News

Social media 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 with ties to Palo Alto.

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.

Van Natta, a Palo Alto resident and graduate of Palo Alto High School, worked in key positions at a roster of social media companies -- including as COO of Facebook and CEO of MySpace -- before resigning as chief business officer of Zynga in November 2011. He and his 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.

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

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reopen-The-BBC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2012 at 9:22 am

Let's hope these folks are successful in obtaining the necessary licenses and local approvals. The BBC has a lot to offer Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

Perhaps with local ownership, better management and oversight of management will keep the violations down, and the BCC open.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

This place was there for a long time, and as a woman, always looked like the least appealing and least authentic etablishment. Knock it down and start over, with a new name.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by T.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 23, 2012 at 10:46 am

"Neighbor", as a woman, I loved the BBC, it's beautiful inside and out and I am very excited that it may reopen, huzzah!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeanie Smith
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

BBC used to be a really classy place with upscale clientele, discreet barkeeps, and a sophisticated ambiance. It used to be THE place to go to meet well-heeled men, or have an excellent meal, or impress over a business lunch. What a shame it fell into such disrepute...

I hope Van Natta can bring it back to its former glory-- I for one would appreciate its return.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ynez
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 23, 2012 at 11:31 am

Close it down please. Its a dive


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shine
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

If this goes like Van Natta's last three ventures (Amazon, Zynga, Facebook), BBC will be worth $10B by end of 2013.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearl
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm

And, much earlier in the last century, old-timers will remember that the BBC builing was the Bank of America headquarters in Menlo Park. I remember my mother taking me there as a kid when she had to do the family banking. Oh, for the good, old days!!! ; )


 +   Like this comment
Posted by michelle
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm

rumor has it the "new" guy pulled out....but dont worry, It will come back...and REMAIN BBC!


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