A new pub in town, The Capital, opened its doors in late June, ushering Whitehorse back to an era of dandies and bawdy houses.
I stopped by for Happy Hour, before heading out to the Sunstroke Music Festival, and have made repeat visits ever since.
Far from the previous incarnation of The Capital, which closed down some time ago, the décor is all wood panelling and exposed beams and, therefore, rather dark (it isn’t gloomy). The style is historic kitsch with tables topped with cheesecake photos of Gold Rush girls.
The tables are long and seat quite a few and the entire bar is narrow but lengthy. There is a stuffed bison head, mounted on a side wall, and a pool table that takes up a lot of the front floor.
A great aspect of the bar and something my friend Jessica Vellenga really enjoyed was the atmosphere the servers and bartenders worked in. It felt like they have really got into the spirit of things, with the men dressed as gentlemen of the Gold Rush era, with vests and puffy shirts. The female bartenders all wear brightly coloured corsets, making the pub seem very glam and classy.
However, glam and historic don’t seem to come cheap for Whitehorse patrons. Regular prices for spirits and beer range from $8 a pint and $6 for spirits (add $1 for mix). That’s when the wonderful time of Happy Hour comes into play.
The bar knocks a few dollars off beer and spirits, so my Stolichnaya vodka and cranberry highball came to $5 instead of $7. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. To catch Happy Hour while it’s hot, stop by The Capital between 4 to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays.
They also have a small appetizer menu with items ranging from hummus and pita to a variety of fried items. Prices start from $11.
The clientèle seems quite varied: young people mix it up with the middle-aged, playing pool or chatting. It’s open and accessible for everyone looking to relax after work and soak in a bit of history.
“I think they have a good thing going on. I wonder how it will do once it stops being new; will people be paying that much for a beer?” says Ian, my partner. He’s right; it’s rather upscale and not neighbourhood pub low-key friendly, so they are in a different niche that might be hard to fill.
The key for The Capital is to enjoy Happy Hour and take visitors to the Yukon there. It’s a slice of Whitehorse, Yukon, in a classy, relaxed atmosphere centrally located at 103 Main Street, across from Baked Café.