Capitol Hill Drinking: The Cap City Rumor

After nine years, I’m sad to report that the so-called “NoMa” section of Capitol Hill really sucks when it comes to drinking. I’m talking about the Mass Ave stretch…and beyond! NoMa being the wholly imaginary neighborhood “North of Mass Ave” which is Union Station and the dismal former-ghetto rolling down past the bus station to New York Avenue.

Any news item – a new bar, a closure – is exciting, and so I latch onto it in the hopes that something will break up my sad workaday life.

I hate working, see? I want to be a drifter like David Banner. Isn’t that what that show was about? Angry drunk drifter who befriends small boys?

That’s what every show in the 70’s was about, I think. Highway to Heaven! That was the 80’s, right? But that’s even worse. Two homosexuals, one big and simple and the other with a predatory intellect, travel the country in a windowless panel van taking advantage of the weak and the needy.

Sick, man.

Anyway, I was stunned when DCbeer reported the rumor that Capitol City Brewing Co. was closing their Union Station location. I figured that the rumor must be true because, really, Cap City sucks. And not in that good way. It’s the sort of suck where, you know, you get there, and then Cap City leans out the car window and vomits and doesn’t talk to you for the entire ride back to her parent’s house.

Ah, my.

Anyway, I decided to spend this week going to Cap City for lunch and sort of pretending that I’m a big bad local and/or beer blogger. Because that’s how you get multiple baskets of free pretzels. You need many pretzels at Cap City so you can smother them in the delicious horseradish sauce and, therefore, kill the taste of their beer. Because their beer is less “brewed” and more “flavored.”

Don’t come down on me about that. It’s true. I don’t want every sad-sack waterhead at the next door Bureau of Labor Statistics crying at me in the comments section. First of all, you people all look like you’re prisoners of the Khmer Rouge when I see you through the windows, and, secondly, Cap City’s beer is lousy. Here’s how you can tell – Get the St. Adrian’s Alt, the Amber Waves, and maybe the ESB. They all look the same. Okay. Whatever. Then taste them. The base notes are all exactly the same, except there’s this sort of mass-produced flavoring sensation that is, supposedly, what makes them distinctive. But it’s the same thing as saying that Chicken and Beef Ramen are distinctive. A tin-foil flavor pack does not a beer make.

Regardless, there’s something weirdly cozy about Cap City. It’s a great tourist bar. It would be a breath of fresh air if I was just coming off the train. It has that weird sort of heavily-trodden-tourist-path London pub feel. It’s the sort of place that feels like you can wander in there and say, “Hey, I just trained in from North Carolina, and I’m fucking useless. Can you help me?” And the smiling staff reply with: “Have a beer and a shot of bourbon!”

So…yes. You can help me.

Maybe it’s the big tanks, which I always believe are empty. There’s the whole brewery-kitsch feel to the place. Like you’re at the illicit tour group bar in some small brewery. Except it’s huge and corporate. Which is confusing. So you drink and ask for pretzels.

Cap City Union Station may be the only bar where I hate everything I’m given in the food and booze department…and still feel like visiting again and again.

Today I pulled aside the day manager – who was drunk – and asked him WTF in regards to the DCbeer rumor. He told me that, absolutely, there was no problem. They were not closing. Then he lapsed into hubris and said they were never better and business was hopping. So I figured not to correct them when my bill came and was only six bucks for three beers.
And that’s all from me! Here’s Manakin!

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