Capital Ale House
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 200
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Zraly:
4.03/5 rDev -7.4%
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.
12-29-2006 14:34:31 | More by Zraly
More User Reviews:
Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA
96 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.