PITTSFIELD -- A new owner, new name and new approach is in store for what was the popular and sometimes troubled establishment known as the Back Nine Bar & Grill.

Linda Babich, manager of Back Nine since February, has renamed it Family Bar & Banquet and plans to host a wide variety of gatherings.

"We plan to have more banquet-type activities, weddings and community-oriented events," she said.

"We hope to cast the business in a new light," Babich's attorney, Nicholas Parsenios, told the Pittsfield Licensing Board this week.

The Licensing Board unanimously supported the name change and an expansion of weekday hours for Family Bar & Banquet located at the GEAA on Crane Avenue.

The five-member board agreed to extended the Monday through Thursday hours from noon to 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. to midnight. The Sunday hours, noon to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday hours, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., remain unchanged.

Babich had requested a 2 a.m. closing Monday through Thursday, but the board felt she needed a few months of operations to prove she could handle the business and the responsibility of having a restaurant liquor license. Since 2009, Linda and Gregory Babich have owned Nichols Package Store, with that liquor license in the husband's name.

"Maybe get through the summer and if there are no problems, we could go to 2 a.m.," said board member Richard S. Stockwell.

The board indicated Babich could request additional hours of operation at their September meeting, but "we're not guaranteeing anyone, anything," said board member Thomas Campoli.

The board's cautious approach to the extended hours stems from the Back Nine management's trouble two summers ago that led to a 14-day suspension due to underage drinking on the premises.

Back Nine was also warned by the city in April 2011 to be more vigilant in reporting fights on premises to city police.

Licensing Board Chairman Carmen C. Massimiano told Babich on Monday poor management is often the reason liquor license holders encounter trouble.

"We find if the person in charge isn't there, situations occur," said Massimiano.

Parsenios pointed out Babich and her staff have already proven they can prevent a situation from escalating. He recalled how they recently called police to help them intervene and halt rowdy behavior by a few patrons before the situation got out of control.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.