click on the links below to read the full review:
Quick Magazine - November 15, 2007
Envy | Dallas Life - December 2007
When it comes to barhopping, most of us spend our time in pursuit of a couple of things–perfectly poured beer or choice company–but first and foremeost is the pursuit of a place you can call your local. And not just somewhere in your neighborhood that has reasonably priced drinks and is within stumbling distance of home. Somewhere you don't have to stick out your chest (ladies) or wave a Benjamin (men) to catch a bartender's eye so he can Helen Keller your ass for 20 minutes before pouring an overpriced cocktail. Capitol Pub is such a place. It works at all times of the day, whether it's for Sunday brunch–or pints of Guinness–after church, an afternoon lunch with coworkers–or pints of Guinness–to discuss who should get canned, or a night out–with pints of Guinness–to relax.
• The first thing you notice when you walk in Capitol Pub is the overwhelming feeling of warmth and comfort. There's a stone fireplace on the patio that seems to surge heat through the door and into the whole building.
• Owner Peter Kenny and his contractor chipped away at the former shoe shop's plaster to reveal original rafters from the '20s.
• A tall table near the entry was once a church confessional in Mexico. The pub's main door is from India and Kenny claims the cast iron railings around the patio remind him of his hometown, Dublin.
• Executive chef Ian Feiwus and sous chef Steven Morris dish out above average pub grub.
• Menu standouts are the stout root beer float (Guiness stout and root beer poured over vanilla bean ice cream) and tandoori chicken skewers.
• The warm goat cheese salad will appease peeps that prefer a light meal. Conversely, the drunken steak sandwich is a hearty way to start off a lager-filled night.
• What's a pub without Shepherd's Pie? An impostor, that's what. Capitol has pie and homemade pizza.
• There are 60-70 bottles of beer and 12 on draught.
• The crowd is a diverse mix of people living in the neighborhood, European transplants, college students and mid- to older-aged patrons.
Quick Magazine - November 15, 2007
Dallas Observer - November 29, 2007
I have always been a member of the Church of We-Have-to-Save-Downtown. Whatever that means. I sing in the choir. It's a lifelong expression of my profound wannabe urban cosmopolitology. A religion.
Why? Obvious. Because downtown is...uh, well it's down. And it's...you know...town.
Now all of a sudden I have doubts. We see all kinds of cosmopolite activity all around downtown in concentric rings, most of it developing without any help from and often in spite of City Hall. I'm talking about whole areas of the inner city that seem to want to burst up through the grime and redevelop on their own.
So we have to pour billions into saving the embalmed, asbestos-filled towers of downtown why?
A weekend ago I went on that annual gallery tour they do every year in the Cedars area just across the freeway south of downtown. Last time I went was three years ago. Back then it was still your typical Dallas moonscape of artists separated from crack-heads by bales of concertina wire. Instead of an art stroll it was more of an art trot with your eyes over your shoulders at all times.
This year I saw absolutely amazing change. From Buzz condominiums on Akard (new construction, $160,000 to $350,000) to The Beat Condominiums right across the street from the Jack Evans Police Headquarters on South Lamar (new construction, ready next spring): Very serious money is being poured into the ground in this recently embattled area just outside downtown.
It's going on all over in the inner city. Just not downtown. It sneaks up on me even in my own neck of the woods.
A week ago on a Sunday afternoon I'm driving down Henderson Avenue south from Central Expressway toward my little neighborhood, and I have a head-snapping experience that makes me feel like I might be experiencing a mild aneurysm.
There were certain tunnels of junk you had to drive through to get to my part of East Dallas. Gaston Avenue—oh, I used to love Gaston, back before it cleaned itself up. Gaston was like the dark scary pathway through the forest that Dorothy and the Tin Man have to traverse to get to Oz. Henderson was like that. I always figured Henderson helped scare the weenies back into the Park Cities.
So I'm driving down Henderson; I turn barely to my right, and there before my very eyes is a large and inviting woody, rocky, smoky, cozy-looking place called The Capitol Pub. On a Sunday afternoon the place is absolutely jammed with 20-something, employed-looking couples of the serious car payment variety.
For a split second I think, "I must have just gotten fatally rear-ended by a 1989 Pontiac La Felonia, the occupants of which are even now soaring over backyard fences like eagles, and this must be urban heaven." I pull into the next driveway to check for signs of stroke. This should be the parking lot of Jerry's Market. And now I am seriously disoriented.
