Make us your home page

Capitol Beer House brings craft beer movement to downtown Clearwater

Some of the beers on tap at downtown Clearwater’s Capitol Beer House.

Luis Santana/tbt*

Some of the beers on tap at downtown Clearwater’s Capitol Beer House.

I don't make it there very often, but downtown Clearwater seems like a nice place to take a stroll. It's right on the water, scenic and the site of several new businesses, in addition to an exciting renovation of the historic Capitol Theatre.

The Capitol is almost like the Tampa Theatre of Clearwater; it's an early 20th-century theater that hosted all sorts of popular entertainment in its heyday, and after a renovation effort spearheaded by Ruth Eckerd Hall and the City of Clearwater that's planned for completion in October, the Capitol will once again be the site of live music and movies on the big screen. I imagine it will be a boon to downtown tourism.

Ditto for several new businesses that have been filling the previously empty storefronts in the heart of downtown. On Cleveland Street, one of these businesses is the Capitol Beer House, which sits across the street from the theater. The "Capitol" in Capitol Beer House even uses the same typeface as the theater itself, a nod to a building that will no doubt send plenty of business over after shows.

Capitol Beer House is a little different than your standard craft-beer bar. It feels more like a coffee shop or small concert venue, with its plush sofas, stage-facing seating and café-style tables outside on the sidewalk. In terms of décor, there are as many framed Clearwater Jazz Festival posters on the walls as there are beer signs.

I visited during its Monday Night Jazz series, which features live jazz every third Monday of the month. On Wednesdays, the Capitol also hosts Rock on Cleveland, featuring live bands. The velvet curtains above the stage mimic the larger curtains at the theater across the street, while a large projection screen adjacent to the stage is a smaller-scale version of that theater's other primary function.

The crowd was mostly middle-aged, and though many of the folks were sampling beers from the Capitol's 32 taps and concise but diverse bottle selection from around the world, I did still see quite a few Bud Lights and PBRs going out. Call it an entry-level beer bar, which is in no way a bad thing; Capitol Beer House is both un-intimidating to craft-beer novices, while still offering plenty to diehards like myself.

The selection (both wine and beer) is decidedly international, but local brews play a big role in the tap list, with selections from Dunedin Brewery, Cigar City, Barley Mow and Tampa Bay Brewing Company. One beer — Dunedin's Squeet, a wheat ale dry-hopped with Amarillo hops — was a new find for me, a perfect sipping beer for warm nights and live jazz.

If there's no music on, or if you're in search of a different form of amusement, the Capitol also offers a mini-arcade in the back, with pool tables, dart boards, golf and bowling video games, a punching machine and a racing game.

There are several signs inside Capitol Beer House advertising the pizza joint next door, Tony's Pizzeria & Ristorante, along with its full liquor bar. It's owned by the same guy, so grab some pizza and cocktails next door, then stay for beer, wine, and live music at the Capitol after. Seems reasonable.

Downtown Clearwater needed a good beer bar, and Capitol Beer House is it. Catering to a wide crowd — as opposed to strictly craft beer nerds — makes good business sense, especially in an area still in the midst of a revitalization.

The reopening of the Capitol Theatre should be a boon to the beer bar that shares its name, but even if it doesn't, the cool, casual atmosphere and diverse, quality beer and wine selection probably will.

Capitol Beer House

422 Cleveland St., Clearwater; (727) 449-1900,

The vibe: A new, popular downtown craft beer bar with an emphasis on live music.

Booze: Beer, $3-$10; wine, $5-$15 by the glass and $18-$45 by the bottle. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday and all day Sunday-Wednesday, with $1 off drafts.

Specialty: The name says it all. In the bottle cooler, you'll find a fairly international selection — Chimay from Belgium, Taj Mahal from India, Okocim from Poland, Unibroue from Quebec, Green Flash from California, and so on. This varied approach extends to the tap selection, though you'll find much more local fare on there, including beers from Dunedin Brewery, Barley Mow, Tampa Bay Brewing Company and Cigar City. Capitol Beer House is also one of the few bars where I've seen the Moinette Blond and Brune ales from Belgium on sale (just be prepared to pay a little extra, as they only come in the 750ml bottle). For the wine crowd, you'll find over two dozen wines, from reds and whites to sparkling wines and a house sangria, again originating from all over the world.

Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

Capitol Beer House brings craft beer movement to downtown Clearwater 05/30/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 30, 2013 4:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Fast-paced 'Seven Brides' is pure entertainment at Show Palace


    Try not to blink if you go see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, playing through Nov. 12 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson. If you close your eyes even for a second, you may miss something terrific in this fast-paced, lively and delightfully entertaining show.

    "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" opens Oct. 14 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson. [The LightBox]
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 17


    Insane Clown Posse: The hip-hop duo is known for their supernatural and horror themed lyrics. 6 p.m., State Theatre, 687 Central Avenue North, St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 895-3045.

    The Insane Clown Posse attends the 2003 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena December 10, 2003 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 14th annual ceremony airs live tonight on FOX 8:00-10:00 PM ET Live/PT. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
  3. Restaurant review: Noble Crust's second location is a boon to booming Wesley Chapel

    Food & Dining


    Wesley Chapel is said to be one of the fastest growing areas in the country, due to the perfect cocktail of available and affordable land, broad but upwardly mobile demographics and easy access to other parts of Tampa Bay. And while malls and brick-and-mortar retail centers have taken a big hit in …

    The pizzas could use some refining at this location. Crusts struggled to stay crisp under toppings that were too heavy.
  4. This recipe for Meatless Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash is perfect for Meatless Monday


    This meal is so healthy, I am not even sure how it's so delicious. It's a perfect plate for Meatless Monday: filling yet fun, with "meatballs" made out of crushed nuts and strands of spaghetti squash. The whole thing freezes surprisingly well, too, just note that the squash will be a little watery upon defrost.

    Meatless Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash. Photos by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
  5. Reviews: Beck's 'Colors,' St. Vincent's 'Masseduction' thrive in vibrant, alternative pop worlds

    Music & Concerts

    Flash back, if you will, to Aug. 25, 2015, and one of the more unusual stops on Taylor Swift's 1989 Tour. That night in Los Angeles, Swift brought out guests St. Vincent and Beck to perform the latter's single Dreams.

    St. Vincent attends the Special Escape Room Experience created by Spotify for St Vincent and their biggest fans to celebrate forthcoming album "Masseduction" on Oct. 4 in New York City.  (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Spotify)