New Hope’s legendary Raven resort will soon be listed for sale, according to sources close to the situation.
The Raven was founded in 1979 at 385 W. Bridge Street, and represents New Hope’s last remaining gay club, following the demise of the Cartwheel and Prelude in years past. It draws large, diverse crowds year round, with a popular restaurant, three bars, hotel rooms, guest house, pool, lounge areas, and dance floor.
The Raven is also a popular entertainment venue, with DJs and a full weekly schedule of acts, including performers Bob Egan, Russel Eiffert, and Michael Ferreri, along with drag shows, all-male revues, and karoake.
The resort’s business direction has drifted in recent years, as owners experimented with varying models to attract a younger crowd, while attempting to appeal to a substantial, albeit aging, customer base. Despite the challenge, the Raven could well represent a potential gold mine to the right buyer with a winning business formula.
The move to sell the iconic resort comes as part-owner Steven Lau continues to pursue a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against his fellow business associates.
Lau, who helped form indie rock band Ocean Blue, and was a division head at Warner Brothers Records and Bertelsman Music Group, purchased the Raven in late 2014. In need of additional capital, he took on a silent partner in 2015 who gained 50% of the business in exchange for funding.
Lau’s complaint arises from the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and asserts that the silent partner used the Raven to launder large amounts of cash from the unlawful activities of his tobacco business, then stole the Raven through a pattern of racketeering, including wire fraud, mail fraud, and extortion.
A lawyer for the defendants disputed Lau’s claims.
“We categorically deny each an every one of those allegations,” said Philadelphia attorney Jeffrey Ogren.
“I stand by the allegations made in the Federal RICO action against Saumil Ambani and the other defendants,” commented Lau. “I have faith in our judicial system and trust that the truth will prevail. I thank the New Hope and Lambertville community for their continuing support over the last 18 months. The people in this community have been very understanding and supportive.”
Lau declined comment on the potential sale of the Raven.
Lau’s associates at the Raven said in a July 2016 interview that they had “stepped in to take a more hands-on approach” to ensuring that the resort can “survive and thrive,” and assembled a new operating team with an emphasis on improving financial management. Lau would no longer be “active in the day-to-day management” of the Raven, they said at the time.
In his lawsuit, Lau claims that his silent partner and others “squeezed” him out of his job.
More on Lau’s lawsuit and the sale of the Raven in the days to come.
So many negative comments regarding the Raven are hard to read and in my opinion uncalled for. With each new owner the bar has improved little by little, and when Steve Lau bought the Raven, he gave it a badly needed facelift with an impressive new sound and lighting system that was long overdue. He truly put his heart and soul into making it work with a new music format and again, an impressive sound and lighting system. Steve breathed new life into the Raven and brought a new spirit with him. After he made these changes it appears that he was used for his expertise and then kicked out by a so called silent partner who probably knew far less about the music business and or nightclub business in general. Hopefully the Raven will continue to serve the community with the help of its loyal clientele.
Fuck yeah close the geriatric dump. This place is lowlife trash pit of dirty old man. Hate the old tired gutter queens and the way too old in the tooth bar tenders and staff that have no hospitality skills or training to run the place or work there. This place is operating past its expiration date. Younger LGBT people are not into the old tired bar queens that are nothing more than gutter trash.
As Mr Fallon recently expressed, It is time for us to come together, not to disparage one another. Hate and fear does have to be taught, but I’ll put my faith in 4 letter words “Love” & “Hope” no matter the circumstances.
The 1st amendment of the US Constitution is more than mere words.
Those older drinkers and older patrons and older bartenders are the reason at least in some part the Raven is still around. Agree about infrastructure but look at the prior owners to see where that money went.One,two,three dollars for me!!!One dollar for the business.We are older but we are not deaf,dumb and blind.
I’ve patronized the Raven for years and years, but I have to say I’ve never really loved it. Compared to other gay resorts/bars/restaurants I’ve visited, it’s always been disappointing. Sure, it had a certain charm (the Oak Room, etc) and could draw an interesting clientele in the past, but I’ve never felt the customer came first. Where to start? No happy hour, no drink specials, no snacks. Some longtime employees who (how do I say this gently?) should have been “encouraged” to retire years back (years & years back in some cases). And in recent years a whole string of “managers” who clearly have never managed anything beyond their own social life (who hires these people? Is there even an interview process? Is a manager ever on site?). My knowledge of the various owners is slight, although Rand did at least put money into the place. Alas, it needs quite a bit more money. That parking lot is a disgrace and the general look of the building, with the recent rather shoddy additions, is of some rundown roadhouse in rural New Hampshire or somewhere. It’s really rather a dump considering the affluence of the area.
The biggest flaw, IMHO, is that for far too long the Raven depended on a regular, mostly older, core clientele of heavy drinkers. In recent years, some of them have died, some have retired to warmer climes, and many were driven off by the various changes in management/attitudes of new management. And no younger clientele has replaced them. Is there even a younger clientele out there? Gay bars are indeed fading away. The Raven still has some viability but it needs a consistent message. And a better, more professional management & staff. And wishing for the return of the “good old days” will get you nowhere.
Rand and Terrance first phase of destruction of the Raven with the Miami north theme. Next phase Steven with the elitist New York crowd and the entire group that followed from wonderland. Please do not tell me the Pub is the answer nice place to eat and have a drink but not a gay hangout. If only we could go back in time. Alas those days are gone when the Raven was a Pennsylvania bar with trees. Cub Room please expands now you are only hope Obi Wan Kenobi if the Raven becomes a Super Wawa.
Could be a hard sell if it is entangled in a law suit.
Whoever takes it over needs to lose the rainbows. It’s 2018. Gay bars are dying.
Here come the Trader Joe’s rumors….
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