Post navigation

Prev: (08/14/14) | Next: (08/14/14)

Von Trapp’s becomes Rhein Haus following name dispute

Rhein Haus signs went up Thursday afternoon (Photo: Bryan Cohen)

Rhein Haus signs went up Thursday afternoon after the name change announcement (Photo: Bryan Cohen)

Capitol Hill’s German beer hall+bocce bar announced on Thursday it was changing its name from Von Trapp’s to Rhein Haus, effective immediately. In a press release sent out Thursday morning, the owners said the name change comes amid complaints by one member of the Trapp family, which owns the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. Owners of the 12th Ave bar said aside from the name change and a new website, everything else will stay the same.

“Though the owners vetted the original name and got the federal trademark before opening in early 2013, over the past few months concern has arisen with one member of the Trapp family about confusion between the Seattle Von Trapp’s and the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont,” said the bar owners in a statement.

“We all feel that in order to differentiate ourselves from the Trapp family, a name change is best for everyone involved,” said owner James Weimann.

The Stowe, VT lodge was founded by the family of Maria von Trapp, whose Trapp Family Singers inspired the 1959 musical and subsequent film The Sound of Music. Rhein Haus owners said they picked the new name to pay “homage to the longest river running through Bavaria.”

Von Trapp’s opened on Capitol Hill in February 2013. Earlier this summer the cavernous beer hall installed a massive patio with additional bocce courts and big screen TVs. The name change comes just a few weeks ahead of what will probably be some rowdy Oktoberfest celebrations.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

18 thoughts on “Von Trapp’s becomes Rhein Haus following name dispute

  1. Um…the Rhein doesn’t go through Bavaria. While it does flow into Lake Constance from Switzerland, only a teeny, tiny portion of the lake borders Bavaria. The Rhein River itself never flows through that part of Germany. While I enjoy Von Trapps, or Rhein Haus, the fact that they don’t even know where their new namesake runs underscores their lack of authenticity that I don’t see duplicated in their other restaurants (Poquito’s, for example). That said, it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.

    If the name was properly vetted, it’s sad to see them cave so easily. If people are so stupid that they can’t figure out the difference between a Seattle-based restaurant and a Vermont-based lodge…well, then maybe they should just stay home.

  2. I’m very grateful Capitol Hill, and the area around 11th & Pine Street in particular, has a bar finally. This place does two amazing thing: invents alcohol and then invents a place to serve it. As Nancy Reagan said, Just Say Nein. I mean Rhein.

    P.S. I hear their toilets are awesome! Capitol Hill needs an awesome place with toilets!

  3. I’m not a fan of the place, but this name dispute sounds really stupid. A random place in Vermont that shares one part of the name? How could they possibly be confused? I wonder if they were threatening to sue or something.

  4. Oh I absolutely would confuse the restaurant/bar on 12th Avenue with a ski lodge in Vermont especially since the property on 12th Avenue was called Von Trapp’s and the property in Vermont was called the Trapp Family Lodge. I’m sure no one else in the world has the surname Trapp right? Good for the owners that they chose not to get into a fight but the *one* member’s objection is just plain silly.

  5. On Friday and Saturday nights, at 1am, sports cars drive in circles on 12th Avenue outside “Rhein Haus” while crowds outside cheer.

  6. As someone who’s been through a trademark threat, I encourage you not to confuse common sense and trademark law. Trademark attourneys make their living filing disputes and enforcing silly concepts like “people/customers getting your name confused with ours”. They used the same nonsense language with me. In the face of a huge trademark enforcing law firm, its understandable to see a name change. Hate the law, not those who are forced to comply! Too bad about the Rhine mistake, though.