Bar on thin ice after wet T-shirt contest turns topless

Tuesday June 26, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The city’s Licensing Board issued a stern warning to Casey’s Billiards on Monday following an incident in which a woman exposed herself during a wet T-shirt contest.

By a 2-1 vote, Thomas L. Campoli opposed, the five-member panel on Monday said it would impose a three-day suspension if the Dalton Avenue bar and pool hall had any further violations of its license. Dana S. Doyle was absent, with the fifth seat on the board currently vacant.

Board members said they felt the warning was necessary to send a message to Casey’s and other bars that such behavior won’t be tolerated.

"This is not Las Vegas and not Atlantic City," said board member Robert Quattrochi. "This is Pittsfield, Mass. and this [activity] doesn’t fit here."

Casey’s owner, Carol Donahue, claimed the board was treating her unfairly.

"I’ve watched other bars come [before you] for more serious infractions and you did nothing to them," she said after the decision.

The board’s action followed a show cause hearing into the indecent exposure incident that occurred on May 11 at Casey’s Billiards. According to police, an unidentified woman exposed her breasts while participating in a wet T-shirt contest as part of the pool hall’s annual beach party.

The woman was quickly told to cover up, which she did, according to Donahue.

"It was taken care of as soon as it happened, but the cameras had already come out," she said. Immediately, several bar patrons began taking photos which ended up on Facebook, much to the chagrin of the board and Pittsfield police.

"You can’t have people exposing themselves at a bar for any event," said Lt. Michael Grady.

Upon seeing the photos, Quattrochi added, "It looks to me like a topless bar.

Board members also questioned whether Casey’s had a legal right to host a wet T-shirt contest under its city-issued entertainment license. Quatt rochi felt the activity bordered on public nudity.

"There’s nothing left to the imagination in a wet T-shirt contest," he said.

The pool hall staff replied they don’t promote or condone lewd behavior and are prepare to handle any unruly situation.

"Inappropriate things happen at a bar, but when they do, we take care of them," Donahue noted.

To reach Dick Lindsay:,
or (413) 496-6233.


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