Von Trapp’s brings bocce, bier and brats to 12th Ave

The Hill is alive with the sound of beer steins and bocce balls chasing the pallino. Our sister site Capitol Hill Seattle first broke the news about a beer hall and those most-exciting bowling courts coming to 12th Ave last July. This week, the team behind Poquitos will open Von Trapp’s, now described as a “Bavarian-inspired bier hall” with with five indoor bocce courts, two mezzanines, three bars, and a fireside “bier den.”

The space is enormous.

“We wanted to create something for everybody — including families,” Deming Maclise, one of the partners behind the venture tells CHS. Maclise told CHS his wife hails from Austria — so she can vouch for boules being a legit Bavarian pastime. In the meantime, Maclise and friends have built a beer hall seemingly big enough to hold every family on Capitol Hill.

An equally epic press release on the new addition to 12th Ave is below. “Beer will obviously be central to Von Trapp’s,” it notes. You can check out the roster of taps, below. Doug Wargo, formerly at Quinn’s, will manage Von Trapp’s beery bar. Cocktails, beer-based, are also available though a Bavarian cocktail hall just doesn’t have the same ring.

Like Poquitos and siblings Bastille and Macleod’s, Von Trapp’s is one notch over the top while remaining sincere to its theme — and just a little clever. It is large enough to feel like three or four separate spaces — Maclise says they toyed with the idea at one point of opening a separate restaurant in part of the building. On entry, you’ll find a hearth and seating area warmed by the fire. A grand stairway leads to one of two mezzanine seating areas. The bench stools, tables and front bar of Von Trapp’s are the brightest area of the hall. The back bar behind the bocce courts is as dark as the wood it is made out of. By spring, there will be even more Von Trapp’s as an outdoor patio — and two more bowling courts — are planned. Poquitos, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.

The new joint will celebrate its official opening Sunday, February 10th. Hours are 4 PM to 2 AM daily. You might notice some preview and early opening activity around the place in the meantime. Scratch one more from the CHS list of 20 new restaurants and bars to look forward to in 2013.

The opening comes after Metis Construction’s $500,000+ overhaul of the buildings that most recently were home to a furniture store, a hookah bar and a parking lot. The Strata Architects-designed Von Trapp’s spreads out, now, next to classic college bar The Chieftain — home of the 10 minute ID check — and the mixologist-ic Canon which opened in August, 2011 and helped the further expansion of “Capitol Hill” food and drink onto 12th.

Pete Fjosne steps out of the shadows at Bastille — another part of the Poquitos constellation — to head Von Trapp’s kitchen. Expect plenty of sausages and sauerkraut. Expect pretzels. Expect a menu with a “sausage glossary.” Also expect a new appreciation for smoked and cured meats on Capitol Hill with The Old Sage also prepping to open on 12th and Anchovies & Olive’s little brother Bar Cotto about to open on 15th. Von Trapp’s has the will — and the space — to make most everything in-house from the pretzels to the smoked meats.

As for those bocce courts, Von Trapp’s is planning a mix of reservations and keeping some open for walk-ins. Leagues are planned, the press release below notes. You’ll also find shufflepuck and, yes, some of the bocce balls glow in the dark. Kids — especially ones wearing lederhosen — are also welcome in the hall and on the courts before 10 PM. After that, well, you know what comes next…

The press release:

Von Trapp’s to Open on Capitol Hill
Bavarian-inspired Bier Hall with Indoor Bocce Ball

SEATTLE, February 5, 2013 – Von Trapp’s is the latest venture from prolific Seattle restaurateurs, James Weimann and Deming Maclise. Revered for their design aesthetic and attention to details at Bastille Café & Bar, Poquitos, and Macleod’s Scottish Pub, Weimann and Maclise are known for traveling the globe in search of vintage and salvaged pieces to create vibrant spaces. Von Trapp’s promises to bring genuine Bavarian fun to Capitol Hill when it opens its doors at 4pm on Sunday, February 10.

