The Underground Rathskeller

The Underground Rathskeller – Cleveland, Ohio (circa 1940)

Throughout the Midwest, wherever the Germans settled (later, the Poles, the Czechs, and others), there were beer breweries.

Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and many other cities, boasted multiple breweries and a wide variety of beers.

(An impetus of the “craft brew” movement of recent years is the horrible homogenization of American beer that occurred as local breweries were swallowed up by a half-dozen giant beer companies.)

In Cleveland, Leisey’s brewing company competed with numerous local beer producers.

A commercial advantage was created by turning an enormous storeroom (for barrels of amber beer) into an underground Rathskeller.

In immigrant communities, the beer hall served a valuable social function.

Not just a place to drink, but a place for meetings, informal debates, and building social networks.

(Tourists flock to the centuries-old beer halls of Munich and other German cities, while similar structures have been abandoned in the US.)

On the web, several sites related to the history of Cleveland contain pictures of the Rathskeller or records of events that took place there.

I am not a regular consumer of beer, but I do appreciate a well-crafted pale ale.

I regret that it is no longer possible to share a mug at Leisey’s Rathskeller.


Search By:


More Postcards