News

Feud with landlord could close down Bierhaus

Popular downtown beer garden could be gone this fall; owner considering lawsuit

Even though it may be filled to the brim with patrons, the popular downtown pub Bierhaus is being threatened with closure in the next couple of months. The owners of the 383 Castro St. location have put the beer garden on notice that the lease will not be renewed, warning that it will need to clear out by the end of September.

The fight brewing between Bierhaus owner Mike Finley and his landlord has gone from sour to toxic in the past several months. The landlord and restaurant owner now communicate through attorneys, and the conflict seems destined for a lawsuit.

Finley says he wants to sign a short-term lease and is willing to pay market rate rent to stay put, but his landlord will no longer do business with him. Finley is now alleging that his landlord is planning to essentially steal his successful business concept by kicking him out and opening a duplicate beer garden at the same site.

"Bierhaus is like my first born child. I put all my money and an incredible amount of work and intellectual property into it," Finley said. "To yank this away from me, that's simply an injustice."

Finley's landlord, the Tran family of San Jose, said they are simply trying to manage their property and they are fully within their rights not to renew the Bierhaus lease.

Their relationship took a dive earlier this year when the Tran family submitted plans to the city of Mountain View to redevelop the 383 Castro St. site into a four-story office building. In response, Finley went public with his concerns about the office project, saying it would ruin the appeal of Bierhaus as well as the city's downtown core.

The conflict has taken on a political dimension amid the larger question over Mountain View's bustling downtown. Livable Mountain View, a group skeptical of downtown redevelopment, came to champion Bierhaus as a business that deserves protection.

Earlier this week, the Tran family felt the need to explain their side of the story. Khoe Tran and Nghiem Truong and their two adult children attended a packed Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association meeting on Monday and detailed their plans to rebuild the site. The meeting was reportedly organized by former Councilman Mike Kasperzak, who is consulting for the family on the project.

They emphasized their humble origins as an immigrant family who scrimped and saved to buy the former Wienerschnitzel building in 2007. Speaking to the Voice, daughter Dana Tran said her parents put their life savings and home equity into the purchase. She insisted that her family wasn't trying to turn a quick buck on the property.

"If we only wanted to make money on this property, we would have sold it to developers years ago," Tran said. "We're trying to do what we can to keep this in our family. This is our American dream."

Following the purchase, the Tran family signed a 10-year lease with Mehmet Degerli, who initially opened a Turkish cafe at the location. That eatery didn't pan out, and Degerli later entered into a partnership with Finley. Degerli and co-owner Scott Snyder are currently silent partners in Bierhaus, Finley said.

Tran said her mother, Nghiem Truong, was in charge of managing the lease, but she quickly encountered problems. Degerli often could not make his monthly rent payments as his restaurant struggled in the post-recession economy. Her mother would try to be compassionate and she sometimes let the rent payments slide, but her charity eventually bottomed out, Tran said.

"She kept saying that when the market is better, they would pay on time. But it just continued going on," Tran said. "She was trying to help them out, but now we think that she was taken advantage of."

Finley inherited some of that resentment after taking over the lease and opening his successful beer garden concept. Tran said her parents became frustrated with Finley because he never would pay his rent on the first of the month, even after they had issued warnings.

Finley said he has never missed a payment. The language in his lease gives him latitude on when he makes his monthly payments, he said. He believes the Tran family's complaints over rent are a pretext for kicking him out.

Finley has his own set of grievances against the Tran family. He blames them for failing to maintain the property, particularly in 2016 when a sewer line under the building ruptured. The incident forced Bierhaus to close for days, but the Tran family refused to fix it, he said. He eventually had to pay $30,000 for repairs. He could have sued, but the costs of taking it to court would have made any damage award a Pyrrhic victory.

"Practically speaking, the (sewer) lateral lasts at least 30 years and my lease was over in two years," he said. "They receive the economic benefit of my investment. That is not fair."

Finley alleges that the Tran family has repeatedly ignored the language in their own lease. They were initially pressuring Bierhaus to close down in June, but attorneys working for Finley alerted them that his lease remained valid until the end of September. Finley's attorneys have also pointed out that the Trans agreed in their lease that they would negotiate a new lease in good faith. By a wide margin, Bierhaus should be the obvious choice to remain at that site until it is redeveloped, they said.

