Why I Hate American Bars – The Photo Edition

By Peter Sacotte

Here’s a quick fly-by of some of the popular Capitol Hill watering holes with illustrations of what makes them horrible.

Von Trapp’s

2013-05-28 22.09.22

Vonn Trapp’s enormous selection of delightful beer better be what brought you here. Their huge tap contains many are German-style beers, but they have a few Belgian and other styles as well. This doesn’t quite make up for its pitfalls bocce pits. What kind of German world is this? Neat, but distracts from the gutes deutsches Bier. Why don’t they take these out and put in some proper beerhall seats. I reckon they could alleviate their overcrowding problem this way.

The Unicorn

2013-05-28 22.18.22Between the lights and sounds, the cool quirks of the Unicorn are smothered in headache. Zebra-print booths and arcade table (pictured) cannot stand up to the might of bright light and deafening music. I’m not sure if copious amounts of alcohol makes this place better or worse…(definitely worse). I will never. NEVER. come bak here.


2013-05-28 22.31.35Grimm’s; for the jar-drinker in all of us you. This is a stupid way to drink a beverage. How do you create a proper seal over the threads for the lid?!?! At least you can see what’s going on in Grimm’s. This would a pretty cool bar for sitting down and enjoying life if the bartender ever serves you. The seating is correct, too, giving good, social vibes. But the people are too often frat bros from the U-District. Simply avoid this place, because tt doesn’t make sense to jar-drink with anyone less than true Cap Hill hipster.


One of Canon’s many signature cocktails, The Smoking Monkey, a delightful mix of banana infused Jameson, scotch, and sherry,  comes served with a delightful slice of ambience. Feel free to ask the bartender about any of their cocktails – or even any of the spirits on offer – and prepare for a delightful conversation. Canon’s post-prohibition style makes for a comfortable setting. However, it’s tiny and gets crowded early. What isn’t comfortable is standing outside waiting for a seat at the bar.

Problem: This is not a bar, it’s a lounge. I would feel stupid ordering a beer here.

Bonus – The Monkey

Monkey Pub

The Monkey Pub on Karaoke night. These are my U-District digs. Unusually crowded and kind of grungy, the Monkey doesn’t rely on flair to attract customers. It’s a cheap, no frills kind of place. Luckily, the beer is tolerable. It does have pool, however, which is worth mentioning as a potentially “lame” gimmick. At least pool fits a bar better than bocce. Typically, you don’t have to wait in line to play pool here, either.

Far and away, this is the place where I enjoy hanging out the most. It’s nothing special, which is exactly what makes it worthwhile.

This is the fourth chapter of a continuing piece on the 12th Avenue bar scene. For the other installments, click herehere, and here.

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