The Minnesota State Capitol’s surprisingly unabashed paean to the joys of drinking — its rathskeller-style basement cafeteria — now will be able to host the real thing.

It’s now legal to serve wine and beer in the rathskeller, following approval last week by the St. Paul City Council of an on-sale wine and malt liquor license to comply with a state law passed last spring and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Liquor hasn’t been served at the Capitol for decades — at least over the counter.

Architect Cass Gilbert modeled the rathskeller after a German beer hall, decorating it with old country symbols and slogans such as “Noch einen gegen das bose Wetter” (One more for the dismal weather) and “Ein Frischer Trank, der Arbeit Dank” (A drink is thanks for a job well done).

The walls were whitewashed in 1917 in the German backlash during World War I. But in 1999, the original artwork was replicated and the room restored to its original appearance. The law allows the public to rent the rathskeller for special events.

Kevin Duchschere