Jerry's Market was always a wild and wacky jumble of people selling piñatas, telling fortunes and shaking their fists at each other. But in its place I see the sleek, emerging bones of a cool new oasis still under construction.
Somewhere in here I can still see the faint outline of Jerry's, but it looks like somebody has gone over Jerry's with a powerful chic-blaster. A sign on a door tells me part of this building will soon be the Glo Lounge.
Now as I pull back out onto Henderson my eyes are open at last, and I see all the same things I saw in the Cedars the weekend before—really serious investment, residential and commercial development just popping up out of the ground all over the place. This is all stuff the land-holders downtown would give their right gargoyles for. And it comes from where? From whom?
So later last week I went back and found out whom—the Andres brothers, Marc and Roger. Their grandparents, Harry and Chaya Andres, ran a grocery store where the Meyerson Symphony Center is now. Their father bought property in this area. They went to St. Mark's, UT and UCLA in the late '70s and early '80s, and then they came back to the family business, which by then was real estate. Now they sort of own Henderson, or at least control it.
"We've been here a long time," Marc told me. "We plan on being here a long time. We're not just financially vested in the area but mentally and physically, as you can see."
The transformation of Henderson has been nothing short of phenomenal. It has broken into public view so quickly and so recently that even I, who drive this street several times a week, didn't see it until I saw it.
In their offices a block down Henderson from Central Expressway, Roger and Marc Andres showed me before and after pictures. They were explaining that the Capitol Pub, which looks as if it has been there forever, just opened days before I drove by and saw it packed with thirsty payment-makers.
Like the old Jerry's, the building occupied by Capitol Pub is a very creative reuse of an existing older structure. Roger referred to one of the previous tenants as "Wino Pizza," which I took to be a derisive shorthand, until he showed me the before picture. There it was on the front of the building—a brightly colored sign that said, "Wino Pizza."
Also lost from the area, thanks to the recent changes, is a business named "Jugs" that was next door to a business named "Buns."
You know, you live in East Dallas long enough—or too long—and you develop a certain blind eye for sleaze. I wonder how many mature Parkies got only this far and started shrieking at each other, "Jugs, Buns, Wino Pizza! Turn the car around!"
Or their children: "'Jugs, Buns, Wino Pizza.' Park the car."
The Andres brothers drove me up and down Henderson but also deeper into the neighborhoods on both sides, where block after block of down-at-the-heels 1920s bungalows have been scraped to make way for fancy-pants condo and apartment developments.
I don't want to get into a whole thing here about gentrification and affordable housing, which are important issues. I have known enough people and families in these little neighborhoods to know that you had two kinds of residents previous to this change.
There were stable, upwardly mobile Mexican-American families who bought these houses for $10,000 in the mid-'70s and have now sold them for $250,000. They're up and out—the American dream.
Then you had completely ghastly God-awful crime-bin apartment buildings like the one my wife chased a purse-snatcher into in the early 1980s because when my wife gets mad she gets totally crazy. When I had to do the manly thing and go in there to look for her purse I was so scared I thought I was going to cry.
Sorry. I do not miss that building. Good riddance, and I hope they moved the whole thing—lock, stock and barrel—to Irving, which deserves it.
Because the Andreses are young, because they know this ground like the backs of their hands, and because their father got them into the area on a good basis, they have been able to perfectly capture the new zeitgeist.
"The planners always talk about how they want to develop 'live and work' environments," Marc said. "We think it's live and play."
The young payment-makers don't care where they work, he said. They work all over. But they want to live and play in a streetscape where they can walk their dogs to the Capitol Pub, meet friends and maybe do some more pub crawling without risking a D.U.I. Like in Paris.
My guess is that the opportunity the Andreses have spotted on Henderson is just a few degrees off from what somebody else sees in the area between Baylor University Medical Center and downtown, which is just a twist and a turn different from what somebody else sees in the Cedars, in Uptown or Bishop Arts.
Each of these areas happens because it taps into the new emerging urban class. That's not unique to Dallas. It's national. But each one happens a little differently on its own turf—and works—because somebody like the Andres brothers is right there waiting for it, knows the ground and also, for whatever reason, happens to be in the right position.
I worry that the old downtown is in the wrong position. I don't think many of the people holding downtown are especially tuned to the zeitgeist. The übermeister of downtown, Robert Decherd of Belo Corp., seems to think the secret will be tidier parks.