Based on the community input, Dana Tran said it was abundantly clear that residents appreciated the concept of Bierhaus as a casual gathering place. The family is currently working on a new restaurant concept that would maintain that appeal, she said. They were in talks to open a new beer garden with a group of partners whom she declined to identify.

In effect, would that be stealing Finley's idea for Bierhaus? Tran said that wasn't the case.

"I don’t think he came up with the beer garden concept. That’s been around everywhere," she said. "I don't believe that’s his concept."

Finley doesn't agree, and he says there is considerable "intellectual property" invested in his pub concept. Working with his dad and sister, he is launching a second Bierhaus in Oakland in the near future. But he wants to keep his business open in Mountain View.

He is currently considering a lawsuit based on violations of his lease that could be ready to file by the end of this week, he said.

"I'm willing to pay market rate, and this is a 40-year-old building that no money has been put into," he said. "This doesn't make any sense."

Comments

54 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:42 am

Another bit of downtown Mountain View's character being stripped away, for another office building. Oooh! Lucky us!

If the Trans cared even mildly about MV, they'd find a way for Bierhaus to remain and continue being a vibrant, tax-revenue-producing business, while they go through application process for their desired office building, which could take years.


28 people like this
Posted by joyce
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:54 am

Just a note of clarification: Livable Mountain View isn't skeptical of redevelopment per se. Personally, as a member, I believe that any redevelopment should be part of a larger, well-thought plan that incorporates the best practices of every great city/town. That would include community input, hiring an urban designer that understands the complexity of a vibrant mixed-use downtown, and the demand for a higher quality of architectural design that is compatible with the overall urban design plan.


38 people like this
Posted by Joyce
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

I'll also add that replacing a business whose model works well isn't as easy as just saying "we'll replace it with the same thing". There are multiple factors involved. Like any organization, the culture of a restaurant starts with the leadership. It's casual, friendly, communal, and people like the employees. Another beer house isn't guaranteed to be Bierhaus. Why did all those other businesses fail before it?

How the restaurant relates to the street is another. I heard a neighbor at the OMNVA meeting say that a big draw for her is walking downtown and being able to see all those dining outside together, that it makes her feel like she's part of a community. Having that open dining area allows people walking from just about every sidewalk to see everyone dining. On the flip side, as a diner, you can see everyone walking down the sidewalk. You might just spot a friend, say hi, maybe join them.

I heard that being outside is a huge draw for the patrons. Lucky for us, our climate allows this model to work for a good chunk of the year. Having window walls that open is not the same as having the sky above. Only those sitting next to the windows feel like they are almost outside.

Some at the meeting stated an indoor atmosphere might work, but any open and airy beer house or beer garden would need a soaring ceiling height. Tied House is an example. The Loma Brewing Company in Los Gatos is another. It's easy to find out how tall those ceilings are to see how much space it takes to feel open and airy.


62 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:27 pm

I was skeptical until I read the article. A landlord should not be allowed to force out a tenant and then appropriate their successful business.


72 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:42 pm

I can say for a fact that such a blatant attempt to force out a legitimate and beloved business and redeploy a mirrored shade of the same business in their absence would simply be boycotted by the community. The Tran's are doing themselves and their community a significant disservice by attempting to perform unethical business practices in the heart of a thriving community of savvy individuals who pride themselves on being well informed and supporting establishments they enjoy. They can unsuccessfully attempt to use the cliche and veiled "this is our American dream" story for the average person but anyone with half a brain can see this is flagrant disregard for the community and profiteering in it's most basic element.


44 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:51 pm

@Joyce:
Excellent points. Planning and development in our fair city, now more than ever, demands vision, expertise and professionalism in how the downtown evolves. Hiring an urban designer with those attributes would be a wise first step.

@Reader:
You're absolutely correct. If the Trans attempt to capitalize on Bierhaus's success with some ersatz version of it, they should expect mass boycotting of such an establishment by Bierhaus fans/customers -- not to mention the likelihood of lawsuits.


62 people like this
Posted by CK
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 1:37 pm

I would absolutely boycott the copy cat replacement for BierHaus and encourage all my neighbors to do the same. I've met the owner he strikes me as a reasonable guy. His personality and the type of employees and customers he attracts are part of the appeal of BierHaus. Tran family:i hope you are reading this and reconsider. You may find yourselves with picketers outside your new restaurant. And thank you to the Voice for covering this poetant issue.


