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"I'll Pay for it": Peter Angelos


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The deal was struck, as so many are, over lunch at the Center Club. This time though, the private downtown club was both setting and subject of the $400,000 transaction.

The proposal: Bring into the hushed and formal club something more commonly associated with the loud and boozy ? a sports pub. For an establishment where previous changes in the dress code allowing the tieless and the denimed caused some harrumphing, it might have been a tough sell.

"We went to a long-term member of the club, who is a frequent user of it," said David Nevins, president of the club located on the 15th and 16th floors of the Transamerica building on Light Street. "He said, 'I love it, how much will it cost, I'll pay for it.'"

We don't want to have to deny entrance to Mark Zuckerberg.

- David Nevins, president of the club, said wryly of the famously casual Facebook founder.

That member is Peter Angelos, the owner of the Baltimore Orioles. In addition to throwing in more than $300,000 toward the costs of transforming the space now serving as the club's grill room, he's handed over naming rights. The Orioles Pub at the Center Club is scheduled to open the day after Labor Day.

While Angelos did not return calls for comment, his son and member of his law firm, Louis F. Angelos, said the pub would offer a more casual option to what is already the city's "foremost" business club of its kind.

"It will generate interest and business and get more people to join," he said. "The more casual atmosphere is the key."

Like others of its ilk, the Center Club is seeking a place for itself in a much-changed business climate seemingly at odds with the kind of formal dining and socializing that it represents.

The white-tablecloth lunch has so given way to takeout at the keyboard that the term "al desko" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary last year. Networking increasingly has shifted toward online rather than face-to-face, and many professionals have long since abandoned the suit-and-tie uniform of club members.

"We don't want to have to deny entrance to Mark Zuckerberg," Nevins said wryly of the famously casual Facebook founder.


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"I always tell the young members, 'Don't feel you can't go up and say hello if you see the CEO of "XYZ Company" at the club.' You may not feel like you can do that if you see him on the street," said Pastalow, a Bel Air-based financial advisor.

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