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Von Trapp’s is a Bavarian-themed bar with Italian bocce courts. Of course everything about Von Trapp’s seems preposterous, from its name to its faux bier hall setup that, by the way, resembles a 4-H exhibition shed. But that’s like complaining that the Venetian in Vegas doesn’t resemble Venice.

Haters don’t get its allure. But plenty do.

Von Trapp’s, which celebrates its one year anniversary this Sunday, is easily the most popular bar to debut in Seattle in 2013 — the most talked about, for sure.

The 10,000-square-foot space can hold about 450 and still, if you don’t get here by 9:30 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday, you can expect to wait in a line that stretches down the block. (You don’t want to see how long the line gets when the weather warms up.)

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You are going to get all worked up if you came expecting authentic Bavarian grub or compare it to that special bier hall from your European backpacking trip. Von Trapp’s is just a beer joint, a big one. All that Bavarian motif is secondary.

Patrons come to stake a corner to catch a game on one of the 14 screens. Or hover around the two large bars with the eclectic beer list. Or grab a big table for their large party.

Von Trapp’s fills a lot of niches on the hill that other bars can’t.

It’s remarkable how fast the food comes out given the sheer volume of bodies in here.

The happy-hour grub, though, is hit and miss. Some, like dry hard pretzel bites and cold doner kebab, can be skipped. The best bites here were the crunchy sauerkraut croquettes, stuffed with speck, Emmental cheese and topped with dill aioli.

A large party would do better with a mound of golden, salty fries ($4) and a large crispy German flatbread piled with bacon, onions and sour cream ($12). That’s a lot of food for under $20.

An admirable range of beers is offered, from old country brews to local suds.

You can order beer by the liter here, which may explain why I’ve seen more patrons throw up on this block than anywhere else after midnight.

Even at 4:30 p.m. on a recent Friday, it was packed, filled with the after-work rush and college students, hoisting tall beers with thick heads and playing a raunchy game of “Cards Against Humanity.”

Von Trapp’s, 912 12th Ave., will offer $1 pretzels, $4-$8 drinks and other sausage and beer specials for its birthday bash on Sunday Feb. 9. The bar offers happy hour Monday-Friday 4-6 p.m. and weekends noon-4 p.m. with snacks from $3.50-$12 and select beers, wines and cocktails from $4-$8 (206-325-5409 or

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or On Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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