50 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:01 pm

There is more going on here than most readers are aware, more than this story brought out (though it goes into more depth than the earlier Voice story in January, about Bierhaus's expected closure). I don't know all of it, but I know enough to be certain that some of the people commenting here would likely have different views if they had more of the picture.

One basic reality: Even with perfect lessor-lessee relations, a 10-year lease is a limited-time contract, and everyone knew that all along. Many well-loved downtown businesses have either closed or moved when they were unable to renew such a lease under terms that worked for them. While it would be great if these property owners and this business tenant got along, and continued working together, it also has been clear for a long time, years apparently, that the owners didn't choose to renew with Mike Finley, and it's absurd to think that they somehow ought to (or be pressured to) do so unwillingly. He in turn has long known that use of the property would expire with the lease, and has had a long time to plan accordingly.

Wait and see what develops, before you start talking about things like boycotting.


52 people like this
Posted by Boycott
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:14 pm

@Humble observer

Of course, there is more going on than what has been reported here. More will be revealed as time progresses.

But the Trans should understand that if they are planning to kick out Finley and replace Bierhaus with a copycat, it may the the worst financial move they have ever made.

I for one would boycott such a place. Also, it's harder than it may seem to recreate the same atmosphere. The curse of former failures may return to that corner!


41 people like this
Posted by Agree W/Humble Observer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Humble Observer hit-the-nail-on-the-head.

There is nothing new here between lessor and lessee, and we have a judicial system for contractual disagreements, not public debate over a private business dealings.


38 people like this
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:26 pm

I grow weary with the outrage, and instant "boycotting" of a possible same-themed restaurant. The Tran family owns the property, and are completely w/i their rights to have Finley leave. So be it. I personally would keep an open, tolerant, mind and judge any new restaurant at that site on the quality of the food and staff. But to blindly boycott it? Never.


26 people like this
Posted by Humble observer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:26 pm

What I mean is, wait and see what you don't now know. There are circumstances under which *you* would choose *not* to boycott another beer garden on the same spot, even if that is not yet clear. Wait, then opine.


39 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:33 pm

@Humble observer - No one is contending anything regarding lease stipulations or the legal rights of the owner. This is purely about an organized and advertised effort by the Tran family to prey on the intellectual property of a beloved business in the community and replace it with a carbon copy without a soul. The community wont stand for it and that shouldn't be surprising. And regarding your comment about the Tran family being pressured, that is how business is done. It is actually absurd to think pressure is not what drives business. If a business owner wants to be successful they will aim to accommodate the desires and needs of their community. It is the responsibility of an integrated community to apply pressure where it is needed to achieve the desired outcome of said community.


32 people like this
Posted by Sane Mountain View
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Sane Mountain View is a registered user.

@Humble observer -- yes the landlords are within their rights to tell the press that Bierhaus is late if they don't pay on the first, and yet it also appears the lease allows for payment during a range of days.

And yes, they can not renew Bierhaus and get their own.. we eat at Bierhaus 2 times a week. Love it. Will not go to their rip off place because we know they would be doing it in bad faith.. and there are plenty of other places to go.

We are within our rights to take our $700 a month spent at Bierhaus and go somewhere we like, if Bierhaus is ripped from the community.

And no, we don't support their plans for a 4 story office building taller than Shiva's clock tower and Scratch's building.. with NO PARKING. Ugg.. these people are awful.

The first three blocks of downtown are supposed to be protected. So much for a city council that has the resident's interests at heart. The majority of council just cares about greedy land owners and big business at residents, and small businesses expense.


21 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Based on the pattern in dt MV, the space will revert to a fast food restaurant anyway. Castro St is tuning into s second rate mall thanks to poor decisions by City Hall


20 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:14 pm

@Humble observer
Ask yourself why the Trans are apparently planning to open a copycat beer garden in this location instead of some other kind of business. The answer, of course, is that they think they can co-opt the clientele whom Mike Finely has spent years cultivating and without any compensation to Mr. Finley. That is theft!


5 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Yes, the Trans have the right to not tenew the lease.

Their story is self-contradicting: first, put up another unecessary office building and second, put up a clone biergarten.

