Midtown Yacht Club gets new management; previous owners owe $50K in back taxes

The Baltimore Sun

Following several years of tax problems, Midtown Yacht Club's landlord has taken over the business from its most recent managers.

On Monday, Nathan Beveridge confirmed he repossessed Midtown earlier this month because the previous managers, J.G.J. Center, Inc., owed back taxes. He aims to re-open the bar in December with a new concept and name, Midtown BBQ and Brew.

The Comptroller of Maryland also said Monday J.G.J. Center owes the state nearly $50,000 in back taxes. The company could not be reached for comment.

The bar closed earlier this month.

J.G.J. Center - whose owners include John J. Mancuso, Jay Gover and Gregory J. Serio - bought Midtown in 2005 from Beveridge, who'd owned the building since 2000 and ran the bar for six years. Beveridge paid $265,000 for Midtown in 2000, according to property records. 

J.G.J. started having tax issues at least as early as 2009, according to court records. In late December 2009, the Comptroller's office filed a tax lien for $5,852.

The bar's overdue bills have brought it before the Baltimore Liquor Board three times - January and November 2010; and last January. The liquor board has the authority to hold up a liquor license's renewal because of overdue taxes.

Even though Midtown's license was repeatedly renewed - which can happen when a bar owner agrees to a payment plan to the state - it did not fully pay all of its bills.

On Monday, the comptroller's office said the company still owed $49,943 in use and sales taxes. In addition, in August, the Internal Revenue Service also filed a federal tax lien against J.P.G. for $16,802.

The company nor its owners could be reached for comment.

Beveridge said he repossessed the business' assets in early November because "we wanted to step in before someone else did." He did not take on the company's debt, he said. The liquor license has already been transferred to Old Liberty LLC, which Beveridge runs.

He bought the bar in 2000 because he'd been a customer since the mid-80s, considered by many to have been the bar's heyday.

"When I first came to Baltimore, it was my favorite bar. It was a diverse bar before any of us ever knew what that meant," he said. "There were always dishwashers playing darts with CEOs. And reporters from the Sun. All kinds of people gathered there."

Now that he's taken it over again, he intends to bring it back to the way it was. When it re-opens, Midtown will have an undergone a full renovation that includes, among other new features, brand-new hardwood floors.

Its second and third floors will also open as an Internet cafe during the day and for private functions the rest of the time. its menu will also change to focus on BBQ - managing partner Anthony Harrison is the new chef - and bourbons instead of rums.

Beveridge said the bar intends to be open at the latest by the lighting of the Mt. Washington monument.

The most radical change for many will be to Midtown's long-standing name. Beveridge said he decided to change it because it had taken on "a  bad connotation."

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