from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A restaurant or tavern, usually below street level, that serves beer.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A bar or restaurant in a basement, especially one that serves beer.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Orig., in Germany, the cellar or basement of the city hall, usually rented for use as a restaurant where beer is sold; hence, a beer saloon of the German type below the street level, where, usually, drinks are served only at tables and simple food may also be had; -- sometimes loosely used, in English, of what are essentially basement restaurants where liquors are served.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The cellar of a town hall; a public wine-cellar; hence, a room, or rooms, below the level of the street, in which wine and beer are sold.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a tavern below street level featuring beer; originally a German restaurant in the basement of city hall
German Ratskeller, Rathskeller, restaurant in the city hall basement : German Rat, council, counsel (from Middle High German rāt, from Old High German) + German Keller, cellar (from Middle High German, from Old High German kellāri, from Latin cellārium; see cellar).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
German Rat ("council") + Keller ("cellar") (Wiktionary)