If rhey go option 1, the city council must act, hopefully with a balanced eye looking ng at all the overpriced office buildings still unleased or a shame like over by 23 and Me.

If they go with option 2, their motive for endung the lease is entirely suspect.

I luke Bierhaus, but as biergartess go, it’s not really very good. Still, I’ll miss it when it leaves... and if I have to walk by another office building on my to Castro, that’d be igly.


37 people like this
Posted by love my city
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:41 pm

So much passion! Mr Finley and his team should be proud of creating the quintessential Mountain View eatery- that is Bierhaus. I suppose what does not add up for me, is that the Trans Family would want to push out a successful and beloved business, when they know it will take years, if ever, to have final approval of an 4-5 story office building. Especially given that what our DT needs is housing, not more offices.

It seems to me, that while the Trans Family may have the legal right to do as they desire with their property, they are overlooking the Community whose patronage allowed them to hold on to the property until the goose delivered the golden egg. They neglected improvements and collected rent all those years. So now they won't allow Mr. Finley to re-negotiate a short term lease? Seems to me, now that they have the recipe for a successful restaurant, they not only want the rental income, but all the business revenue. And the best part is, they still won't be making improvements to the building as it will be destroyed. Pretty sweet deal. I would say the Trans Family doesn't understand our Mountain View Community at all.

As I look around our DT, it seems our Council and our City Manager, have forgotten too. So sad... I sure hope there will be great candidates running for office in November. Our Council Incumbents have sold our DT to developers. They need to go!


13 people like this
Posted by LAN
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 4:00 pm

I find it interesting that the true reason the Tran family wants the Bierhaus out is for a 4-story office complex???? It seems a bit greedy and sad that they would want to oust a successful business. Mountain View doesn't need another office complex downtown. An office complex would only add to the ever growing traffic, and tax the already weakened infra structure.


27 people like this
Posted by Paul
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 4:55 pm

I love Bierhaus, but I have to laugh at the silly peanut gallery for thinking they can tell the property owners to renew. The Trans can choose whether to renew a lease or not. Our legal system attempts to give equal capitalist access to every American citizen. Go be an oligarch in Russia if you hate our way of life. Only a few oligarchs in Russia run the entire economy there.


34 people like this
Posted by Julie Stanford
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:06 pm

I am using my real name as I am standing behind my comments. I really don't feel like we have enough information to rush to judgment about the relationship between the Trans and Bierhaus. With all due respect to the Mountain View Voice, they did their best to present what they could learn about the story, but I am sure there is a lot more to this story that we don't know as it has been going on for years and any disagreement that gets to a court case has a lot more going on than is captured here. Having seen people I know personally be involved in disagreements where they were unfairly painted as villains, I don't think it's right to assume that the Trans or Mike Finly are bad people in this situation either. I don't know what party is at fault in this disagreement (probably a mix), who is planning to be involved in a new restaurant, exactly what the plans are, etc... I attended the meeting this week and shared my point of view about how much I love the Bierhaus and how I want the council to prevent a large building from being built on that space to preserve the unique atmosphere of downtown and this corner in particular. However, I don't think it's right, especially given that the Trans do own the building and will continue owning the building so are going to be involved in this corner for the forseeable future, to rush to judgment that anything they do will be wrong. Let's share our point of view on what we would like to see happen on that corner in the long term and work with the city to get that to happen. But let's also wait and see what happens in the short term without threatening a boycott based on minimal information, -- we don't really have all the facts.


7 people like this
Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm

Cordelia is a registered user.

Why does the City Council want to help the Trans put up a new office complex? It's because of how we have setup motivations and rewards in California. Prop 13 has created the housing mess in California by removing the economic incentives for the elderly to move away. The elderly in single family houses don't pay their fair share in taxes thanks to Prop 13, so the only way for growing cities to grow their revenue is to create office buildings. It's not just the Bay Area. San Diego and parts of Los Angeles are also extremely overpriced. Take a look at Mountain View, we probably have 10 times as many jobs as we do places to live.


10 people like this
Posted by MV Renter Who Loves MV
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:29 pm

MV Renter Who Loves MV is a registered user.

OHHH! What a class act, the Tran family. If the Bierhaus goes, boycott any establishment put in its place. Awful, greedy Tran family.


