Pittsfield Polish Community Club making progress toward reopening bar


PITTSFIELD — The Polish Community Club reported some progress Monday in its struggle to meet city licensing requirements to reopen the organization's bar at 55 Linden St.

"We applaud what you have done," said Licensing Board Chairman Carmen C. Massimiano, after John Kerwood of the community club outlined planned changes in the operation.

Also Monday, the board approved a new combined license fee for wine producers selling their wines at the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market during the summer and at the winter indoor markets.

And the board approved a new 100 percent stockholder for the 7 Winter Grille and a new manager for the liquor license for the Hilton Garden Inn on South Street.

The Polish Community Club has been closed since December 2014, and the board has been seeking regular license updates from owners of closed establishments in the city.

The club has unsuccessfully attempted to permanently replace the late Stella Spence, who died in July 2014 but still is listed as the manager on the liquor license, and to address other managerial issues. Kerwood reported Monday that an election of officers and a meeting of the full membership will be scheduled by the end of January, after which the club intends to seek bank financing to upgrade the heating system.

During a board meeting in July, club representatives said there hadn't been a full club membership meeting in at least 18 months and no election of officers.

The former club directors were not active in finding a new manager and taking other steps toward reopening the club bar, Kerwood said. There also have been tax-related and other complications, he said, because Spence's name remained on the liquor license as manager.

"When Stella passed away, we couldn't do anything," he said.

Board member Thomas Campoli asked for a timeframe for reopening, and Kerwood said that is not likely until spring. The board granted another extension of the license until its March meeting.

"The most important thing is to find a manager who knows what he or she is doing from Day One," said board member Richard Stockwell.

The all-alcohol license fee also is due by the end of December, and Kerwood said the club will renew this week.

Christian Hansen of Balderdash Cellars of East Street asked the board to set a single license fee for selling wines at the 20 weekly farmers markets at The Common from May through October, and for the monthly indoor markets held during the colder months.

Hansen said he paid $50 for each type of market under the current licensing format, totalling $100. After some debate, during which a single fee of $100 per year was proposed, board member Dana Doyle proposed a $75 fee, which was approved.

Doyle said that, unlike a seasonal package store license, winesellers at the 26 farmers markets only have a set number of opportunities to sell their wares. She added that a lower fee might encourage more producers to offer their wines during the markets.

Attorney Thomas Hamel, of Martin Oliveira & Hamel, representing the Hilton Garden Inn, asked for approval of a change of manager pertaining to the inn's liquor license, which was approved.

Hamel introduced the new manager, Robert Cohen.

Attorney Jeffrey Lynch, representing Seven Winter Grille Inc., which operates 7 Winter Grille on Winter Street, asked for and received approval for an ownership change for the restaurant, which he said is undergoing renovations that are expected to be completed by mid-winter.

Lynch said Suzanne Chung, who was a part owner, now is the 100 percent stockholder in the ownership corporation. Chung is the wife of Jae Chung, who owns Jae's Asian Bistro in Lenox.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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