Push to ‘Save the Skeller’

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STATE COLLEGE -- Many Penn State students, staff, and alumni say they are shocked and devastated at news a legendary bar in State College is closing.

The Rathskeller considers itself the longest continually operating bar in Pennsylvania, but not for long.

The Herlocher family of Herlocher's Dipping Mustard purchased the property in State College in June. It houses the All American Rathskeller.

Monday afternoon, the legendary bar and restaurant's owners announced its lease will not be renewed and it will soon be closing its doors.

"Save the Skeller!" It's a plea from almost every student who walked by the All American Rathskeller the day after it was announced it will soon no longer be there.

"I'm still in shock right now," said senior Jeremy Sanchez. "I'm just hoping we can figure something out to keep them here."

The Herlocher family, of the mustard company, purchased the entire property for $6.5 million. The Herlochers could not reach a deal with the current owners of the Rathskeller, Duke Gastiger and his wife, so a new undisclosed tenant will take its place.

"It's a piece of their past. It's a sense of history. It's a sense of place. It's one of the places people come back to visit in State College," Duke Gastiger said.

The Rathskeller opened its doors on November 9, 1933, three days after Prohibition ended. It is the longest continuously running bar in Pennsylvania.

"I hope it will continue in some way as a bar. But if they can't call it the Skeller, it won't be quite the same. Maybe the Cellar," said Frank Zook, class of '67.

The building houses several other businesses including Spat's Café, also owned by the Gastigers. They informed their 60 employees Monday that both restaurants will close by early 2018. The other businesses in the building have not yet announced their fate.

"One less traditional bar. There's still a few other ones out there. But this will have it's own new reputation and stamp on State College," said Larry Dennis, class of 1983.

The Herlochers have announced that they plan to make renovations and improvements to the building, something Rathskeller lovers can't imagine.

"I brought my son here. I showed him a picture of our Rathskeller softball team. There I am back in the day, and he said, 'That isn't you, is it?' So, that's sad, too, to not be able to pass the memories on," Zook said.

The Herlochers released a statement that says the Rathskeller owners were without a lease and paying below-market rent that couldn't be resolved. Efforts to purchase the Skeller failed.

They say there will be an announcement from new operators soon that want to keep the character of the Rathskeller location.

5 comments

  • BERRIOS

    a lot of horse play going on up in that little college town. Another bar closing could increase further natty ice consumption in near by rich boy frat houses.

  • burtfan16

    You people. You’re worried about a bar with all that’s going on in the world. Besides when graduate your supposed leave childish things behind.

  • seen it all

    Who owns the liquor lisc ? There’s a couple mill $ , Might as well retire as work to pay Herlocher’s business killing rent . Another ” Chumley’s type bar coming soon ? I quit downtown ages ago .

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