Bowing to the pressure of insecure finances, McBride's tradition-laden Rathskeller will soon drop the final curtain on its beery business. Howard Johnson's has bought up the location and expects to have the quarters refurbished and ready for business by June 1.
The transaction has been shrouded in secrecy, and few details are even now available on the renovations already underway. Presumably the restaurant chain will construct something similar to its typical edifices, adapted to catch University trade.
This will be the sixth Howard Johnson's in Cambridge, but is the first to invade the domain of the University. It will cover the two floors formerly occupied by the atmosphere-laden Rathskeller, and plans are being laid to include a cocktail bar.
Although the Rathskeller has experienced no great slump in recent business, the closing is supposed to be the result of financial difficulties.
News of the unexpected demise of McBride's drew student comments ranging from sad thankfulness for obliteration of the tempting landmark to surprise and consternation that the ancient beverage emporium should withdraw from the galaxy of Harvard Square "spots."