A Wave Recedes: The End of The Rathskeller Club

“If we want to empower people to create communities and bring the world closer, Experiential Design is the single most effective way to do so. When we take an intentional approach to design an experience around a shared interest, then the inevitable outcome of that experience is a community.”

– Damian Madray (The Role of Experiential Design in an Increasingly Disconnected Society, 2019)

The physical space of The Rathskeller Lounge was a means to an end: a strong community of experiential artists. For the past 5 years we think we’ve achieved that. The connections between people who have come to workshops, helped produce and create immersive theater shows, or participated in the hundreds of immersive shows and experiences we hosted, are stronger than ever.

However, the COVID pandemic has kept us closed as a venue for about a year and a half. We were able to survive this long thanks to some generous donations. We hoped that we could return in time with a new run of shows. However, this has begun to look less likely and it has caused some deep introspection. Is maintaining a physical space really serving our goals? Could we do more with the resources we have if we didn’t also have the expense of a lease and the costs involved in the upkeep of The Lounge?

We decided it is time to close this chapter. We are ending our lease on The Rathskeller Lounge on November 30th. We will also retire The Rathskeller Club Patreon at the same time.

This is an opportunity to start from a blank page, to build with intention, and to build something that can start small and maybe grow big. Are we announcing something new? Not yet. This is a time for reflection. We want to take care that the next thing will be sustainable and well executed. We all need to breathe without the pressure of a grand vision. We need time to do this right.

We want to thank everyone for their work in keeping The Rathskeller Club and The Rathskeller Lounge alive. When we first announced the project to save the space after the closing of The Latitude Society, we didn’t know what to expect. We received an outpouring of support financially, creatively, emotionally, and boots on the ground – let’s get this done – where’s the paintbrush spirit. We are still overwhelmed by the passion that the community provided. People gave their heart and soul to the project and we are forever grateful. We take very little credit for its ultimate success. We simply kept the doors open as best we could and let others fill the void.

Together we created a much needed creative space for experiential art, a school to support new creators, and a hub for people to meet who would never otherwise cross paths. As this venue closes we urge others to open and support other community spaces for art in the Bay Area. Especially in these times, we need community centers more than ever. Improving the lives of artists is a cause worth fighting for.

In the coming months there will be opportunities to visit and create one last time in The Lounge. More details to come on the Rumors List.

In the meantime and for evermore keep creating experiences for others. Keep making the world a bit more compassionate. Keep expanding our capacity for imagining new worlds. Come to the shores of what is possible and we will meet you there.

The Rathskeller Club Team