Sometime this month Lance White of San Jose will take over as the new owner of the British Bankers Club, at the corner of El Camino Real and Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park.
Mr. White, who has 25 years of experience as a restaurateur and catering company owner in San Jose, vows to restore the popular hangout to its original glory. Along with spiffing up the interior and the outdoor dining area, he is planning to hire a new executive chef and upgrade the food.
"I want to make it a place where people come for a nice dinner and to listen to a little jazz," he says. There will also be jazz at Sunday brunch.
Mr. White, who grew up in San Jose, says he had never visited the BBC until he was looking to buy it, but all his Redwood City relatives were familiar with the place. "Even my mom used to go there," he says.
The BBC has been Menlo Park's upscale version of "Cheers" since 1973. The original owner, Dennis Grimsman of Atherton, created the atmosphere of a private London club in the classic brick bank building that dates back to 1922. At one time the building housed Menlo Park's city hall, police department and jail.
Its interior includes a mahogany back bar, authentic Tiffany stained glass windows, and many original Tiffany lamps. Its largest chandelier was originally ensconced in the Philadelphia Opera House.
For the past eight years, the British Bankers Club has been named best bar and music venue by The Almanac's Readers Choice Awards.