BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
A popular beer garden in downtown Mountain View may shutter when its lease ends next month, but Bierhaus owner Mike Finley says he’d be willing to cut a deal with the landlords if they let him stay.
Landlords Nghiem Truong and her husband Khoe Tran said yesterday (Aug. 1) that they don’t plan to renew Finley’s lease despite the bustling gastropub’s success, citing Finley’s late monthly rent payments. He pays about $14,500 a month in rent.
Finley admits that he routinely sent his rent checks in late, but said that while his lease states that payment is due on the first of the month, it doesn’t include a penalty for late payments.
Finley acknowledged that he let his stubbornness get the better of him when he told them he was just going to keep paying on the 15th of the month, which he said “enraged” the landlords.
New building proposed for property
Truong and Tran have an application in with the city to build a 33,801-square-foot office building that would include a restaurant and retail space on the ground floor.
If that project is approved, it likely wouldn’t open for two years or more.
Finley said he’s not interested in continuing to operate Bierhaus at the new building, but would like to continue operating before it’s built.
He said he suspects that Truong and Tran will continue operating a beer garden in the space after he moves out, reasoning that with the loyal customer base, it wouldn’t make sense for the landlords to redo the restaurant or bring in a new restaurateur for a two-year stint.
Not the first beer and burger place
Truong said they didn’t have specific plans for what kind of restaurant to open, but said that serving beer in downtown Mountain View wouldn’t be an original idea.
“On Castro Street, everybody sells beer and they sell the hamburgers,” Truong said. “They did the same thing, what Mike have.”
Finley speculated that Truong and Tran resent that he’s making money from sales on the patio, an area where they don’t charge rent. He said he’d be willing to count a percentage of the patio space toward the rent if they’d let him stay, and said that by ending his lease, the landlords were shooting themselves in the foot by upsetting loyal customers.
Customers like the patio
Three of the regular patrons sipping gold-hued beers out of glass steins at long patio tables yesterday said they’d miss Bierhaus if it closed.
John Burns and Carl Hubbard said they’ve been visiting Bierhaus between once a month and twice a week since it opened.
Other bars on Castro are “not as inviting,” Burns said.
Bruno Hexsel, a robotics engineer who lives a few blocks from Bierhaus, said he and his wife have been going about once a week since 2012, when the restaurant was still operating under the name Steak Out.
“It’s kind of our Sunday activity,” Hexsel said, noting that while there are a number of breweries on Castro Street, Bierhaus’ patio gives it the best ambience.