The Rat now serving alcohol for first time during pandemic

University of Miami students surround the outdoor bar at the Rathskeller at UM on Sept. 22, 2021.
University of Miami students surround the outdoor bar at the Rathskeller at UM on Sept. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Alex Terr

A little bit of rain could not stop the herds of students and faculty from flocking to the Rathskeller for pitchers of beer last Wednesday, Sept. 22, the first time alcohol has been served since March 2020.

“I’m so excited that it’s back,” said senior Andrew Athanas. “I think campus is coming back to normal.”

The Northbridge, Massachusetts finance major returned back to The Rat for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. Before today, the Rat was only open for food with both indoor and outdoor dining.

“This is the most crowded I have seen the Rat since I started working here this year,” said masters student Giulia Rath, who was keeping a check on the number of people out on the patio. “It’s definitely very different.”

There was much confusion about when the Rat would serve alcohol this year, with many 21+ students constantly asking administrators and student leaders when it would be back. It was not until today that it was revealed to students.

“They did not tell me until today that they were serving alcohol until I walked into work today,” said Rath, a first-year masters student focusing on trumpet performance from Vienna, Austria. “I have been out of work for a little bit but was still surprised.”

The immediate decision to serve alcohol led to many issues, including congested areas and lines being closed due to the crowds.

“I had to move into three different lines inside and outside and still have had to wait for 25 minutes,” said Austin Soares, a senior aerospace engineering major from Hampton, NJ. “They should have been more prepared for a day like today.”

The next day the Rat stopped selling alcohol around 5 p.m. after students were seen handing non-ID’d students alcohol over the fence that contains the outdoor seating section. A group of students were also seen racing around Lake Osceola.

A statement provided on behalf of the Rathskeller said: “The Rathskeller began selling beer and wine during normal operating hours on the outdoor patio on Wednesday. We are always carefully monitoring alcohol consumption and the related behavior of our customers. For safety reasons, we will and do stop the sale of alcohol. While we do not anticipate ending alcohol sales at this time, Rathskeller management has the right to refuse or discontinue alcohol service at any time.”

Even with the lack of preparation, the Rat still provided a sense of normalcy for those who came this afternoon. Those in attendance were happy to be back.

“Coming to the Rat is essential as a senior, I definitely will be coming back multiple times this semester,” Athanas said.

Senior Nursing major Edelind Peguero and junior exercise physiology and sports medicine major Yael Sadle showed excitement about the Rat selling alcohol.

Peguero yelled “As they should!” when she heard the news.

“After re-opening to one hundred percent capacity they should be selling alcohol,” Peguero said.

Rachelle Barrett contributed to the reporting of this story.