Last call for Menlo Park's Oasis Beer Garden

- For decades, multiple generations living on the Peninsula have enjoyed the food and casual ambiance of the Oasis Beer Garden. But the 66-year-old Stanford watering hole is preparing to shut its doors for good this week. In anticipation of that, regulars from far and wide, spanning six decades, have come, packing the popular eatery each night for the past two weeks.

If the Oasis in Menlo Park was popular before, now it’s draw unparalleled. But over the next two days, the pull is to get in for the grub and a quick goodbye, before all of this goes away March 7.

“This is a sad moment, in Menlo Park history,” said Moira DeMarcos.

She and her friend, Greg Canham, have been coming here since at least 1970, when many of today’s patrons were wearing pull-ups. The Oasis dates back to 1952, a time when Stanford was still a farm, and this was its main watering hole.

“We would always get dates, and then we would say, ‘hey, let’s go to the O!’ and we did, and we’ve been coming ever since,” said Wally Walters, who started coming to Oasis in 1958 when he was a sophomore at Stanford University.

The decades rolled by; the customers kept coming. The '60s, '70s, '80s. A book was written about the beginnings of “techdom,” and how those vanguards were fueled by burgers, beer, pizza, and peanuts -- shells are still dropped on the floors. Wood tables and chairs, bear messages carved in time, all providing a certain je ne sais quoi.

“It’s different and it brings families together and it creates memories. Our girls have them and even though we’ve been gone for a long time, every time we visit, we’re here having a good meal,” said Tracy, California resident Rosalinda Rodriguez. She, her husband, and extended family drove two hours Monday to spend one last night inside Oasis.

By the 2000 teens, present-day economics caught up with this throwback in time. Sky high property costs ultimately dried up the Oasis’ revenue margins, according to manager Tim Jones.

“We just lost our lease with the landlord, for the building. And we just couldn’t come up with it. So it’s been really sad for the community,” Jones said.

The Tougas Family, which owns Oasis, says many of the current employees will have homes at their other restaurants in the South Bay. But for generations of patrons who’ve had a comfortable place to enjoy comfort food, last call inches ever closer, with the closure of this Peninsula classic.

“At least have a wake you know, and drink beer for days,” said DeMarcos.

Wednesday at midnight marks the end of Oasis. The landlord has not said what will occupy this site.
 

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