The Food: Take one look at this brewpub’s expansive bar and eating might become an afterthought. But big portions and easy-on=the-wallet prices might draw customers to the dining room whether they’re under the influence of the house beers or not. There are classic bar snacks–fried calamari, chicken fingers, and spinach-and-artichoke dip–but also jambalaya, Thai vegetable pasta and bratwurst sandwich. As you’d expect, booze shows up in the cooking too. Chili is spiked with stout, a skirt steak is marinated in porter ale, and even the meatloaf comes with ale-gravy. A separate kids’ menu includes corn dogs and mac and cheese. To drink? There are four signature brews, including a pale ale, a German-style golden ale, a porter and a California-style beer appropriately named “Amber Waves of Ale.”
The Scene: A dramatically high ceiling, towering fermentation tanks, and a four-sided bar might draw the eye at first, but historic details make this space special. As part of the Postal Square Building built in 1911, the restaurant occupies the former mail-sorting room (remnants include teller windows and a vault door). A loft provides extra seating, a bird’s eye view of the restaurant and an up close look at the brewing equipment. The first Capitol City Brewing Company opened in Metro Center in 1992 as DC’s first brewpub since prohibition. There are also locations in Shirlington Village and Baltimore.
What’s Nearby: Union Station, which services Metro, Amtrak, and Marc trains, is across the street. Assorted shops, a food court, and a movie theater are also inside. The Capitol is about four blocks south, as is the Library of Congress and Supreme Court.
Insider Tips: Call one day ahead to schedule a tour of the brewery for free. The head brewer will explain how the tanks work and how the beer travels to the bar.