Bars must avoid trouble

Wednesday June 27, 2012

Carol Donahue, owner of Casey’s Billards on Dalton Avenue in Pitts field, may be correct in her claim that the Licensing Board was tougher on her establishment for a recent infraction than it has been on other bars for more serious infractions in recent months. If so, that could signal that the board is tired of its busy docket, including repeat offenders coming back before them after being given chances of redemption, and is now inclined to crack down hard in the first place.

In fact, Casey’s got away with a warning that further violations of its license would result in a three-day suspension. Casey’s ran into trouble when a woman exposed herself during the course of a wet T-shirt contest. Ms. Donahue said Casey’s reacted quickly to the incident but in this age of cell phone cameras no reaction can be quick enough. Photos of the incident went up on Facebook, probably before the contest winners were announced.

The days are over when bars can get away with this kind of mishap without the city or the planet finding about it. Casey’s and other bars should rid themselves of wet T-shirt contests and other events, no matter how popular, that are likely to put them before the Licensing Board. The board must take this kind of incident seriously, because as board member Robert Quattrochi, one of two yes votes issuing the warning by a 2-1 margin, observed, "this [activity] doesn’t fit here."

Next month, the board will revisit its decision to suspend the liquor license attached to Hermann Alexander’s for 60 days because of allegations related to gambling, liquor license violations and drug dealing at the bar. It is possible that further sanctions may result for the bar, which also faces a hearing next month related to allegations of unlawful sales made by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.. The board will consider information provided by Pittsfield police during their investigation, and the board also has to consider if, new ownership aside, the culture at this long-troubled bar has changed for the better. Indications are that it has not, and there is only so much aggravation that the police and the city need from that address.


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