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Beloved Nonpartisan Pub Capitol Lounge Announces It Will Close After 26 Years

Despite a strong pandemic-era push for business, the bar could not survive

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Reliable dive Capitol Lounge, a go-to for locals, Hill staffers, and college sports fans alike, will close this month after a 26-year run. The brick-lined bar (229 Pennsylvania Avenue SE) will pour its last beer on Sunday, September 20, according to a social media post published today.

The affordable pub was founded by prolific nightlife entrepreneur Joe Englert. Its motto was, “No Politics. No Miller Lite.” It was known for weekday specials like half-off pizza on Mondays; 25-cent wings on Tuesdays; and $5 Bloody Marys and mimosas during weekend brunch. As the home of the Michigan State University Alumni Association of Greater Washington, March Madness and college football season were big money-making sporting events.

The worn-in bar made a valiant effort to make ends meet since the dawn of the pandemic, immediately pivoting to takeout and delivery in March and unveiling a newly covered patio area in June. Sales of its 25-year anniversary T-Shirts aimed to support staff. This week the bar revealed it applied for a Facebook small business grant, but was denied.

Pandemic-era deals included gallons of its house jungle juice “to get you through quarantine like it got you through a bad frat party!”; Nationals opening day to-go kits filled out by peanuts, beer, and wings; virtual happy hours; and a bingo promotion with Devil’s Backbone. The bar also functioned as a drop-off site for supplies for protesters in June.

The Southeast neighborhood lost another long-running staple to COVID-19 with the closure of 20-year-old French bistro Montmartre in May.

Capitol Lounge

229 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast, , DC 20003 (202) 547-2098 Visit Website