The Raths-Keller

Here is this week’s ad taken from the program for the play L’Aiglon starring Maude Adams which played in Philadelphia at The Broad Street Theater in 1901. The Raths-Keller was located in The Betz Building on Broad Street near Chestnut in Philadelphia. It was owned by Charles W. Soulas, who began working in a restaurant on Dock Street at seventeen, and became the proprietor of his own restaurant eight years later. He opened his second restaurant in The Betz Building in 1894:

From the date of its opening, upon the completion of the splendid and lofty Betz building, upon Broad Street, above Chestnut, and opposite the Public Buildings, the new Rathskeller conducted by Mr. Chas W. Soulas has been considered one of the sights of town. It is the most elaborate and artistically embellished establishment of its kind in the United States. Entrances lead from both Broad Street and South Penn Square opening immediately into a large room, which is really one of the leading social exchanges in the city. Two sides are occupied respectively by a superb bar richly decorated with carvings, mirrors and all approved accessories, and a grill counter with ranges and a staff of skilled cooks always actively employed. A pretty side room is devoted to the purposes of a ladies’ dining room. The gallery beneath the broad footway, a few steps lower, is furnished also as a lunching place for both gentlemen and ladies, always lighted and ventilated, decorated with effective paintings in oil appropriate to the scene, and provided with both American and foreign journals.

The Raths-Keller was featured in a painting by Ashcan School artist John Sloan in 1901.

The Betz Building was demolished in 1926 to make way for the Lincoln-Liberty Building.

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6 Responses to The Raths-Keller

  1. Tina says:

    Interesting article – thanks!

  2. Brian Bubonic says:

    Cellar of rats and not a seller of rats.

  3. Tina says:

    Looked like a nice place to rat around.

  4. Fred B. Block says:

    My grandfather Ferdinand Block maintained his attorney’s office at the Betz Bldg 1900-1920s

  5. Tina says:

    Great information! Thanks so much for your comment.

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