Capital Ale House

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

89 Reviews
Capital Ale HouseCapital Ale House
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

623 E Main St
Richmond, Virginia, 23219-2405
United States

(804) 780-2537 | map
www.capitalalehouse.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by JAGMAN

PLACE STATS
Score:
96
Reviews:
89
Ratings:
126
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
7.39%
 
 
Taps:
48
Bottles/Cans:
200
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 126
Reviews by IBUnit63:
Photo of IBUnit63
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Well, I had occasion to revisit the downtown CAH this past week and think it's time I give this one another shot. I left the original review notes below, as our first visit didn't leave much of an impression. I was more pleased by far with this visit...

There is a very long bar when you walk in and it has that gimmick manufactured ice thing that you see at Red Square...a Russian-themed martini bar @ Mandalay Bay in Vegas. Nice touch to keep your beer cold...if you need to keep your beer cold. Good woodwork in here. Music isn't bad. I was in here on a Monday so it quickly crowded up for $1 burgers. Clientele was a little mixed - not a lot of beer intelligentsia here. It would be nice to see such a well-regarded place more actively educate, 'cause I saw a lot of people ordering a lot of crap. But that's not their job, so no beef here; it sort of detracts from the experience sometimes, though.

Pretty hard to knock the quality of beer here. Something for everyone. Lots of taps, even more bottles. Only beef is that the head on pours are a little bigger than usual - 1 to 1 1/2 inches depending on the size. If there's no retention it's easy to feel like you've gotten boned on the pour.

Service this round was friendly, effective and knowledgable. This was the biggest plus from our visit (of course, it was the item with the most room for improvement). I appreciated honesty when discussing beers I wasn't familiar with and didn't have a chance to research; our bartender steered me away from a clunker or 2, which I was happy about.

The only food I had was one huge flippin' pretzel. Mustard sauce had a lot of sweetness to it. Baking that much dough left it slightly greasy, but overall it was tasty.

Seems like prices trend a little higher now than I remember. By no means a deal-breaker; it may be perception because a lot of bottles here retail in stores for $10+ so even with a standard 2x markup or so that tag will look crazy on a menu. Drafts weren't as bad, but maybe a little pricey.

All in all, it's a decent stop. For those working in the financial district, it's a great happy hour outlet.

B / 3.64
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 - $$
rDev: -22.5%

This place has potential. The bar is absolutely beautiful and the selection is vast, but the place just screams "corporate!" This outweighs everything. Excellent selection and what they had was very good. I found the service to be thoroughly unpassionate about beer and would have gotten more insight from the dishwasher at Applebees. Maybe it was time of day (midafternoon on holiday weekend when we were in town) and there may be more knowledge during prime time, but I didn't see it. Great beer list, no soul.

Reviewed on: 02-12-2008 13:33:12

 2,752 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of krbrevard
4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Boone757
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of beersapian
3.96/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of hophugger
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of Trambo
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Fantastic place for dinner & a few beers. We hosted a company Christmas party here and it was a huge hit.
The place has a nice vibe, inviting and friendly atmosphere, tastefully decorated bar area and facilities. The servers are very knowledgeable and friendly, and actually give good recommendations. Our service was very good, given that this was on a Friday night with a large group! No complaints there. Beer selection in my opinion is incredible, I mean I don't get the nit-picky reviewers complaining about lack of selection, with over 150 to pick from, how many MORE beers do you need to have to be impressed?? Geez. It's Richmond, not New York. The food was very good, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it actually was. Being an Ale House I half expected the quality to be mediocre at best, but was very happy with how good it really was.
Our entire group thoroughly enjoyed the evening. They do a superb job with corporate parties, I recommend this if you have the chance.

 988 characters

Photo of Kubishark
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The vibe is pretty typical of many other places you'd find in any east coast city, but it's nice. Seems like a pretty chill place to have a drink and a bite to eat. Great quality, excellent service, and fantastic selection of beers on tap and bottled. The food is good too, it's not everywhere you can enjoy pierogi with your beer. I'd definitely come back here the next time I found myself in downtown Richmond.

 412 characters

Photo of Iamjeff6
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of safphoto
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

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%

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Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA
96 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.
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