Located at 912 12th Avenue in a former 1940’s candy factory, Von Trapp’s is a 420-seat Bavarian-inspired bier hall and restaurant complete with five indoor bocce courts, two mezzanines, three bars, and a fireside “bier den.” House-made sausages, a robust beer program, and salvaged and vintage finds from everywhere from Vienna to Munich to Prague complete the remarkable 10,000 square-foot space.

Weimann and Maclise have been thinking about this concept for years and were thrilled to find the perfect space for it last year. They’ve been working closely with Rich Fox and Dustin Watson, who are managing partners at their hugely popular Mexican restaurant and bar, Poquitos. The four will continue their partnership at Von Trapp’s, with Fox and Watson running the show.

“One of the most rewarding parts of being in the restaurant industry is putting together a great team,” says Weimann. “Rich and Dustin are enthusiastic, full of great ideas, and have developed a dynamic and very effective co-management system,” adds Maclise. “We are thrilled to have them as our partners in both ventures.”

Von Trapp’s boasts a colossal bier hall with tall wooden tables and benches inspired by Munich’s famed Hofbräuhaus, plus a back bar, two large mezzanines, and a more intimate “bier den.” Aside from the five indoor bocce ball courts—two more of which will be added to an outdoor patio area in the spring—there’s also shuffleboard and other gaming.

Grand wooden railings salvaged from the McCaw Mansion in Medina lead the way up to the front mezzanine and stunning Viennese chandeliers hang from the ceilings on the main floor. Local elk heads, leather club chairs, booth seating, and a colossal Austrian fireplace complete the “bier den,” and large Belgian doors and pane windows make up one wall of the bier hall. As they did for their other restaurants, Weimann and Maclise went on a scouting trip to five countries, returning home with, among scores of others finds, an entire set of bistro walls from Austria, a Parisian Metro clock, porcelain finials, and inspiration from everywhere from Northern Italy to San Francisco.

Fox and Watson, along with Matt Fundingsland, another member of the Poquitos team, will be dividing their time between the two restaurants. Doug Wargo, previously of Quinn’s Pub, will be the bar manager and brings with him an extensive knowledge of all things beer.

Beer will obviously be central to Von Trapp’s; there will be 25 drafts, half of which will change frequently. The beer selection will be divided 50/50 between European and West Coast beers, and with the selection of bottled beers, there will be about 100 beers total. There are also plans for a growler program and a weekly beer tasting in the “bier den.”

The draft beer list will look something like this: Steigl Lager, Veltins Pilsner, Spaten Lager, Maisel Dunkel Weisse, Franziskaner Hefeweizen, Benediktiner Weissbier, Paulaner Salvator, Auer Schneebock, Bayreuther Landbier, Bayreuther Zwick’l, Kellarbier, Kostritzer Schwartzbier, St Bernadus Tripel, La Trappe Dubbel, Verhaeghe, Duchesse De Bourgogne, Odin’s Gift Amber, Firestone Walker DBA, Schooner Exact 3, Grid IPA, Good Life Descender IPA, Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA, Elysian Dragonstooth Stout, Georgetown Manny’s Pale, Anthem Apple Cider, and two nitro beers, Hales HSB and North Coast Old Rasputin.

Erik Carlson, the bar manager at Bastille, has put together the cocktail menu, which will consist largely of beer-based cocktails. Cocktails will include: Barrel aged Saab {rye, house-made IPA cordial, Rossbacher, Angostura, and orange bitters} Billy Dawson’s Revenge {bourbon, Cognac, Jamaican Rum, lemon, allspice dram, and Dunkel Weiss} Fire & Knife Cup {mezcal, rhubarb amaro, grapefruit cordial, lime, lager, and chile salt} Roll Pin Shandy {scotch, pear brandy, lemon, orgeat, double IPA, and Boker’s bitters}, and Hogue Avenger Fizz {rye, Averna amaro, lemon, cassis, and pale ale}. Traditional Bavarian aperitifs, such as Underberg, will also be showcased.

