With the debut of one of the most highly anticipated new joints on Capitol Hill earlier this week when Lost Lake welcomed its first post-last call crowds on 10th Ave, it’s high time to pop the cap about what’s going on with another.
To say anticipation is high for Capitol Cider is a bit of an understatement. Cider fans are waiting. Gluten-free fans are waiting. Pub fans are waiting. And that’s why Capitol Cider won’t be fully open for a few more weeks.
“We want to get it right,” owner Spencer Reilly told CHS on a recent visit to see the space as it rounds into shape. “There are so many expectations we want to meet.” That deliberation for Reilly and Jordan Sinclair, his partner in the venture, means the two-level cider pub needs to age a little before being served.
Reilly said you can expect to see increased activity in the space built out in the former art gallery on Pike near Broadway as Capitol Cider ramps up with private events and, slowly, opens its doors to the masses.
Inside, the crowds will find two levels of cider heaven with a 30-tap bar serving each. The draw will pull from a stock of a variety of ciders, local microbrews and a mead or wine offering or two to round things out. A bottle shop will stock another 100 ciders.
The beverage of choice for people living gluten-free will be accompanied by offerings from a gluten-unfriendly kitchen emphasizing simple ingredients that are naturally part of the increasingly prevalent diet. It should also be delicious.
The former gallery space also has plenty to keep the eyes busy even without sportsball on TVs. Paintings commissioned from students at Capitol Hill’s Gage Academy – where Reilly’s mother and Capitol Cider designer Julie Tall chairs the board of trustees – hang salon style on the upper level — here’s a fisherman battling the sea, here’s a president guy… um… John Adams? You can debate your friends over his identity after a pint. Downstairs, a sprawling oil of a tavern brawl greets you on the back wall beyond the shufflepuck tables.
The two-level space — downstairs to The Ballast Bar & Gameroom, the sign says — moves from a dusky, dark wood pub to a duskier dark wood pub. Down where it’s darker, games will be played, pucks shuffled and the old piano will be tuned and ready for the occasional cider-inspired show.
“I want to create a neighborhood pub that tries to expose people to cider,” Reilly told CHS last summer when we first detailed the new project. “Tons of places in town are starting to get cider. People like it and want to continue to learn about it. I want to be a part of that.”
From the looks of things, he and Sinclair created a pretty good place to get a cider education. You’ll just have to wait a little bit longer to enroll.
Capitol Cider is located at 818 E Pike. You can learn more at Capitol Cider’s Facebook page.