Pocket Life

By Corky Mau
January 2024

The Trap’s Set

An original landmark gets new lease on life

Some people in their early 20s are trying to figure out their career path. Not Mariah Lukenbill.

As a teen, she helped manage Burr’s Fountain, the East Sacramento ice cream shop. She dreamed of owning a coffee house. After earning a degree in business entrepreneurship at California State University Monterey Bay, she went on a shopping spree. Not for clothing or shoes, but for a business.

Her older brother entered the search. He raised his family in the Pocket and heard The Trap, the iconic dive bar, was for sale. “The most recent owners were the Crudo family. I put in an offer,” says Mariah, 23. It was accepted.

Over the past year and a half, she learned how to operate the business. Lukenbill loves tending bar. Her goal is to learn every customer’s name.

“This place really has the ‘Cheers, where everyone knows your name’ vibe. I won’t make any drastic changes to the place. Only needed improvements. I want to maintain that dive bar atmosphere.”

While I met with Lukenbill, her father Gregg worked on the outdoor patio cover. Many know him as the original local owner of the Kings. He learned the construction trade from his father and enjoys his role as “construction foreman” for his daughter.

The sagging, uneven bar floor is gone, replaced by solid footing. The bathroom has been updated. A commercial beer tap system has been installed.

The Trap is one of the oldest businesses in town. It’s one of the last original buildings constructed by Pocket’s Portuguese settlers. It was registered as a historic structure in 2009.

The Trap opened in 1861. Called Ingleside Inn, it was a grocery and bar. The original site was a few blocks north of Riverside Boulevard and 43rd Avenue. In 1912, Anna Silveira Pimentel took over. She wanted to help her son, Tony Pimentel, get established. They renamed it Pimentel’s Ingleside Café. Locals shortened that to Pimentel’s saloon.

Tony was 19 and too young to tend bar. He managed the grocery side while his brother-in-law poured drinks. They served ice-cold beer, including products from Buffalo Brewing at 21st and Q streets.

Pimentel built a separate door for the grocery store, so women didn’t have to walk through the bar.

In the 1920s, Pimentel moved the building to its current location on Riverside. The Pimentel home was next door. From old photographs, the home sat between Brookside School and The Trap. Tony and his wife bought acreage in Pocket, became involved in farming, and sold the bar in 1930.

Legend says The Trap was a popular hangout for Land Park postal carriers in the 1970s. Many locals celebrated 21st birthdays there. It was common to see customers in business suits enjoying a beer alongside bikers.

I think Tony Pimentel would be pleased with Lukenbill’s plans to restore The Trap to a modern version of the original. It’s a small bar with a big welcoming spirit.

If you’ve never visited The Trap, stop by for a cold beer and billiards. Check the old photographs showing The Trap in earlier days. Specials include karaoke Tuesday nights and alternating Saturdays, trivia Sunday nights, food trucks Wednesdays through Sundays. Show up in Kings attire when the team is on TV and get reduced drink prices.

The Trap is at 6125 Riverside Blvd.

Corky Mau can be reached at corky.sue50@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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