14 iconic State College bars and restaurants include the Rathskeller … – PennLive

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PennLive file photo from 2011.
Compiled by Sue Gleiter| sgleiter@pennlive.com
It has been a rough couple of months in State College.
Three established businesses – ones that have served generations of Penn State students – have announced they are closing.
In December, Duke and Monica Gastiger, owners of The All-American Rathskeller, created shockwaves when they announced the 85-year-old landmark bar and its adjoining restaurant, Spats Cafe, will close Jan. 27.
Then last week came the second hit when news reports indicated Ye Olde College Diner will likely close in April if a buyer isn't found. The diner has operated since 1929 and is home to the famous grilled sticky buns.
Luckily, the stickies, as they are nicknamed, will not disappear for good. The owner said he plans to continue to make them at another location.
As the business scene shifts in State College, we take a look at 14 iconic bars and restaurants that are fixtures in this college town.
The All-American Rathskeller
Last call the All-American Rathskeller is Jan. 27.
In December 2017 it was announced the beloved State College bar and adjoining Spats Cafe & Speakeasy will be closing after the building's owners decided not to renew a lease for the two establishments.
The building's owners, the Herlocher family operating under Cornelius LL, said the two establishments had been operating without a lease since 2011 and paying below market rates. The family owns Herlocher's Dipping Mustard.
The hole-in-the-wall basement bar has a long history dating back to 1933 when "Pop" Flood opened it three days after prohibition was repealed. Some claim it is the longest continually operated bar in Pennsylvania.
Its worn-around-the-edges atmosphere is part of the Rathskeller's charm. Wooden tables where patrons huddle around beers have been carved with names and messages. The walls are plastered with memorabilia, mostly photographs of sports players and Penn State fans.
108 S. Pugh St., State College
Ye Olde College Diner
Trekked to #thedinerstatecollege. After a four mile run I think I deserve #grilledstickies for breakfast! #thediner #psu #pennstate #statecollege #yeoldecollegediner #thedinerpsu #grilledsticky #stickybuns
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The diner has been a fixture on College Avenue since 1929.
But it's in jeopardy of closing. Recently, the owner of Ye Olde College Diner, 126 W. College Ave.,  told WTAJ that he may be closing the restaurant.
Owner Dan Rallis said he could close by April unless a buyer takes over the business, the Centre Daily Times reported.
Onward State said the diner's hours have been spotty rather than 24/7 as in years past. Rallis blamed rising rent for his decision to close, along with the desire to focus on other ventures.
Lucky for fans the famous grilled stickies will continue to be produced. Rallis told WTAJ he plans to move production of his grilled stickies from the diner to a facility in Boalsburg.
The Phyrst

