Raleigh brewery to open second location in old Chapel Hill Rathskeller

January 11, 2019
Gizmo (Facebook)

A Raleigh brewery announced plans this week to open a second location.

Gizmo Brew Works will be opening a taproom in the old Chapel Hill Rathskeller location on East Franklin Street, owner Bryan Williams said Wednesday.

“We started looking for a new space about 18 months ago,” Williams said.

Unable to find that “unicorn location” that fit their expanded production and taproom plans, Williams said the brewery decided to split their plans. The production facility expansion will be housed at Gizmo’s current space in Raleigh’s Umstead Industrial Park, while the new taproom is expected to open at the old Rathskeller space in May.

Gizmo initially started looking open a taproom in downtown Raleigh.

“We weren’t necessarily looking at Chapel Hill, but my brewer was walking through Chapel Hill and saw the sign,” Williams said.

The Rathskeller opened in 1948 and was known for its food menu, which included The Gambler steak, lasagna, pizza and apple pie. The restaurant and bar closed in 2007, leaving the 4,500 square-foot space vacant.

Williams didn’t know the history of the space, but said he soon learned about The Rat.

“Everyone was very excited to see something coming back to the old Rathskeller,” he said.

When the Rathskeller closed, the space was renovated in the hopes of reopening it, Williams said. To get it up to building code, the floors were lowered two feet and new plumbing and electrical work was done.

Crews will spend a few months doing some renovations, including building the bar and adding a stage for live music.

Gizmo doesn’t plan to bring back the Rathskeller menu, instead opting for prepackaged food options. Williams said they will also work with nearby restaurants willing to deliver food to customers at the bar.

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