It's a nice place, though often crowded, with a solid, moderately dim atmosphere and a very nice bar with a dry ice surface. The game room downstairs and the band room to the side are the best places in places in the restaurant itself, versus the main area near the bar.
If a band is playing, it can get kind of noisy, so prepare for that. They have a large selection of rotating taps and will serve you growlers of many of the tapped beers as well, which is a plus. They have over 200, maybe more beers to choose from, all of them pretty well-priced overall (though a few are bizarrely expensive).
The service is adequate and often very personable, but it often takes a long time to get your beer and I've had a few come out at room temperature, to my disappointment. If you sit at the bar your drinks will come very quickly and the bartenders I've experienced really know their stuff.
My one MAJOR gripe is how the restaurant serves beer, with most being available in "small" or "large" variants for what they have on tap. The small is something like 10 or maybe 12oz, while the large is more like 22. The prices are usually fine, but because of this you'll often find your beer served to you in a weird small-or-large glass that often doesn't suit the style you ordered. So you might get your beer with no head whatsoever, or things like this. For a restaurant that prides itself on beer this seems a bit bewildering to me.
Nevertheless, they have a pretty fantastic selection and if you request proper glassware (or, again, order bottles or exclusively at the bar) they're usually more than happy to accommodate your choices.
The food is pretty pricey, but there are some well-priced and very yummy things to have as well (splitting mussels and beer with a friend is pretty divine, and on Mondays [I believe it is] they have cheap burger nights, which are also good for a group).
Overall it's a fine place to visit maybe twice a month if you have the money to deal with some of the pricier problems, but it's not quite the go-to craft beer hangout one would hope for, living so close to it.
If you're going for the beer alone it's definitely recommended that you just sit at the bar for a much quicker and higher quality time.
01-04-2012 15:23:33 | More by antique
4.35/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
A - Nice and clean establishment with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Music isn't too loud and you can have a good conversation easily with friends. Cap Ale (as we call it) excels providing the right environment to have good food and good beer together. 4.0
Q - Great place with great beer. Gotta love the chilled rail on the bar to keep your drink nice and cool. 4.0
S - Service is good, staff are friendly and they know quite a lot about the huge beer menu, so if you're stumped feel free to ask them. 4.0
Se - The beer menu at Cap Ale is godly. I have no idea how many beers there are...but it's so many that I could probably go there for a year and still have things left to try. 5.0
F - Food is unbelievable. The Smokehouse Burger is probably the most delicious thing I've ever tasted, and the fritas (french fries) are amazing. They come with four hand-made dips that beat regular 'ol ketchup by a long shot. 5.0
V - A little pricey for what you get, but you have to keep in mind that you're paying for quality over quantity. With that in mind I've always left happy. $$$
11-07-2011 15:53:18 | More by rudolphjacksonm
Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA
96 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.