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Historic Rathskeller will close, along with Spats Cafe

A historic State College bar will soon close. The All-American Ratheskeller, which has been serving customers for more than eight decades, is closing, it was announced Monday. So, too, is Spats Café. (WJAC)

STATE COLLEGE - A historic State College bar will soon close.

The Ratheskeller, which has been serving customers for more than eight decades, is closing, it was announced Monday. So, too, is Spats Cafe & Speakeasy.

Restaurant owners Duke and Monica Gastiger said their leases weren't renewed by the new property owners, so they will be closing both restaurants.

The historic All-American Rathskeller opened just three days after prohibition was repealed in 1933.

Although the final closing date hasn't been set, both will serve their last customers in the coming weeks.

"It has been a great honor operating these two iconic establishments and serving this community and its many truly wonderful patrons and friends," Duke Gastiger said in a news release. "We are grateful for the loyalty that people -- including our incredible employees-- have shown us over the years. We most regret closing with such short notice, but it was unavoidable given the timeline dictated by the new property owners."

Neil and Chuck Herlocher bought the buildings under the name of Cornelius LLC as part of a real estate deal in June 2017. Although the Herlochers originally indicated that "business there will continue as usual," plans inexplicably and suddenly changed.

Prior to informing the Gastigers of this altered plan the Herlochers had already contracted with another entity for the leased spaces. The Gastigers were offered no recourse, thus resulting in the imminent business closures. More than 60 highly skilled workers will be looking for new employment.

Both restaurants have played a prominent role in the State College community for decades. The Rathskeller is the longest continually operating bar in Pennsylvania, and is filled with memories that have covered many lifetimes.

Spats also is rich in history and character, offering State College residents and visitors a sophisticated taste of New Orleans. Both establishments were renowned for their exceptional service, value and unique atmosphere.

The Gastigers hope that over the next few weeks their customers will be able to share a dish, drink or memory, and celebrate the servers, bartenders and kitchen staff for their decades of fine work.

Building owner Neil Herlocher said there is a lease in place for new tenants to move in. He said a new restaurant and bar are in the plans, even though the iconic name Rathskeller may not continue.

Herlocher told 6 News the current employees should expect to be offered jobs in the new establishments.

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