NORTH ADAMS — A Union Street bar closed its doors in April, but its owner wants to hang on to his alcohol license.
Todd Hebert shut down the Crystal Hardhat Saloon earlier this year after nine years in business and reopened it as an antique store called "One Man's Treasure." But he still holds a general on-premise alcohol license, which he paid for in full and is good through the end of the year.
The license board sent Hebert a letter requesting he return the license and debated on Tuesday whether to revoke the license, which is no longer in use, but ultimately chose to hold off on making a decision.
When he closed down the Crystal Hardhat, Hebert indicated that he wanted to get out of the bar business. But now, Hebert has apparently told the board that he is interested in opening an establishment in an undetermined new location. Prior to the board's meeting, Hebert apparently told the board he should be allowed to maintain his license at least until it expires at the end of the year.
"Without an operation they really, technically, should be bringing that license in," said Chairman Jeff Polucci.
Boardmember Peter Breen expressed concern that, as long as he has the license, Hebert may begin to sell alcohol out of the new antique store, since it is in the same location. But Polucci said the board would call him back for a meeting if he began to serve alcohol again.
"He's got enough integrity to know he's closed that business," said member Rosemari Dickinson.
Breen noted that on the last Friday night the Crystal Hardhat was in business, it was the scene of a brawl. The incident was video recorded by a patron and viewed thousands of times on Facebook.
"I think it's in our best interest, instead of having the license floating out there, if he comes with another business, we take it on those grounds," Breen said. "I think that we should revoke the license for the rest of the year."
There is no cap on the kind of license Hebert possesses, boardmember Rosemari Dickinson pointed out, so it is essentially valueless and Hebert's keeping it wouldn't prevent another business owner from applying for one.
"If it were for the good of the public ... I would say OK, I think we should call it in, but I would give him the time ... that he needs to find a place," Dickinson said.
Polucci also supported Hebert maintaining the license, but noted he would not forget that closing night brawl, adding it is possible if Hebert relocated, it could begin with a license suspension.
At Breen's request, the board agreed to table the discussion until next month's meeting, during which time Hebert can put his intentions in writing.
Hebert, who could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, would need to apply to renew his license by Nov. 30.
The board's next meeting will be in July, but a date has yet to be determined.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376