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Last call for H.B.'s Rathskeller

The underground pub says goodbye to regular customers on its final day of business.

April 02, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
(KEVIN CHANG )

Rathskeller owner Axel Geub knew the pub's last day was going to be busy, but he didn't expect patrons to be waiting for the doors to open that Saturday morning.

"Normally we open at 11 a.m., but there were members from the [Huntington Beach] Elks Lodge in the parking lot waiting for me at 10 in the morning," Geub said, sporting his lederhosen for the last time. "They've been drinking beer since 10 o'clock. They come over every Saturday as one of their stops. They grab a few Bitburgers and talk. Now they're asking themselves, 'Where do we go now?'."

The Hauff and Geub families, which own and operate the Rathskeller, poured their last beers and served their last bratwursts to their customers Saturday after new owners of the building decided not to offer them a new lease.

"Corporate America is taking everything away," said Mike Brisbine, one of the Elks Lodge members waiting that morning. "We don't understand it. But it is what it is. There will never be a place like this again. It will be missed."

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The underground Huntington Beach pub was at capacity the entire day. As people polished off their pints, they posed and had pictures taken with Axel or Monica Geub and bought T-shirts from their 23-year-old son, Dennis, on the way out.

"It's been weird. It sucks because I grew up here," Dennis Geub said. "I don't have this place to go to anymore. But you're always on to better and bigger things. The way I see this, this may end up being a better deal. I like to stay positive about it and there's nothing else you can do."

Resident Tommy "Tear" Onal has been going to the Rathskeller for decades and has been making T-shirts for the pub for special events. The 53-year-old regular decided to make special farewell shirts and stickers pro bono as a way of saying thank you.

"It's something from out of the ordinary. It's not some bar that's the usual box with lights above ground," Onal said. "Here, you get this little home-style, unbreathable cave that somehow just worked for so many years. It's sad to see that these guys are being kicked out."

Most of the decorations in the pub had been taken down and packed or had a "sold" sticker slapped across them, adding to the somber feeling that was on everyone's mind.

Dennis Geub said his parents never ran out of beer since they've run the pub for the last 25 years for his grandparents, but last week was the first time the Rathskeller ran dry.

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