14 people like this
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:39 pm

No one should read a single account in a news source, any news source, and assume they know enough to form an opinion about a specific case. Most of the commenters are simply projecting through their pre-formed construct fields.

There seem to be two conflicting ideologies at work here. The first, roughly, the Free Market viewpoint, says that landlords own their property and therefore they have the right to rent to whomever they want, whenever they want. The second, roughly, the communitarian view, says, the city belongs to us all, we all have a stake in what kind of downtown we create, and we should therefore take steps to try to create the environment we want rather than letting commerce and the profit motive be the first principle.

Of course, the second brings a crucial question: Who do we trust to create the downtown we want? Do we trust the collective entity we call "government," which is supposed to represent the people but tends to lean towards those interests with the most money? And who even decides what "we" want in the first place?

I'm not sure there's a good answer to these questions, especially with the current, dying systems we have in place. But that doesn't mean the outcomes we see when commodification is the first principle are necessarily the ones we want, either. Perhaps we can all soften our ideological construct fields and figure out how to collectively create a better city for all of us.


10 people like this
Posted by Robert Cox
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 6:37 pm

>> The meeting was reportedly organized by former Councilman Mike Kasperzak, who is consulting for the family on the project.

More accurately, the Old Mountain View Steering Committee Meeting is a recurring meeting where any resident or property owner living in Old Mountain View can request an item of interest to be put on the agenda to inform neighborhood's other residents or property owners. Mr. Kasperzak approached on behalf of the Trans so they could present their plans and their point of view on what was going on with respect to Bierhaus.

So, if you are an Old Mountain View resident or property owner who would has an item that you believe would be of general interest, please e-mail me at robert.cox@intel.com and your item can also be added to the agenda.


38 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2018 at 7:26 pm

@Paul, question for you.

If I am a property owner and my tenant has a successful business on my property, do I have a right to evict said tenant and open a copycat business of my own on said property? (thus, monetizing for my own exclusive benefit the tenant's most valuable asset--his loyal customer base)

I believe that is NOT the American way! Your condescending comments about Russian oligarchs are really off base and not appreciated.


12 people like this
Posted by Resedent
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2018 at 8:23 pm

The councilman is representing the Trans?! Sounds like a case of conflict of interest.

I wonder if this would fly twenty five years ago? Let's say if a landlord closed on a lease at Linda's, then. Opened a duplicate business that offered tater tots and a Parisian burger?


Or,if they forced out, Tony & Alba's,
Then copied the recipe for the Tony's Special, fresh garlic from the garden and all. How would this fly back then?

American Dream my eye.This is pure and simple greed. Think about it.



9 people like this
Posted by Jonathan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 8:59 pm

Bierhaus is a case study in the gentrification of downtown Mountain View for the benefit of the tech elite. It copied the success of Steins. Should we protect the copycat Bierhaus from the copycat immigrant landlords?

We know how this story ends: the landlord owns the building, and an unwanted tenant is a former tenant. Either way, gentrification proceeds apace.


8 people like this
Posted by Paul
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:42 pm

@ Larry

The truth comes out. You want to tell the Trans what to do because they aren't white enough for you. It's "not the American way" as you say. Hogwash.

When I was in New York many years ago, some of the best hotdogs were at Gray's Papaya. Who were their top competitors? Papaya King and Papaya Dog. Copycats? Yep. Good ole healthy American competition kept their feet and dogs to the fire.

Also, there's nothing stopping Bierhaus from opening in a different location and all the loyal customers will follow. I'll be among the first in line. That, my friend, is the true American way.


6 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:46 pm

The person representing the family is a former councilman so there is no conflict of interest.

And in general a landlord may not renew the lease if they don't want to. It is a different story if whatever they end up doing will have any success but it is their right.


13 people like this
Posted by @jonathan
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:58 pm

bierhaus came BEFORE steins by about 18 months. They were experimenting with a bunch of different names before settling on bierhaus.


25 people like this
Posted by Erlich
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2018 at 7:45 am

A very large percentage of people complaining here about the messy reality of a rules-based market economy derive their livelihood from that same economy. Silicon Valley is the archetype of raw capitalism, with all its rewards and flaws. If you work here, you participate in it. You are the Trans and you are Finley. We can be sad that a popular beer garden did not survive, but the entrepreneur evidently wasn’t savvy enough to turn a good idea into a sustainable business. Failures like that happen all the time around here and they part of the fabric of our unique and highly successful ecosystem.


