||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (April 2013)|
Ratskeller (German: "council's cellar", historically Rathskeller) is a name in German-speaking countries for a bar or restaurant located in the basement of a city hall (Rathaus) or nearby. Many taverns, nightclubs and similar establishments throughout the world take the name Ratskeller.
The word had been used in English since the mid-19th century.
At least one New York restaurant called itself a "rathskeller" in the 19th century.
Notable Ratskellers in North America
The Boston, Massachusetts, Rathskeller (nicknamed The Rat) was a Kenmore Square live music venue that opened in 1974. It is notable for being one of Greater Boston's premier music venues for three decades and the starting point for the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble.
The Ram's Head Rathskeller in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was opened in 1948 by an Austrian Jew by the last name of Danziger, who came to Chapel Hill as a refugee from the Holocaust. "The Rat" was the first restaurant in the area to employ an entirely African-American staff. Long a popular spot with students and alumni, the restaurant, which extends over a catacomb-like basement with many different rooms, was filled with UNC memorabilia and history. "The Rat" was one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Chapel Hill, but was closed down in 2008 due to non-payment of taxes. Its decor and memorabilia was auctioned off leaving just the bones of the structure. There were plans to reopen the restaurant under new management in early 2011, but dealing with, among other things, structural issues has delayed the project.
The Aztec Brewing Company in San Diego, California included a ratskeller as the tasting room at the brewery. Murals on the wall depicted various scenes of Aztecs painted by renowned Spanish artist Jose Moya del Piño. When the city tore down the structure, the murals were preserved for future use.
Another notable Ratskeller is located on the campus of St. Bonaventure University. It was founded in 1963.
The Ratskeller in Southbury, Connecticut is a very popular area restaurant known for its seafood specials and is a popular Friday night hot spot. It was awarded the title "Best Wings In Town" by The Brew Crew Social Club.
The Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub in Franklin, North Carolina offers an eclectic assortment of sandwiches, coffees, desserts, beers, wines, and hard ciders. Located in the basement of one of the town's oldest buildings, the Rathskeller is a popular live music and foosball venue. 
Der Rathskeller in the Memorial Union (Wisconsin) is a German-style beer hall. It holds many social events such as an open mic event, and outdoors there is often free live music, weather permitting. It was the first union to serve beer at a public university.
The Ratskeller at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, also nicknamed "The Rat", was a campus pub primarily for science students which operated from the 1940s until the 1990s. It was later converted into a restaurant and cafeteria named 'Bridges'.
In the basement of the State House Capitol building in Springfield Illinois there is a cafeteria named the Rathskellar. Famous politicians, community and civil servants (Diners) not to mention parolees (Servers) have walked its halls and passed through the old brick archways and still to this day the cafeteria serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as staying open late for nights when the Illinois General Assembly is in Session. 
Ratskellers occasionally show up in popular culture. Child actress Adele De Garde starred in a 1918 silent movie called The Rathskeller and the Rose. In The Naked Brothers TV shows and movies (2005-2007), the father character plays the accordion at a fictional restaurant called The Hoboken Rathskeller. The 2009 film, Inglourious Basterds, features a prolonged sequence taking place in a ratskeller in France.
Many universities have pubs or student center dining facilities located in re-purposed basements. To market these untraditional eating locations to students, many of these are termed "ratskellers" including:
- Boston College ("The Rat")
- Bridgewater State College (Ratseller bar) operational from 1974-1999
- Binghamton University
- California Institute of Technology
- Colgate University (in the basement of the Colgate Inn)
- Colorado State University ("The Ramskeller") website
- Cornell College
- Florida Institute of Technology
- Florida International University (also known as Gracie's Grill)
- Fordham University "The Ramskeller"
- Gallaudet University
- George Mason University
- Hofstra University
- Hollins University
- Kent State University
- McMaster University (Converted into a vegetarian restaurant.)
- Montclair State University
- Oberlin College
- Pennsylvania State University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- Rutgers University-Camden
- St. Bonaventure University
- State University of New York College at Old Westbury
- The College of New Jersey (Located in the Brower Student Center, referred to as "The Rat". A late-night dining hall also exists below two residence halls).
- Transylvania University ("The Rafskellar", a nod to 19th Century professor Constantine Samuel Rafinesque)
- Tulane University ("Der Rathskeller" or "The Rat" operates a branch of the City Diner restaurant chain).
- Union College (Opened on December 2, 1949 as the Dutchmen's Rathskeller)
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Cincinnati ("The Catskeller")
- University of Dallas
- University of Göttingen
- University of Illinois at Chicago (Now converted for use by the Muslim Student Association.)
- University of Miami (The Rat was demolished in mid 2011, but it has recently re-opened in a new student center, roughly in the same location).
- University of Tampa
- University of West Florida
- University of Wisconsin–Madison
- Washington University in St. Louis
- West Chester University of Pennsylvania
- Wheeling Jesuit University
- Wright State University (Closed about 2010)
- Kansas State University ("The Catskellar", in the Student Union)
-  Your Etymological Queries Answered
- Menu of "Haan's Ladies' and Gentlemen's Restaurant, Cafe and Rathskeller" dated December 22, 1899.
- New Castle Attractions. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
- The Seelback Hilton: Louisville's Historic Hotel
- Wisconsin Union History: 1933