Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
For many years, Silicon Valley lacked a classy pickup joint befitting its status as the country’s second-most-awesome wealth generation machine.(Wall Street being the first.)
Then, finally, the five-star Rosewood hotel was built atop the Palo Alto Hills on the venture-capital thoroughfare called Sand Hill Road.
The Rosewood faces west, looking at the gorgeous coastal mountains that shelter Silicon Valley from the savageness of the Pacific Ocean (along with I-280).
Taking advantage of its inspiring location and proximity to dynastic wealth, the Rosewood built a terrace and bar designed to maximise the impact of both.
And there, the story goes, every Thursday evening, the Rosewood hosts informal “cougar nights,” at which hard-working venture capitalists and entrepreneurs can indulge their more primal desires.
But last week, a fake news story sent shockwaves through the Valley:
Some venture capitalists had been busted in a Cougar Night “sting” operation, the story said, in which fabulous-looking undercover agents had “flashed some leg and then flashed their badges.” The story, by “Connie Nestlebush” was patently ridiculous, but it apparently had a major chilling effect:
The Rosewood Hotel Bar was prowling with excitement last night and not just for its unofficial weekly “Cougar Night.” Shortly after 11:00PM two undercover Palo Alto detectives flashed some leg then flashed their badges, taking into custody several patrons.
Eyewitnesses report that the undercover detectives were using Eastern European disguises and accents to solicit the would be Johns. The detectives were approached at the main bar and back patio bar by several prominent Sand Hill venture capital executives. One partner from Kleiner Perkins (already ensnared in a separate sexual harassment lawsuit) was apparently trying to close a Series B round of funding for a Sunnyvale mobile start-up by offering a night with both detectives.
In the wake of the story, Cougar Night apparently cooled off.
But two nights ago, reports Eric Kurhi of the San Jose Merc, the crowds were back.
And for those who have not yet enjoyed the spectacle and fruits of this new Valley tradition, the Rosewood restaurant manager, Chris Bialecki, provided an enticing description for prospective clients young and old:
[Bialecki] said he sees “all different ages, and all shapes and sizes” in the bar.
“People, men and women, they come here to have a good time,” he said. “And they dress to impress. … All is good at Rosewood.”
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