I was here a few decades ago when the owners of downtown did everything they could to scour away the sidewalk-level streetscape, which they thought was dirty and cheap. Now reproducing it from scratch is proving to be daunting.
Plus, when have you ever seen a single big government initiative to make things happen in real estate that ever worked? Especially in a top-down town like Dallas, how do we know we aren't just looking at 12 guys who hold a bad hand full of downtown real estate who are trying to use our tax money to bail themselves out?
Given the incredible energy bubbling up in the concentric rings, why wouldn't we just wait for the market to work itself out naturally in those areas? Then maybe 10 years from now there will be so many people jammed in cheek by jowl all around the edges of downtown and the rents will be so high, all of a sudden redoing those old asbestos silos downtown will begin to pay out.
I'm still a devout cosmopolitologist. But I'm kind of back-sliding on my faith in the Church of We-Have-to-Save-Downtown. I may go across the street and join the Church of Let-Downtown-Save-Itself.
Dallas Morning News - December 22, 2007
Change is one of the only guarantees we have in our lives. Sometimes it happens overnight and sometimes it takes a lifetime.
Such is the case with Henderson Avenue in Dallas and the current facelift the area is undergoing. It may look like it's happened overnight. But the truth is that it's been a decades-long, demand-based process.
Four restaurants, a pub, a salon, a lounge and a gelato shop are all opening their doors at Henderson and Capitol avenues, approximately one-half mile east of Central Expressway.
And there is more enterprising in the works. Capitol Center and The Shops on Henderson are being developed by Andres Properties, one of the major property owners along the 1.1-mile stretch of road between Central Expressway and Ross Avenue.
It all started in 1956, when Marc and Roger Andres' grandmother bought a property on lower Greenville.
Andres Properties still owns and manages that property today, which is home to eight businesses, along with approximately 75 tenants along Henderson Avenue.
"We have been buying one lot at a time to aggregate enough land to be able to create something," Marc Andres says. The Andres brothers have seen the area shift from a collection of muffler shops, laundry mats, electrical supply houses and grocery stores to what is becoming an extension of the trendy entertainment hubs of Knox Street and Uptown.
In 1987, a story published in an area newspaper announced: "North Henderson retail area revived through renovations."
"They began their first renovations about three years ago and have tackled parcels one by one ... What's happened is a gradual improvement of the area," the article reads. Gradual is key to this story.
"There's been some stick-to-itiveness, some perseverance," Marc Andres says. "In the last 18 months, more has happened than in the prior 25 years. But because we've been able to do it over the past 25 years, it enabled this 18-month cycle to happen so quickly."
Joe Cleveland of Cleveland Properties is completing the tenant finish-out of two businesses at Henderson and Capitol. Capitol Pub was the first to open on Nov. 6.
"Everyone is preparing for the cycle that is coming here," Mr. Cleveland says. "For a while you couldn't see it. You heard people talking about what was happening, but now you can see it. Uptown is too expensive, so everyone is coming over to the other side of Central – bringing all the demand over here."
In 2006, Andres Properties snatched up two struggling Hispanic-oriented grocery stores. With sales down, Carnival and Jerry's Supermarket closed their doors on the same day. The former Jerry's building is being molded into The Shops on Henderson. And the Carnival location, east on Henderson just before Ross, is home to "one of the biggest, exciting new things that will happen in this neighborhood," Roger Andres says.
The mixed-use project will involve removing a 30-year-old store that is functionally obsolete and replacing it with retail, restaurants and 250 apartment units.
Apartment developers United Dominion Realty Trust, Trammell Crow and Phoenix Property Co. are making way for construction of approximately 1,500 units in the vicinity of this Henderson growth. There are also townhomes and condominiums in the works, creating a walkable urban environment for the new businesses.
It's a live and play environment, Marc Andres says. "We didn't invent it, but we have observed it. It's that 'Cheers' mentality, where you are living near the neighborhood pub," he says.
While the area gets ready for the influx of new residents, Capitol Pub is already becoming a neighborhood hangout. The run-down building used to be home to a shoe shop, a pool hall and a hair salon. Now, a high-beamed ceiling, dark wood accents, a couple of flat-screen TVs and a large bar display create the comfortable ambience that Capitol Pub owner Peter Kenny was seeking. There is a patio and an outdoor stone fireplace as well.
"I liked the Henderson area and all the things that were coming together and developing," Mr. Kenny says. "The timing was right. I thought they [the Andres brothers] were going in a little early, but I believe in the neighborhood. The west side of 75 has taken it as far as they can, and now it's pushing over on this side."
