The Best Signs And Decorations In State College Bars

As the end of the year approaches, the State College bar scene is getting more and more busy. While everyone is thinking about their favorite drinks, bands and happy hours at their preferred drinking spot, the way a bar is decorated sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. That’s a shame, because State College bars have some pretty awesome signs and decorations — from plaques celebrating going to Cafe for 55 days in a row to old pictures and posters from Penn State’s past. We took a look at some of our favorites in a few of the bars around town.

Zeno’s Pub


Many of Zeno’s decorations show glimpses into Penn State’s past. This sign shows the 1968 football team, which was just a few years into Joe Paterno’s long tenure as head coach. That year’s team beat Kansas 15-14 in the Orange Bowl on January 1, 1969.

DSC_2597  DSC_2599

Many of the best signs at Zeno’s are old posters directed at freshmen from sophomores. They mostly come from the early 1900’s, and list things that freshmen had to do according to the upperclassmen. Back in the day, being a freshman was pretty hard. In the photo on the right, the poster lists the “Ten Commandments” that the sophomores laid out for freshmen that year. On the left, the poster starts out by telling the freshmen to read and remember “this mandate of your Masters, The Mighty Sophomores.” It then uses two acronyms — ones spelling out “Obedience” and the other spelling out “Commandments” — to lay out the rules. For example, the B in Obedience says “B stands for Bravery, let little be shown. Save it up til you’re full grown.”

The Phyrst


This one is a Phyrst staple. What other bar do you know that has a working fire hydrant?! Although it isn’t used now, in the past, it was a part of Table Wars. If someone messed up doing the cowbell, the patrons in the bar could cheer for the hydrant to soak them.

The mugs that hang above the bar at the Phyrst, which you can see here above the hydrant, were part of a mug rental program that no longer exists. Years ago, if you rented a mug, you would get your beer at a 50 percent discount.

Café 210 West

Cafe_100 Days Wall_Stock_Morton Lin

These signs list the names of the dedicated patrons who have completed the 55 Days of Café challenge. This tradition is currently in its eighth year, and as you can tell by the plaques above, a ton of people love participating in it.

The All-American Rathskeller

Photo by Morton Lin

Now this is a sign with a cool story behind it. If you’ve ever looked around the walls of the historic Skeller, you may have noticed this check hanging on the wall. The background behind this piece is that Timothy Leary, a writer and psychologist, visited the Skeller in 1991 and after his request to purchase one of the bar’s tables was denied, the Skeller ended up shipping one to his house. In return, he sent a thank you and a check for $1.

Photo by Morton Lin

This photo hanging on the walls of the Skeller shows some of the bar’s history. It’s crazy to see the way the bar was decorated and the way the waiters dressed back in the day!

Did we miss your favorite sign or decoration? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Mindy Szkaradnik

Mindy is a senior majoring in Print Journalism, Spanish, and Global and International Studies. She is the 12th member of her family to attend Penn State, she loves Bruce Springsteen, and her friends are always making fun of her for talking too much about study abroad. She can be reached on Twitter (@mszkarad) or via email ([email protected]).

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