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State suspends liquor license for British Bankers Club

Original post made on Jan 6, 2012

The landmark British Bankers Club restaurant and bar in Menlo Park has had its liquor license put on hold by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 6, 2012, 11:09 AM

Comments (19)

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Posted by Too-Much-ABC-For-The-BBC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

> According to the Daily Post, the suspension came as a result of
> numerous police calls made to the bar during the past two years.

Hmm .. what's missing in this article is a little substance.

So .. how does the State's ABC folks find out about the number of police calls to a bar?

Does the local police have a state requirement to send a report to the ABC (sooner-or-later) that identifies all of the calls at a bar/restaurant (liquor license holder) that it makes?

Did some someone complain, which caused a probe of the BBC that did not directly involve the local police?

Is there a publicly available list of call-outs that can give us some idea of what the ABC considers "too many"?

If the problems turn out to be inside the premise, then maybe the owners might need to change some management approaches, but if the problems happen outside, should the license holders be held accountable?

There is far too much "big brother" going on here, too little "journalism", and far too little transparency in the resolution of public problems where the BBC is concerned.

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Posted by Austin
a resident of Woodside
on Jan 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Sounds as if Menlo Park's overall push to be a bland and gentrified community is claiming a victim. Next up: the Oasis then the Dutch Goose will be pushed out.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I've heard the local constabulary talk about problems at the BBC, but not The O or The Goose. FWIW, that's gossip, but it's informed gossip.

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Posted by Jill
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm

The BBC problems with police had been growing, and the loss of the liquor license was predictable. The rape case brought a lot of police attention to the BBC that probably led to the increased enforcement.

(BTW, it's classy that the Weekly/Almanac credited the Daily Post for this story. So often I see Post stories picked up by the Weekly/Almanac with no attribution.)

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Posted by Old MP
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 7, 2012 at 4:59 am

Ummm - The Goose is in unincorporated MP...MP has no say.

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Posted by Too-Much-ABC-For-The-BBC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

The Daily News published a fairly good accounting of the situation in its Saturday edition.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm

It has nothing to do with MP PD, OLD MP & more to do with the BBC and any complaints from whatever local law enforcement is responsible.

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Posted by Phil
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Gentrification has zero to do with it, and the Dutch Goose and Oasis have nothing to worry about. Why? Because those two establishments are not the focus of repeated calls, drunken incidents and complaints. The BBC created this situation and no one else. It wasn't Menlo Park's fault, or the police department's fault, or anyone else. It's called accountability.

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Posted by Too-Much-ABC-For-The-BBC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

The following came from an article about the BBC license suspension on the Menlo Park Patch:
Web Link

An investigation by the ABC into the disorder and misconduct taking place at the bar began almost two years ago at the request of Menlo Park Police, said Szakacs.

A variety of repeated offenses such as reports of drunkenness, fighting, noise complaints from neighbors, drugs, prostitution or other types of disorderly conduct can result in an alcohol license being revoked, said Szakacs.

And though he did not cite a specific case that resulted in the department's decision, Szakacs said that concerns about overly intoxicated patrons and repeated fights breaking out at the bar were a factor.

Szakacs also confirmed that the arrest of two bar employees for sexual assault in 2010 were considered as part of the investigation.

So .. this situation was seemingly initiated by the MP Police. It would be interesting to look at the case file that that ABC accumulated to see exactly how many "complaints" were received by the ABC, and who were the initiators of these complaints.

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Posted by It's all in the name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

I thought this was a select club for British Professional Gentlepeople, and imagined in frequented by Rumpole and similar ilk.

Please can someone tell me the history of the name and the building as it always sounded very genteel to us.

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Posted by It's all in the name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2012 at 8:55 am

Afterthought - and the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation, has a couple of nicknames, The Broken Biscuit Company or Auntie Beeb, and it must be pointed out that all 3 have nothing to do with the Menlo Park establishment.

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Posted by Phil
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

Hey Too-Much-ABC, why are you dropping overtones of unfairness or a conspiracy? Both the Menlo Park PD and ABC are law enforcement agencies, and like with all law enforcement agencies, it is very common for them to work together, share information, and conduct joint operations. It looks like the BBC had a lengthy history of negative incidents, which they are solely responsible for. Nobody else's fault but theirs.

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Posted by Too-Much-ABC-For-The-BBC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

> Why the hints of conspiracy ??

Well .. it never fails that if you can’t understand the issues .. you yell “racism” .. or “conspiracy” .. here in Palo Alto.

The first posting suggest that there might be a “lack of journalism” going on. Maybe that’s the conspiratorial tone you might have detected. Over the next couple days, two other papers have helped to “demystify” this situation, by providing details about the situation. However, none of these publications seem to have done a very good job of actually researching the issue.

The ABC folks have a web-site, where they publish “legal actions” against license holders who are found to be in non-compliance with State law/regulation. The following was posted on their web-site in the past:
Web Link
File#: 464181 Status: ACTIVE Date:23-APR-08 Dist: Action: 24 ACCUSATION
REG#: 10073683 Date:28-OCT-10 Cleared: Date: Recvd: 13-AUG-10 Agency:
1090 EL CAMINO REAL, MENLO PARK, CA 94025-4306 4107 6125.0
License Types: 47 MI: Y Status: ACTIVE Date: 23-APR-08 Expires: 31-MAR-11 Dups: 0 Term: 12



Now .. “charges” may be truthful, or they may be false. That’s why we have “due process”. As it turns out, the license holders chose not to fight the suspension, causing a reasonable person to think that perhaps the charges were true.

However, the number of times these events occurred is not in the terse recap, making a peek at the file (#464181) kind of something that a news outlet might be tempted to do.

Due process, and the “triggers” which agencies like the ABC are geared to for pulling these "triggers", would also be something that perhaps might make for interesting reading. Particularly since most people probably would not agree that the BBC was a “disorderly house”.
What about other suspensions? Here’s a press release from a couple of suspension in Northern California during 2008:
Web Link
In the press release, it seems that illegal drugs were being sold in these establishments. OK .. that should be enough to shut them down .. but what about charges against those doing the selling? Nothing in the press release.

We also take note of the following--

Any person or group of individuals who applies for a new license will be subject to a background investigation by ABC, and the application will also be reviewed by local law enforcement, the City Council and city planners.

So .. did the current BBC license holders have a background check? Were they clean? Are these BCs effective? And just how much involvement should “city planners” have in determining the granting of liquor licenses?

All-in-all, there is a lot to talk about .. and very little seems to suggest “conspiracy” .. except to the “conspiracy nuts” .. which seem to frequent this web-site in great numbers.

At any rate, rather than trying to marginalize, or dismiss, suggestions that poor journalism is acceptable in Palo Alto, "Phil" .. why not try Googling a little next time a try to see if there is more information that provided here on the Weekly web-site.

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Posted by nonsense
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm

They are treating a pumpkin seed as if it is a watermelon.

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Posted by dw
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

I'm really going to miss the smell of vomit as I walk down Santa Cruz Ave to the station.

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Posted by takehome
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

Really hope you would step on it and take it with you home.

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Posted by tammy
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jan 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

1 person likes this
Posted by MD
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Lance BAD KARMA what goes around comes around think of what you did several yrs ago.

Like this comment
Posted by Dean Fresh
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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