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Capital Ale House

Not Rated.
Capital Ale HouseCapital Ale House

87 Reviews
Reviews: 87
Visits: 117
Avg: 4.33
pDev: n/a
Taps: 48
Bottles: 200
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

623 E Main St
Richmond, Virginia, 23219-2405
United States
phone: (804) 780-2537

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Place added by: JAGMAN

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 87 | Visits: 117
Reviews by Zraly:
Photo of Zraly
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I've been visiting Capital Ale House in downtown since I interviewed for my PhD at VCU a few years back. It was actually a "positive" when I was rating my preferences for graduate school! Granted, it was a secondary factor...but a factor nonetheless. "Can I get good beer here and have a reasonable place to chill?"

And for those purposes...CAH is great. It has decent food (the sandwiches & frittes pose as great pub food), a great selection of beer on tap, and the atmosphere, in general, is pleasant.

I go to CAH at least a few times a month. With my class demands decreasing, and my reading & writing demands increasing, I might haunt this place more often in the coming years. My last visit, this past Thursday, I had a Corsendonk Christmas ale (on tap) and my girlfriend had a Stone Smoked Porter (on tap). Both were very tasty and were served in the appropriate glasses.

I find the beer selection to be appropriate and of high quality. There is always a nice mix of import and American micros on tap. Sundays are a great day to try some of the American micros on tap; a pint of any American micro is only $2. "Steal the glass" night occurs on Wednesdays. For the most part, this is a respectful, beer-positive atmosphere that has good spirit in supporting beer appreciation.

As for the food, I've had the opportunity to sample most of the sandwiches on the menu and I can attest that they are good portions and are of good quality. When I am feeling "meat", the Cuban is rather satisfying. Also, for you veggies, the black bean burger is great (although quite messy). I've also had a few of the dinner entrees. The Waterzooi mer du Nord is quite tasty, as is the fish and greens. The fish for the fish and greens selection is typically something along the lines of salmon or talapia.

A few small caveats about CAH:

1. The service has odds of being hit or miss. There are a few servers who have been there since I can remember and they are great. They are conversant on beer and beer style. They are prompt and courteous. I always enjoy myself whenever I have one of the "seasoned veterans" as my server. However, it is the restaurant business and there is always employee turnover. It's inevitable. And often times the newbies do a fine job, considering. On occassion, though, I expect to be ignored and for my service to be shoddy. So again, this is an acknowledgment that, like other restaurants, CAH suffers from some staffing issues and it sometimes shows in the service received by patrons.

2. The list of available bottles is really just a list of bottled beer that CAH had in stock at some point in the recent past. I tend to avoid the bottle list most of the time. There is usually plenty of good stuff on tap to hold my interest. My girlfriend sometimes orders off of the bottle list and is usually disappointed. This past visit she asked for a Bell's Cherry Stout. They were, of course, out.

3. In general, the atmosphere is cozy and inviting. Sometimes, though, tables near the bar can get a bit smokey. This is Virginia, afterall.

The downtown location is expanding. They are adding a Beer Garden that is projected, I think, to open later next year. There is now plenty parking in the parking garage that is connected to CAH. No more searching for a spot in downtown.

I think that CAH is a quality restaurant/beer bar. There is some room for improvement, but nothing that should dissuade a person from paying a visit to this establishment. Come for the good beer and decent atmosphere. You'll hopefully find some delicious beer to make your visit worth the trip.

 3,616 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Barracudas
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of Cobratrooper
3.61/5  rDev -16.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

I use to love this place a few years ago. Now that Richmond has many many craft bar options this place has failed to evolve. The music hall part is nice, just not a lot of bands you really want to see come. Lots of taps but normally the same beers on tap that every other bar in Richmond has. Turn over on the beers also seems hit or miss. Price on the beer has typical bar mark up, you get a discount for buying bottles to go however. Food is ok. Service is hit or miss.

 472 characters

Photo of oldn00b
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25

10 years ago I'd probably have given this place 5/5 but plenty of spots like this exist now.

Beer selection wins out over everything else here. The bottle list is beyond extensive and there are plenty of fantastic options on tap. They have high end favorites, great local/regional options and they put plenty of the less than easy to come by items on the menu, stuff like 120 pops up regularly. Prices are fair.

It feels like a typical bar - no frills in a good way, but nothing to write home about.

Food to me is a bit of a drawback - it's fine but the quality could step up just a touch. Sandwiches fries and all are fine but nothing special.

It is a great local chain and one to hit up if you're looking for a place to kill some time before walking to The National or something.

 793 characters

Photo of Waltbabylove
4.76/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great local brews, all your faves, plus some gems.

50 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Just visited earlier today with Da Boss.

Vibe was good, fairly empty on a late Thursday afternoon. Good tunes being played, zydeco, blues provided a nice atmosphere.

Quality of the beer and food was good. There were a lot of top notch world classics here to go with solid regional beers.

Service was solid, not too tough with a small crowd to deal with.

Selection was pretty top notch as there were 40-60 draft brews to pick from and mayb 100 bottle selections.

Food was very good, I had the gyro burger which was unique but very good and Da Boss had the fish tacos that were solid.

Overall somewhat expensive beer wise but the "mid-major" dishes were reasonably priced. Definitely would go back again.

 712 characters

Photo of VeganUndead
3.71/5  rDev -14.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of jzeilinger
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of EJXL
3.76/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.75 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of uvachief
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Capital Ale has a great selection and variety of beers at most places. The food is very good as well. The atmosphere can be great and some places even have live music. Sounds perfect right? Well..not so fast. My biggest gripe with this chain has always been service. I use to work across the street from the one in downtown Richmond. Clients wanted to go to lunch there. We could never get in and out in under 90 minutes and it was usually a lot closer to 2 hours. Service at night wasn't much better. The bar can be extremely crowded and the beertenders can get overwhelmed. Most are very knowledgeable. They have a 1/2 price growler night. Well worth trying but bring your patience when you go.

 708 characters

Photo of woodchip
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Rothobinide
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of dwoolley1
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of everlong353
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of gopens44
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of LeeEvolved
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Tamigleo
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of Liverocks
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Zimm
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of papajohn56
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of abrodsky
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of JFear
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

Photo of zp6167a
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Eric03101
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of joegard
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

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Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA
96 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.