The Years of the Rat

By Magazine Staff  |  Photographs courtesy of Loyola/Notre Dame Library Archives
                                  and Special Collections

The hair of a dog can come from a Rat.

Just ask the alumni who recall the days when Loyola students and faculty enjoyed beer together at the campus Rathskeller.

During that brief stretch in Maryland’s history—1974-84—when the drinking age was 18, the campus featured a pub known as “Mother’s” or “the Rat.” Students and faculty gathered at the campus hub between or after classes, and some alumni recall socializing there long into the night.

Although the Rathskeller opened at 11 a.m. on weekdays, no alumni recalled (at least not on the record) being at the pub that early—“only when we got locked in the night before,” joked Brian Sullivan, ’78, MBA ’84.

“You could go in the pub anytime of the day or night for a beer and a sandwich,” said Dave Belz, ’78, affiliate instructor of writing. “It seemed like such a civilized, adult and rational thing to us. Having a pub on campus for students obviated the need to carouse along York Road and to sneak around because alcohol wasn’t contraband.”

Premier Beer?

The first Rathskeller was located in the basement of Millbrook House—now Ignatius House, the Jesuit residence. In 1975, students spearheaded the effort to move the pub to the basement of the Andrew White Student Center where it hosted disco nights, mixers and “thirst parties.”

Tom Krisanda, ’76, was the new location’s first student manager. “I was able to persuade Fr. Sellinger to sign off on a ‘Class C’ liquor license, which allowed us to purchase beer and light wine direct from the wholesaler.”

The late Rev. Joseph Sellinger, S.J., Loyola’s president at the time, made another decision several alumni recall: the beer served at the Rat.

“Frank Sellinger, Fr. Sellinger’s brother, worked for Anheuser-Busch. While he was there, the official campus beer was Budweiser,” recalled Jane Curley Hogge, ’83, now Loyola’s director of annual giving. “When Frank left Anheuser-Busch, the beer became Schlitz. The quality of the two beers was not even close. It was somewhat of a sad day on campus, but we all understood.”

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1 Comment

  • Posted by Greg Hook, '81 | August 18, 2009

    I was fortunate that the Rathskeller was in operation during my four years at Loyola. However, I am afraid that Jane Hogge’s memory is somewhat hazy. Although Fr. Sellinger cared about Loyola and the students greatly, blood was thicker than water. Frank Sellinger was in fact the president of Schlitz Brewing Co., not Anheuser-Busch as commented by Ms. Hogge. I still vividly remember the groans and protests when they switched to Schlitz after Frank became that brewery’s president in the late 70’s. I can however agree with Ms. Hogge on one point – the quality of the two beers was not even close.

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