License Commission to 2 North Adams bars: Beef up security, don't over-serve


NORTH ADAMS — The city's License Commission asked a pair of local bars tied to recent incidents to crack down on the amount of alcohol they serve patrons.

Key West Lounge on State Street, which is connected to a stabbing earlier this month, and the Pitcher's Mound Pub, which has come under scrutiny for overly intoxicated patrons, were called before the three-member board and North Adams Police leadership on Tuesday to answer calls for more security and monitoring customers' alcohol consumption.

North Adams Police Director Michael Cozzaglio requested the meeting on Tuesday to discuss a series of incidents at both establishments over the past six months, Chairman Jeff Polucci said. Polucci said the board isn't on a "citywide crackdown."

"We're not here to punish anybody, we're here to figure out what we can do to make the alcohol service in this town [safe]," Polucci said.

The board eventually agreed to have both watering holes will be monitored by police, who will report to the board next month on their progress.

The stabbing outside of Key West left one man hospitalized. According to police, both the victim and perpetrator had been inside the bar prior to the incident. Police have also responded to numerous fights in the area in recent months, the board noted.

In February, police responded to assist two underage women at the Pitcher's Mound Pub on Ashland Street, one of whom drank enough to become sick. Of 11 calls related to the pub in recent months, Polucci said "some of them are pretty scary," including an allegedly intoxicated driver who left the establishment and crashed his vehicle into a nearby Laundromat, causing extensive damage.

With both establishments, board members requested that bartenders be vigilant about over-serving patrons and serving underage people. Cozzaglio recommended the Pitcher's Mound Pub add cameras outside the bar and said Key West owner Michael Bloom had already installed more cameras since the stabbing incident.

Cozzaglio also recommended that someone with a "vested interest" in each business stay on-site late into the evening. The director commended Bloom on his work with police, but said he felt Bloom wasn't spending enough time overseeing its operations.

"I don't think you're spending the amount of time there that you should be ... when things get out of hand, it's too late," Cozzaglio said.

Bloom outlined his security practices at the bar, which include multiple doormen and surveillance cameras.

"I take it very, very seriously at all times," Bloom said, who later added that the patrons causing problems were "bad apples" and "99 percent of the people who come into Key West I know on a first-name basis."

The meeting's focus at times centered on specific police reports, which were not provided to the bar owners.

Commissioner Peter Breen suggested that a two-member police detail, which runs at a cost of about $350 per night, might be necessary at the Pitcher's Mound Pub because "it's getting worse, not better."

"We're worried about the security, [and] what could happen next," Breen said.

Co-owner Jack Rivard said he probably could not afford the detail, but said he would work to ensure all of the establishment's bartenders were properly trained.

Commissioner Rosemari Dickinson asked the police to bring forward notable reports in a more timely manner, rather than accruing several months' worth of incidents before coming to the license board for assistance.

If the trouble continues, Dickinson suggested the board may have to consider forcing the city's bars to close earlier.

The Crystal Hard Hat Saloon was given a similar warning by the board last month and has since installed cameras, according to North Adams Police Sgt. Toby Randall. Acknowledging the lack of noteworthy incidents over the past month, the board appeared satisfied with the bar's progress and did not take action against it.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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