Logically following the "If you build it, they will come" tenet, residential development follows the commercial development – and then you have urban living.
"A better word that we like to use is 'organic' because this is like the natural urban," Marc Andres says. "It's organic because this has sort of naturally happened. People want this to happen – and there is no city money involved. No widening of roads or someone behind it saying you need to make this a certain way."
Quick Magazine - December 27, 2007
Corner now has its Capitol
Every gentrifying neighborhood needs a hip, new bar.
Capitol Pub fills that role nicely. The bar sits on a stretch of Henderson Avenue once dominated by Spanish-language businesses. The area now sprouts with retail shops and condos.
Capitol Pub's aesthetic is almost Uptown-ish. It has a large patio with a fireplace; a clean dark-wood interior and a long beer list. The menu is stocked with sandwiches and pizza, plus some fun items such as fried blue-cheese-stuffed olives.
Overall, the place isn't exactly unique. But it works for people who enjoy a certain formula. The pub has been packed since it opened about a month ago.
On a recent Friday around 9p.m., we stood around for a few minutes, waiting for an empty table to open up. (Note: This is a good time to arrive. By 11, people fill the aisles.)
Spoon's "Turn My Camera On" played, not too loudly. Men and women in jeans and sweaters, most of them in their late 20s and up, huddled and talked.
The place felt festive and warm. Cords of pine garland looped along the exposed wooden ceiling rafters, where Christmas ornaments dangled. Large windows offered views of the patio.
Capitol Pub has 12 beers on tap and a list of interesting bottles. The menu is ambitious, too, although sometimes it falls flat. We had the most luck with basics such as the chicken sandwich and cheese plate.
This might be a new-pub thing, but the crowd gets dressier as it gets later. If you're ending up at a chic upper-Henderson lounge, you might fit right in.
What to wear: Whatever you want.
What the music is like: An eclectic playlist compiled by staff. We heard Nirvana and the White Stripes. During brunch it's jazz and soul; happy hour is Brit-pop and other mellow stuff.
Drink of choice: A brewski. Golden Monkey from Pennsylvania is our must-try for next time.
Parking: There's a small lot directly behind the bar, and plenty of space across the street in the former Jerry's supermarket parking lot.
Cover: None, except on New Year's Eve, because of the live band.
Bottom line: Great for folks in the neighborhood. It may not lure anyone else away from their usual cozy haunt, though.
Dallas Morning News FDluxe.com - June 2008
Christened for its location at the corner of Henderson and Capitol, the latest venture from Irishman Peter Kinney (The Dubliner, Old Monk and Idle Rich) has been drawing crowds since its November opening. The Lure? A laid-back neighborhood ambience, stepped-up bar food (sirloin burgers, seared rare tuna salad, pork shanks in mango chipotle sauce) and a huge selection of international beer, wine, champagne, and Scotch and Irish whiskeys. Good to know: Spots on the shady wraparound porch go first, especially during peak times on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday brunch.
Dallas Morning News Guide - June 13, 2008
Texas Monthly - July 2008
D Magazine - December 2008
Where there is brunch, there is eggs Benedict. Every Saturday and Sunday should begin with this decadent combination of English muffin, sharp Canadian bacon, soft poached eggs, and rich hollandaise sauce. A few of our favorite eggs Benedicts around town:
TODD JOHNSON: CAPITOL PUB
It could be the hip Henderson Avenue address or the cozy bar-and-grill vibe. No matter. There's something special about Capitol Pub and its classic, no-frills, heavy-on-the-hollandaise eggs Benedict. Pierce the yolk of the perfectly poached eggs and sop up every last golden drop. Wash it down with Capitol's spicy Bloody Mary. It's Sunday morning at its brunch best.
Quick Magazine - February 2011
FOR THE PARTY-GOERS: THE CAPITOL PUB
Options are a good thing, like fake names to give to annoying dudes at the bar. And dipping sauces. The Capitol Pub is a great place to have drinks, but the food is pretty great too, and we usually end up ordering a plate of their delicious hand-cut fries — complete with a sauce trio — around the third or fourth Franconia. These are a bit thicker than some others on our list, which is fine, because the more surface area to scoop up the sauce, the better. You've got six sauce options to choose from, but we usually go for the loaded potato, smoked ranch and the basil mayo for a proper beer-laden feast.
NBC DFW / Around Town