Former Facebook exec claims British Bankers Club

New alcohol license pending for controversial Menlo Park landmark

Eight months after the party stopped at the landmark British Bankers Club in Menlo Park, signs of revival appeared, thanks to a former social media executive.

According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which yanked the pub's liquor license in January, a new company led by Owen Van Natta has asked to transfer the permit. Agency representatives said the license is pending.

Mr. Van Natta worked in key positions at a roster of social media companies -- including Facebook and MySpace -- before resigning as CBO of Zynga in November 2011. He and wife Jennifer applied for the alcohol license as the owners of Evergreen Park Hospitality Group, based in Palo Alto. The company also filed for federal registration of the BBC trademark in March.

The historic brick building at 1090 El Camino Real used to house Menlo Park's administrative and police departments, but in more recent years became known for a crowd whose rowdiness resulted in numerous police visits.

The BBC made headlines in 2010 when a busboy and a cook were arrested for sexually assaulting two women at the club. Police said the men followed the women when they went to an upstairs room in the club to sleep after becoming intoxicated. Both pleaded guilty to related charges.

Former owners Lance White and Richard Eldridge initially said the BBC had closed for remodeling, but eventually posted an announcement on its website saying that it would not reopen.

The signs of revival are sparse, however: Phone lines remain disconnected at the club, and calls to the Evergreen Group went unanswered even by voicemail. Menlo Park city staff said no one has yet applied for the new business license required to reopen the BBC.

Mr. Van Natta was not available for comment on plans for the club.

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Like this comment
Posted by A neighbor
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

A Menlo Park business license is of no real use, without the Alcohol permit, so that's the logical place to start. If they cannot transfer the existing license, they are likely to abandon the project rather than try to apply from scratch.

Like this comment
Posted by Nick
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Would be excited to see it reopen, to get some more beer/bar options. However, I hope they go for a bit of a redesign. That was the most expensive, worst, food I have seen in a while. Cocktails were good, though.

Like this comment
Posted by The Hoister
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm

"Cocktails were good, though."

C'mon.... ever had a BAD cocktail? Can count those on one hand. There are differences, of course, in the quality of a drink due to ingredients and the mastery of who is building it, but a truly bad cocktail? Nah. (I won't make the obvious comparison)

Let's hope they build some of the better cocktails at the new BBC. Welcome aboard, Owen and Jennifer. Look forward to hoisting one!

Federal trademark reg? Going big time?

Like this comment
Posted by Downtown neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm

We are so glad to see this beautiful building go back into service... and we're hoping it will have a full bar, to boot! And Hoister, they really did have great old-fashioned cocktails. I hope they will make a reappearance at the new BBC.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Wohler
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Hope they bring back the comfy chairs!

I'd love to see dart boards too.

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