Caps and Corks, Jack of All Trades for your Drinking Needs

Caps and Corks is a neighborhood bottle shop but also pub offering both beers and wine and mixed drinks in the Pearl District/Slabtown area. I'm not sure who writes their little tidbits on the Facebook feed, but I always enjoy reading them. During my first visit on a Thursday evening, I was surprised to see all the tables in the front and the main front area all occupied by other relaxing 20-30 somethings, but the back, where the air conditioning replaced the summer breeze, was empty. Perhaps everyone was trying to soak in as much sunlight while we had it, and the darker back portion didn't offer that, even though it had the more comfy deep booths. A short time later, suddenly everyone was gone- and I realized they came on the Brewcycle. So, if you arrive and you see it parked out front, go on in- the "crowd" will only be there for a short period.

The full bar is stocked with many kinds of liquors so that they can concoct whatever your regular standard drink is (and can do so even using local liquors), but they don't offer a cocktail menu of their own recipes, save a few that mix alcohols in "Beertails", such as one I saw that put a porter and champagne together. They also had three large cooler units full of bottles of regional beer and cider with a few other offerings from other locations thrown in to give you a lot of beer options, as well as a rotation of 7 additional beer on taps and wines written on the chalkboard (I admit I did not study the wine offerings on this trip). There is a minimal corkage fee if you decide to drink your bottle (beer or wine) here instead of taking it to go.

They offer some bites to go along with all their beverages. The happy hour here is called "191 Merry Minutes", lasting from 3-6:11 with lots of snackity options for less than $5 , ranging from the expected burger, fries, tots, pizza, mac and cheese options to a few luxuries such as Chicken and Gravy Slider ("On a buttermilk biscuit, covered in gravy to help it sliiiiiiiide.") or Bacon Wrapped Asparagus (described as "Bacon, hugging its vegetable friend, in a bleu cheese bath."). Also, on Mondays they have "Burger Monday" with options of 10 different burgers along with tots and a beer and a pint- a happy meal for adults. They also seem to have a Saturday/Sunday brunch with supposedly very good bloody marys.

I went during none of these times, so ordered off the regular menu. Our 3 orders of a Cheese plate of 3 cheeses, Bourbon Fried Chicken with house made bourbon batter (with 2 sides- I selected tots and a mixed greens salad), Veggie Burger with roasted garlic, caramelized onions, and blue cheese on a toasted kaiser roll (with selected side of double tots) all arrived simultaneously.

I tend to be more forgiving of bar food, but I was pleasantly surprised that the dishes we got had good flavor, even if they did lean towards the greasy. For the cheese plate, the cuts of cheese were thin but the herbed goat cheese was spreadable and buttery, and the doughy fresh bread and big helping of house-pickled vegetables that we used to cut through the fat of all our dishes was very welcome. The chicken meat was moist with crispy skin that was cooked well, and the vinaigrette on the mixed greens was a good counter that was not too acidic or oily, but I couldn't detect much seasoning or the advertised bourbon. The veggie burger was the least appetizing looking with its shiny smothering of roasted garlic combined with caramelized onions and blue cheese, but all those toppings also brought flavor and juiciness to a burger which after all, is veggie… by adding a lot of fat.

The service here was very friendly- you go up to the bar with your selected bottle selection for them to open and give you glasses, as well as order your food, which they will then bring to your table. They will also provide water and check on you often to make sure you aren't wanting for anything, be it more beverages, napkins, or taking plates out of your way.

Caps and Corks seems to want to try to offer enough of everything to satisfy whatever your drink crave is and earn their place as your local neighborhood bar, but are ambitious enough to be aspire to offer levels above a mix of beer bottle shop, wine bar, and local dive bar. A jack of all trades is an expert at none, but a jack of all trades is also quite handy to get the job done of satisfying multiple tastes in your party, or just within you depending on your mood.

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  1. Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

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