4 people like this
Posted by Tanya
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:07 am

Where are all these commentors when Google keeps displacing people and changing the community so drastically? Is there an Amazon boycott every time a small business or a bookstore goes out of business? Why is there such anger towards this one immigrant family? If you want a say in how your community is changing, direct your attention towards the main cause of the change and legislate that.


12 people like this
Posted by Osprey
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2018 at 10:06 am

If a landlord wants to kick out a tenant when the lease is up, they are, by law, allowed to do so. Sounds like these guys at Bierhaus didn't even pay their rent when they should have, so the Trans could have kicked them out long ago.

I think a lot of the hatred on here has to do with the fact that the Trans are immigrants. I don't care how liberal Mountain View pretends to be, I've seen first hand how racist it can be. Bierhaus was no exception. I'm a brown lady and I definitely got sub-par service there multiple times.

As for everyone not wanting office buildings, apartment buildings, etc--I notice most of you guys don't mind selling out your houses for 2 million dollars and leasing out your buildings for enormous amounts of cash. So why so holy all of a sudden? You want to preserve the downtown? Should have thought of that years ago when Mountain View kept striking down plans to add housing. Now we have all these monstrous condos going up everywhere, because the desperation of the housing crisis has forced cities to slam through ill-conceived eyesore housing. Congratulations old-timers! You did this to yourselves.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2018 at 11:31 am

I'm sure the owners are within their rights to evict Bierhaus and start a similar business. It's probably legal, but it's also a pretty awful thing to do. Laws, thank God, don't yet govern civility.

John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, wrote book called "Conscious Capitalism" where he argues that we should do right by our fellow human beings, and make a profit by doing that, versus trying to maximize profits at all costs.

This profit maximization mindset is fairly new - started appearing as an argument in the mid 1980's, and correlates with the financialization of our economy - meaning, when the banks started picking winners and losers, the based success on shareholder revenue.

This Bierhaus/Landlord thing is a sucky situation all around. It sounds like a family made a difficult at the time, but lucky bet in buying a property which appreciated quite handsomely, and they want to cash in on that bet. That sounds like a very legitimate American dream kind of thing. Mr Finley took over a failing business and turned it around into a successful one, which is also one of those American Dream kinds of things. It's quite sad that someone will have to lose their dream here, one way or another. I don't see why people are vilifying the land lords here. What happened is that they've got property in a desirable area with a shortage of property, and whenever something is in such high demand, the fights get vicious.


36 people like this
Posted by love my city
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 27, 2018 at 11:52 am

Dear Osprey.... I don't know how many times you have been to Bierhaus, but what I can say is no restaurant and no business of any kind has a perfect customer service record. I frequent Bierhaus regularly with my family and more often with friends. I have NEVER had a bad experience. That is why I return again and again. Just because you had a rare bad experience doesn't mean the server is racist. So please don't take the "low road" by suggesting Bierhaus employees or Mr. Finley are racist. I have friends of every flavor and color and when deciding where to go for eats, they usually want to go back to Bierhaus. These comments are from the heart. Mountain View Residents are reacting to losing a meeting place they love. They are distraught as they witness the unique communal DT slip away...business by business...


5 people like this
Posted by love my city
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm

I sincerely hope the City Council is following this conversation. There is a proposal in planning for the city, along with a developer, to build a hotel and office space on city land near the transit center. If you voted for Council members with the understanding that their charter is to preserve and protect our DT for its citizens, then perhaps they could consider a land swap with the Trans Family allowing them to build housing (not more offices) on that proposed office space across from the hotel and allow Mr. Finley to remain for now. This way MV preserves a beloved space to remain, pending future development of the space that hopefully would be mixed use-housing with Bierhaus on the ground level. The housing could be stepped-back which would accommodate outdoor patio seating. Complicated I'm sure, but please try to be creative Council!


44 people like this
Posted by Long time MV res.
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:34 pm

A lot of you people commenting are not reading the actual story, making up "facts" not in the story, making up claims of endemic racism that doesn't exist. Pretty sad. Youre destroying my faith in Bay area folks.


