From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Hit the Deck!

By Lani Gering

Hit the Deck!

I just couldn’t wrap my head around something special to write about this month. The Harbor celebrated 10 years last month and that was pretty big news so I got to thinking about how to top that. I decided to take on the mindless task of sorting through the business cards in my purse in order to clear my head around 2 a.m. on the 26th and there it was. Derek Lovato’s card. He just happens to be the GM of the Capital Wheel operations as well as a very good guy. We have become fast Harbor friends over the last year or so. It donned on me that the Wheel celebrates its 4th Anniversary this month so I decided we needed to pump it up!

The Wheel is the result of another of National Harbor developer Milt Peterson’s inspirations. It followed on the heels of the installation of the much loved Carousel. Like many things in the Harbor, it was met with mixed emotions. Residents thought it would be too noisy and too “bright” – why move into a resort area and expect some music and lights? (That’s a subject for another column) Needless to say, I don’t believe the Wheel has caused anyone any consternation other than being a beautiful addition to the waterfront.

It did get off to a bit of a rough start.  The initial cost of tickets (almost unaffordable for an average family of 4 if you wanted to do anything else in the Harbor) and the fact that the concession that was promised at the base was non-existent were probably the major issues. In the last 4 years, they have both been addressed. Ticket prices have been lowered and there are several fun packages that can be purchased and the Flight Deck is back in operation.

In addition to having the best waterfront view at the Harbor, this outdoor lounge features beer, wine, champagne and soft drinks. You also have the option of taking said beverages for a ride and if you really want to impress, purchase the Capital Wheel commemorative cup for a mere $8 so you can “Sip While You Soar” in style!

The Flight Deck is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Happy “Hours” on the weekend during May but will be open every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day with extended hours. The cost of the beer and wine is pretty much in line with the rest of the bars and restaurants in the Harbor but all of the “adult beverages” are deeply discounted for the first “four” hours after opening on Saturday and Sunday. Not a bad way to start out a sunny weekend afternoon!

At this point there isn’t any “real” food served on The Deck. Available now are Virginia Peanut Company peanuts for the adults and assorted Dippin’Dots – I’m still unclear just exactly what these are – for the kids so I suggest that you grab a snack before you “Hit the Deck”!

The Capital Wheel and the Flight Deck are perfect for celebrations, group outings, special events as well as just drinks with friends. The Deck has a 145 person capacity so can accommodate a gathering of pretty much any mid-size event. They have bar packages starting at $17/per person, per hour that can be customized to your taste.

Maybe make the following a sidebar thing:

May Hours:

Friday: 4 to 10 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 12 to 10 pm

Happy Hours: 12 to 4 pm

Capital Wheel Hours:

Monday-Friday 4 pm to 10 pm

Saturday & Sunday 12 to 10 pm

Memorial Day thru Labor Day Hours:

Monday-Friday 4 pm to 11 pm

Saturday & Sunday 12 to 11 pm

Happy Hours: 12 to 4 pm

Capital Wheel Hours:

Daily 10 am to 12 Midnight

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