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Capitol Hill food+drink | First look inside Bait Shop, El Portal closing

(Images: Dave Lichterman for CHS)

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  • Bait Shop officially opened Monday night but CHS stopped by for the soft launch Sunday night to check out the cut of Linda Derschang’s new jib. We can tell you one thing for sure — it’s dark in there.

    We’re told the lighting was designed by the same folks who handled the buildout on Davy Jones’ locker (yes, the one from the Monkees). If you feel around a little, you can find fish and chips, fried chicken sandwiches and giant fried pork rinds littering the Bait Shop sea floor. The mermaids and mermen on staff will probably deep fry your beer if you ask. For those watching their weight, CHS recommends sticking to the output of the frozen drink machines for your dinner. OK, you can also have the pretty damn delicious french fries.

Despite the undersea feel, you can’t really call the new Bait Shop a dive. We’re interested to see how Capito Hill residents in the intertidal zone decide to chart a course for north Broadway or to follow the current downhill to Linda’s. You can find the new joint at 606 Broadway E and open daily 4 PM to 2 AM. More info at

  • OK. It’s not *that* dark. Photographers pretty much always think places are really dark.
  • We’re sad to report that 23rd and Madison’s El Portal will close later this month. We told you aboutIgnacio Ventura’s cafe venture earlier this year. “We’ll be here until de end of the year!! Thanks to all of you, who were here from de beginning, it was a wonderful experience to serve you,” the @ElPortalCoffee account informed followers last week. The beans will live on but the cafe will — once again — shutter in what has been an extremely challenging space.
  • Madison Valley also has some food+drink shutdown news. Old timer Rover’s announced it will be hanging up its hat come spring 2013…

After 25 years, Rover’s chapter is coming to an end in April.Kathy and I are very grateful for all of you who have supported and shared with us some of your most precious moments over the years. Words are hard to find to thank all of you for believing in our vision and for your constant appreciation of our craft, so we will start with a big “Merci”!

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etaoin shrdlu
8 years ago

Sounds like the place to go if you’re looking for night crawlers.

Some may even don undersized fedoras (see photos).

8 years ago

Am I crazy or does the Bait Shop seem a bit too contrived?

8 years ago

They know their market well…hipsters are ALL ABOUT contrived.

8 years ago

to my beloved little section of Capitol Hill. I wanted to love BAKO but the food just wasn’t all that great. I’m happy when vibrancy comes to the north end of Broadway.

8 years ago

I don’t see the downside of another bar option. That restaurant in that space b4 was abhorable!

Day One
8 years ago

Made me reek of fish batter and pork rinds. Had to hang my coat up outside. Fun place though, great atmosphere.

8 years ago

It defnitely is a bait shop – except in this case, HIPSTER bait. Was hoping something a little less hipster-douche would open up there as its a block from my apt and Deluxe, while great for beer, has a gut-busting menu that gets a bit tiresome – and Poppy while fine, doesn’t have a large enough bar area for a spur of the moment drink. Monday was packed when I walked by – wall to wall vibe-killing trendoids.

8 years ago

really great coffee and the nicest staff ever. I made an effort to support them and take my coworkers there when I worked close by, but I admittedly haven’t been in the months since I switched jobs.

There is so much development happening right there – I hope when some of those buildings are finished a business can make a go of it in that spot – it’s an inviting space, it’s just an awkward location with no visibility or foot traffic right now.

8 years ago

Sorry if this dbl posts…
I see that the former Cakespy location now has a liquor license application notice in the window. Anyone know what moving in there?

8 years ago


wow, hipsters, trendoids and whiners. why would anyone want to visit north broadway?

*aside to , your comment system is being wonky.

8 years ago

Death throes. New world… soon!

8 years ago

Looks like a wine store.
Passed by yesterday as crews were hauling in wood crates for shelving.

8 years ago

Been looking forward to a way to have a lively drink at the north end of broadway — too many pricey little restaurants and not enough places to sit and grab a beer. This will let me get off 15th every once in a while.

Who cares if it’s “hipster bait”? It’s a bar with a nautical theme. This entire neighborhood is nationally recognized as full of “hipsters,” so every bar is a hipster bar. Just find a place with drinks and people you like and enjoy yourself.

8 years ago

That corner of the neighborhood has been relatively hipster douche free and a slightly older crowd. Would be nice if the vibe killing trendoids would stop spreading like cucaraches.

8 years ago

I can’t tell you how excited I was to have a Linda’s place close by. Bait Shop looks nice, but too many gimmicks. drinks are too expensive for a “dive” and the menu sucks (greasy). an expensive menu with limited selection. Even Oddfellows has a more reasonably priced menu and their food kicks ASS.
you want a bar like Linda’s, go to Linda’s. its a favorite for good reason. there really is no REASON to GO TO Bait Shop and that is so frustrating. a dive without a burger?!? greazy.

8 years ago

A life ring on the wall from Virginia, when we have one of the world’s largest fishing fleets here?
As to “hipsters”, too bad the critic/commenter can’t find a world with clones of…his “perfect” self.
Welcome to N.Broadway, Bait Shop.
btw, any news on Galleria across the street?