NORTH ADAMS >> After decades of quenching the thirst of hundreds of local working stiffs, the Crystal Hardhat Saloon at the corner of Union and Canal streets, is closed.
Todd Hebert, who co-owns the business with his wife, Nancy, closed the bar at the end of business Friday, exactly nine years since he bought the business on April 15, 2007.
"It's been a lot of fun, and I love all our loyal customers," Hebert said from behind the bar Friday. "That's going to be the hard part — not seeing them anymore. I'm not happy about it — it's bittersweet."
He said working from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every night can get old, and the local bar business has become much more expensive to sustain, and he decried the behavior of some of the younger clientele he's seen come through his door.
"The cost of insurance is getting ridiculous," he said. "It's just not worth it. I'm not working for me anymore, I'm working for them. And I wanted a safe place for people to go, but some kids today would rather go out and raise hell."
Hebert said the city has treated him well, and that he was only summoned to the city's License Board twice in his nine years.
"We didn't really have that much trouble," he said.
After 40 years in the business, Hebert, 56, is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and cruising on his 2014 Harley.
And he wants to spend more time on another passion — dealing in antiques. He already has the second floor of the bar stuffed with antiques, and he once owned an antique business in Adams. So he's already got a head start.
He said the new store, to be called Another Man's Treasure Antique Store and Coop, will likely open by the beginning of June, and he also plans to rent out space to other antique dealers.
Looking around the bar, Hebert indicated the regulars that call it home.
"These are really good people," he said. "But it's just time for another page in my life."
The regulars aren't happy about the closing either, but they seem to understand.
"It's great to just be able to walk down the street and have a beer with your friends," said Jack Dempsey. "But we'll still stop by the antique shop, and we'll still ride together."