BBC's liquor license indefinitely suspended

Owners, now forbidden to sell liquor in CA, will have to transfer license

By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

Until another owner takes over operations at the landmark British Bankers Club, at the corner of El Camino Real and Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park, the restaurant and bar will not be licensed to serve beer, wine or liquor, according to a spokesman for the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agency.

The owners of the club settled with the ABC in October 2011, agreeing to a suspension of the liquor license, effective Jan. 2, 2012, the suspension to remain in effect until the license is transferred to a new owner, ABC spokesman John Carr said in a telephone interview.

The complaint from the ABC calls the club "a disorderly house" that created problems for the Menlo Park Police Department in that officers "were required to respond and/or make numerous calls, investigations, arrests or patrols concerning the conduct and acts occurring in or around said premises, and which thereby created conditions then and there contrary to public welfare and morals."

The list of 39 incidents from 2009 and 2010 includes sexual battery and sexual penetration of an "unaware victim" on the premises; a terrorist threat; assaults with a deadly weapon; battery with serious injury, including battery on a medic; and numerous public intoxication and disturbance calls.

"The current owners will not be selling alcohol (in California) anymore," Mr. Carr said. In a previous story, the Almanac listed the owners as Lance White and Richard Eldridge. The club has not responded to requests for an interview.

The club's new owner will have to reapply for a liquor license and undergo the normal local process in acquiring one, which typically includes a background check, Mr. Carr said.

The owners received due process and could have hired an attorney and presented their case to an administrative law judge, but chose to settle, Mr. Carr said.

The ABC handles "dozens" of similar cases each year, Mr. Carr said.

The historic brick building that houses the BBC at 1080 El Camino Real used to house Menlo Park's administrative and police departments.

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Like this comment
Posted by Em
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

'The ABC handles "dozens" of similar cases each year, Mr. Carr said.'

lol "dozens"

Like this comment
Posted by about time
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm

The amazing thing is that it took so long for the ABC to take action. The incidents go back to 2009. The violations were so serious that the two owners choose to settle and will not be allowed to sell alcohol anywhere in CA. The investigation has been going on for well over a year, yet it took until now to suspend their license. One wonders if State budget cuts have left the ABC so understaffed that they cannot handle more than "dozens" of cases a year, allowing law breakers like Lance White and Richard Eldridge to continue operating long after they should have been shut down.

Like this comment
Posted by Cynthia Wagner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I would like to see back issues of your paper that indicates this establishment was disorderly. I have read many good reviews about the BBC, especially the fashion shows, art shows, and the many organizations that chose to have their Christmas and other celebrations there. Seems I recall the City Chamber meeting there.

I am a senior and I like the BBC. Great place for a good meal with good atmosphere.

Like this comment
Posted by science gal
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Jan 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

The BBC has long been known as a party place for teens and 20 somethings Friday and Sat. evenings. Underage drinking was rampant there - it wasn't safe for young women to be by the end. The owners were negligent to say the least if not outright complacent. Some of the women victimized there should have sued.

What the ABC has done is good for the community.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Cynthia - the archives for The Almanac are easily searchable so you can find back stories, if any that way. You can also contact the police to find out how to access the public record re the BBC.

Like this comment
Posted by Pam
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Jan 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm

What a shame this has happened to the BBC. However, even 30 years ago it was known as a meat market for sleazy pick-ups. I hope a new owner can fix its problems.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Sykes
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm

What a shame. Terrible news. What about a BYOB line dancing hall? They have the floor space.

Like this comment
Posted by annoyed
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

This is stupid. The last good bar in town. Where do we go now? Maybe Menlo Park citizens don't understand how bars work.

Like this comment
Posted by Rich Business Man
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I would like to procure this establishment, what are the owners asking for the location? Also, who might I write out this check to? Please advise.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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