Crowds line up at the Phyrst, a popular Penn State student bar in downtown State College, Pa. in 2015. PennLive file photo by Bobby Chen.
Generations of Penn State students have visited State College's favorite basement bar, The Phyrst.
The dive bar with its dark atmosphere and low ceilings packs them in for live music and reasonably priced drinks. Among the traditions many recall are Saturday nights with the Phyrst Phamily, cowbells, table wars, Phyrst Girls and the mug club.
Last summer, the Phyrst celebrated a milestone anniversary – 50 years in business since it opened at 111 E. Beaver Ave.
As the bar's history goes, Don Bartoletti opened the Phyrst after signing a lease for $250 a month with the intention creating a gathering spot for students, businessmen, Vietnam vets and other visitors.
Two years later, he was joined by Ernie Oelberman, a World War II vet and engineer at one of the Defense Department's largest contractors. (Oelbermann passed away at the age of 90 in 2015.)
111 E. Beaver Ave., State College 
The Corner Room
"Meet me at the Corner" is the motto at this restaurant.
For decades, Penn State students, professors and alumni have done just that at The Corner Room.
The restaurant, which sits in the heart of State College, dates back to 1926. (Before that it was called Jack's Roadhouse.)
The menu combines classics such as cheeseburgers and turkey dinners with loaded nachos and grilled salads.
100 W College Ave., State College
Hi-Way Pizza
Hi-Way Pizza has served State College since 1963 when Andy Zangrilli opened it.
Over the years it has several locations including East College Avenue and Westerly Parkway, along with its current North Atherton Street location.
The chain also recently opened a location on West College Avenue.
It advertises more than 29 varieties of hand-spun pizzas with endless toppings. But there is more than pizza on the menu.
Diners can pick from dozens of sandwiches – Philly cheesesteaks and meatball parmesan grinders – to Italian onion soup and baked ziti.
1688 North Atherton St. and 1301 West College Ave.
Zeno's Pub
BeerFest ! . #zenos #pennstate #beerphotography #beerfest #belgian #christmas #exotic #beer @foundersbrewing #cbs #kbs #mikkeller #chimay #bullfrog #rochfort #orval #
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Dark basement bar with "old style" feel and great selection of beers.
It has been in existence since 1972 serving the locals, college students and visitors.
Great place to catch up with friends and check out live music.
100 W College Ave., State College
Allen Street Grill
Happy New Year everyone!
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The Grill is located on the second floor of the historic Hotel State College and Company building where it has operated since 1855.
It's one of the quieter restaurants in town. With banks of tall windows, it affords one of the  best views of the Penn State campus mall.
Menu covers appetizers such as spring rolls and nachos to sandwiches including Cuban chicken paninis and French dip.
Entrees range from cedar-planked salmon to chicken parmesan and certified Angus steaks.
100 W. College Ave., State College 
The Tavern Restaurant
Christmas decor downtown 👍🏻🎄⭐️ #christmaslights #downtownstatecollege
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The Colonial style The Tavern Restaurant has been in business since 1948.
It's definitely charming – and, maybe in the opinion of some, dated –  with pewter plates, cupboards and fireplaces as well as a plethora of framed photographs and prints decorating the walls.
Favorites include baked lasagna, escargot and New York strip steaks.
"The tavern is one of those places that you would consider going back to on the same day! The food is great across the entire menu, the service is friendly and whether you are a local or an out of towner, it feels like your local hangout. Excellence for years- one of the top places in State College for sure!" said one reviewer on TripAdvisor.
220 E. College Ave., State College
The Saloon
This dive bar has been delivering music to crowds since 1976.
It's patterned after a turn-of-the-century English pub and offers live music seven days a week.
Don't leave without ordering the signature Monkey Boy, a multi-alcohol concoction topped with a cherry. The Saloon serves a simple menu of quesadillas, burgers and pizzas.
101 Heister St, State College
The Original Waffle Shop
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The Original Waffle Shop operates two locations in the State College area, one on West College Avenue and another on North Atherton Street.
To confuse matters, there's a third Waffle House in State College but t's not part of the chain.
The Original Waffle House dates back to 1972 when John Dimakopoulos opened Dimakas Steak and Waffle Shop on North Atherton. As it turns out the breakfasts won over the dinner menu so Dimakopoulos revamped and focused on waffles only.
The Original Waffle House is best described as homey and somewhat outdated with unlimited coffee and an extensive menu of waffle creations.
1610 W. College Ave. and 1229 N. Atherton St., State College 
Duffy's Tavern
That one can get takeout from Duffy's Tavern in Boalsburg is a balm to my parent-soul. I don't get to go out and eat often because of the kids, but this still gets me something fancy.
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Landmark tavern with a long history is conveniently located in Boalsburg.
Through the years, a handful of owners have operated the quaint tavern. Sit in the pub or the more formal dining room. The clientele is a mix of Penn State fans, locals and hikers and bikers off nearby trails.
Try the 1819 Burger, with bacon, fries and coleslaw, fried egg and American cheese; marinated elk flank steak; or seafood linguini with shrimp, scallops and clams.
They also have an active list of events at the tavern, from live music to beer pairing dinners and dinner theater.
113 E. Main St., Boalsburg
The Lion's Den
Longtime State College bar with cheap drinks, loud music and late-night dancing. Definitely the place where college students blow off steam.
It dates back to 1959 but back then it wasn't the loud locale it has become today. It's on the map but not rated as highly as others on the list like The Phyrst and the Skeller.
118 S. Garner St., State College 
The Shandygaff
Celebrate the start of the last week of classes with a $6 liquor pitcher or a $3 tallboy!
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Nicknamed the "Gaff," this bar is one of the longest running establishments in town. Details are sketchy regarding the history but many believe it dates back to 1848.
The Gaff is best known for liquor pitcher drinks and dancing. Wednesdays are dedicated to Karaoke aka “Gaffeoke."
"Let me tell you something, this bar is a dream for any customer…with out a doubt the best specials in state college along with timeless music that everybody enjoys. Throughout the night the DJ will play songs that the whole crowd will sing and dance too and it truly is an unforgettable experience," said one reviewer on Facebook.
Its operates Tuesday-Saturday nights.
212 E. College Ave., State College
Cafe 210 West
The #MysteryMonday post from yesterday has been solved! @ann.elise9 provided the correct answer first when they said @cafe210west . Congratulations! You've been entered to win a $25 downtown gift card. For those that didn't win, don't worry: there are still plenty of weeks to come! Just make sure to follow us here on Instagram so you never miss an update.
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Cafe 210 West offers several options for guests, from live bands to dining and an lively outdoor patio.  It's obviously named for its address at 201 W. College Ave.
Regulars will tell you it's the spot to meet over drinks or to watch a local and/or national band. When it comes to the food, Cafe 201 serves a basic menu of staples such as nachos, wings, burgers and cheesesteaks.
Many say they like the college atmosphere and convenient location on College Avenue.
210 W. College Ave., State College

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