Von Trapp’s chef duties belong to Pete Fjosne, who honed his charcuterie and sausage making skills and established relationships with local purveyors and farmers over the past three years as the sous chef at Bastille under Jason Stoneburner. Von Trapp’s menu features locally sourced high-level Bavarian-inspired dishes and classics such as pretzels, sauerkraut, and sausages, all of which will be made in-house. Fjosne recently spent a month traveling in New York and Germany, researching brats, sausages, sauerkraut, and all things Bavarian.

Fjosne worked closely with Stoneburner on menu development, and the two have been using the ‘Buffalo Chopper’ meat grinder to come up with a standout selection of sausages, as well as house-made sauerkrauts, pickles, mustards, and pretzels. The menu includes a sausage glossary with descriptions and ingredients for some of the more obscure varieties of sausages.

The Wurst section includes: Cheddarwurst, Bockwurst, Polish Kielbasa, Bratwurst, Bratwurst, Nuremberg, and Wollwurst served with sauerkraut and fresh horseradish. The Meat/Cheese/Snacks section includes: Sea Salt Pretzels, Landjager, Beef Brisket Goulash, German Potato Pancakes, and Cheddarwurst Sausage Sliders. The Plattes section includes: Sauerbraten, Chicken Wiener Schnitzel, Kasespatzle, and Pfeffersteak. The menu also includes a handful of Flammekuchen, a type of traditional crispy German flatbread, salads, sandwiches, and a Kinder (kids) menu that includes: Grandma’s Roast Pork with potato dumplings and gravy, Chicken Schnitzel with pommes frites, and Potato Pancakes with applesauce.

Weimann and Maclise worked with Metis Construction for the build-out of the space. Metis, who also worked on Poquitos, has a great team of talented craftsmen that carefully restored and integrated the many vintage pieces and also built custom tables and benches to complete the look of Von Trapp’s. Amoreena Miller of Strata Architects was the architect for the project.

Von Trapp’s will be open daily from 4pm – 2am, with weekend brunch and weekday lunch hours being introduced in the near future. Dinner will be served from 5pm to 11pm. Happy hour will be daily from 3pm – 6pm, and a late night menu will be offered from 11pm – 1am. Bocce ball courts will be available for hourly rentals, and there are plans for bocce leagues in the future. Dinner reservations are accepted and can be made by calling 206.325.5409 or online at www.vontrapps.com.

A few of the bocce ball courts will accept reservations, and the others will be reserved for walk-ins. For guests interested in reserving bocce ball courts, booking large parties, or private events, please contact Molly Pluger at [email protected].


9 thoughts on “Von Trapp’s brings bocce, bier and brats to 12th Ave

  1. How great is it to see places like this coming to the 12th Ave. corridor. Maybe Squire Park can become the new Pike/Pine!

  2. Muggings are happening on busy streets too, more drunks = more trouble always. While I look forward to this bar opening, I shudder to think of another pike/pine situation or belltown. Gross.

  3. Agreed on the angry drunks but my impression is that yuppies & hipsters typically don’t pull guns and knives on each other. They are stupid enough to fist fight but given that they might have a job, typically aren’t stupid enough to do something to hurt innocent bystanders. Not clear on where they source their drugs or if that trade follows them.

  4. Glad to see that it’s kid friendly. A couple of my good friends have kids and we are always limited to the places we can meet up for a beer.

  5. This place is NOT kid friendly. They only have two table in the whole place they allow kids. We went Saturday night at 5:15 and there were a bunch of families with children out front on the sidewalk. We were excited that the place did indeed seem kid friendly. But when we went inside we were told that the wait for the two (yes two) kid allowed tables was well over two hours. Now we know why the large number of families were out front; they were trying to give out where to have dinner. I asked the hostess if they always have only the two tables, they said ‘well, sometimes we use these two also’. Pretty sad for a place of 10,000 sqft. This wouldn’t really brother me except one of the owners is quoted implying families welcome.