Rathskeller closing its doors

Long-time Old World Village pub has been sold and will be turned into office space.

March 28, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio

Monica Geub wiped tears away from her face as she scrolled through iPhone photos of her family-owned bar of 35 years, the Rathskeller pub in Old World Village.

The underground pub is closing its doors Sunday after the building's new owners, Orange Investment Inc., decided to convert the property into office space.

"Don't get me wrong, but I'm an emotional person, very emotional. But you don't realize how strong you are until you go through something like this," she said Monday afternoon, choking back more tears. "But I've been holding it together pretty good compared to everybody else. It's not easy."


Geub wiped her face again, took a deep breath and refilled a mug with beer for one of her customers.

"If these walls could talk, they would have so much to talk about," she said.

Orange Investment finalized the deal Feb. 8, which included the two floors above the bar and the church next door, said Jim Eruyan, a partner with the group.

"We're completely devastated," said Cyndie Kasko, whose family built Old World Village and owns the German restaurant. "I've been here my whole life and they've been a part of my whole life ever since I can remember. It's a tragedy. It's a big loss to the German community. Not only did we lose the German church, we now lost one of the most important underground pubs here in Orange County and that's going to be a big hole in the hearts of the Germans that have frequented here and kept us afloat all these years."

The property investment company had been looking for two years for a headquarters location and moved forward with the deal because the Rathskeller didn't have a lease and it was close to the freeway.

"It was a sad situation for me too," he said. "If they had a lease, we would have reconsidered."

The company plans on converting the two floors into office space and the basement as a dining area for six employees, Eruyan said.

He added that he wishes the best for the owners of the Rathskeller and hopes that they find a new location.

Geub's parents, Loni and Edith Hauff opened the Rathskeller when Old World Village opened in 1978. It was a likely business choice for the Hauffs.

"My husband and I were both raised in that type of business," Edith Hauff said. "My aunt owned a bar and my grandfather had a brewery in Yugoslavia and my husband's sister had a bar in Germany."

The Hauffs wanted to bring the experience of a traditional underground German pub to the U.S., where random patrons were more inclined to talk to one another.

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