Like this comment
Posted by mimi
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Bierhaus, if so many people love your place and make it a successful business, why don’t you pay the rent???
Would you keep serving customers who don’t pay for their drinks?
As for the drinkers....I don’t believe you will boycott the next place, that bar is just too well situated and you will just continue your habits of going there...


4 people like this
Posted by Say No.
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2018 at 1:55 pm

If it comes to it, do not give the Trans a liquor license.


9 people like this
Posted by Beir Fan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Are the Trans gready? Sure.

Illegal? Probably not.

Stealing the beer garden ideal is in poor taste and makes their immigrant community look poor. It’s not the American Dream to steal someone’s idea and kick them out, but it’s sure been done before.

Will I boycott? It depends if they actually do a copycat.


9 people like this
Posted by David Speakman
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 27, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Yawn. It's not like Mountain View residents have any shortage of places to get a beer or an overpriced hamburger.

The biggest impact the loss of Bierhaus will be less noise and fewer drunks wantering the neighborhoods nearby looking for their cars. Furthermore, the claim of intellectual property is weird. I was just in Chicago (Hofbräu Bierhaus) and Atlanta (Der Biergarten) and saw the same concept fone better. It's a pretty generic idea. Even Mountain View's old Infirmary did this. (As does Sunnyvale's St. John's Bar & Grill on Lawrence, currently).

The loss of BookBuyers to Gilroy due to rising rent was a bigger blow to Mountain View's culture.

Likewise, the loss of JoAnn Fabrics and Kohls on California Street to a new school will be worse for Mountain View residents and our tax coffers. The next nearest JoAnn is a drive to Cupertino or Fremont. As for Kohls, the next closest is in Milpitas at the Great Mall.

Meanwhile, throw a stick in Mountain View and you'll hit a burger joint and it will bounce off that and hit a bar.


Like this comment
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 30, 2018 at 7:32 pm

psr is a registered user.

I think the worst misinformation here is the implication that the Kohl's and JoAnn's would be staying if they weren't getting replaced with a school.

In case anyone missed this, that entire mall was always going to be completely replaced eventually. They were planning to cover the entire thing in high-rise buildings like they have done with the west side of the property. I, for one, find using that land to house a school rather than another ugly multi-story behemoth a far better use. The kids in these buildings are going to need to go to school and this at least starts to address that. Also, the city can use the open space. Those kids should get the chance to see what grass and trees look like and a New York style public school building is not going to do that.

Now, if we could only get the city council to stop selling our water and start adding more police and fire services to deal with all this new construction...


14 people like this
Posted by Howard
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:35 am

Howard is a registered user.

Why is this even an issue?

The tenant and landlord have a written lease and that is what it is. Both parties agreed by contract. There's no room for debate on what is right or how you feel about it.

If Mountain View residents want to start regulating commercial property leases then the voters need to include rent control on commercial properties too. What scares me is that the libbies might even try that!


Like this comment
Posted by IMHO
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

IMHO is a registered user.

I don't get the 'greedy' angle. Anyone who has owned a home in OMV for more than 5 years, would make a very tidy profit if they chose to sell, and I am SURE none of them would view themselves as greedy because their house price would be well beyond what a teacher or a working class family could ever afford. The Trans are in business to make a profit, end of story. I hate seeing popular local spots fall victim to redevelopment but that is our unfortunate reality.

As far as the City goes, my pet peeve is allowing street level property to be leased to the likes of Quora (at Church/Quora). The City DOES have control over what is permitted downtown, it's called zoning. Our downtown should allow only retail, restaurants and services at street level, open to the public. If it is zoned as such, landlords have to price it appropriately,a well-funded business will always outbid a small business or restaurant owner.

When Wienerschnitzel closed years ago, I was surprised that it was not torn down at that time and replaced with a one or two story building with restaurant on ground level (like Scratch), the 'remodel' was a bit of an eyesore (lipstick on a pig so to speak), surprised City approved it. Maybe Bierhaus should sublet the garden in back of Agave, seems like that place could use a bit of a boost, businesses need to get creative to survive.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


To post your comment, please login or register at the top of the page. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

Global Warming Diet
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 1,329 views

Couples: "Taming Your Gremlin" by Richard Carson
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,212 views

 

Pre-registration ends today!

On Friday, September 21, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, or—for the first time—half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More