Erik Pizani and Nathan Girard purchased the former Saints Hall last October and hope to open the Adams Ale House there this summer.
ADAMS, Mass. — When real estate agents Nathan Girard and Erik Pizani got the chance to buy the former Saints Hall on East Hoosac Street, they jumped at it not knowing exactly what they'd do with it.
Both have fond memories of attending weddings, reunions and other events there — it was a destination for them, their parents and their grandparents and they didn't want to lose it.
After kicking ideas, they decided the best idea would be to modernize some of the former usages so the next generation can have memories there, too.
Now, the owners, operating as Zing Financial LLC, are deep into a massive renovation to turn the inside of the historic building into the Adams Ale House — a restaurant and bar with event space upstairs.
"We're giving it a modernized upgrade," Girard said of the work on Wednesday as he laid out the vision the two businessmen have.
Contractors are working furiously on the inside overhauling the electric and plumbing. Drop ceilings are being removed and sprinkler systems, kitchen equipment and a beer cooler are all being installed.
During the renovation, they found handpainted beams and tin ceilings that they are restoring and are spending hundreds of hours sanding and repainting the bar with ornate designs.
"A lot of people have a lot of memories of this building. ... There is no way you can rebuild this building with this kind of craftsmanship," Pizani said, pointing to designs on the borders of the tin ceiling that they will be able to save in their efforts to reuse everything they can.
In the process, the owners are finding stacks of old memorabilia the St. Stan's Fraternal Order had left behind — such as a 1944 liquor license hanging on the wall, yearbooks from the 1940s and pictures — which they plan to use for decor.
"There are a lot of cool, old artifacts," Pizani said. "This building has been a major part of this community for years."
The "complete overhaul" of the 95-year-old building has been under way since January and they hope to have the bar and restaurant open in just a few months. With a menu of pub food featuring locally grown products and 22 craft brews on tap, the owners think they've tapped a niche market for Northern Berkshire County.
"There is really no place around that has 22 craft beers, especially in Northern Berkshire County," Pizani said.
But while the familiar looks may get local tongues pouring out stories of their youth, it isn't going to be the watering hole it used to be.
Girard said the Ale House wants "to be known for quality" in its food and drinks. They said they brought in a "top tier" chef to craft the menu, featuring items like the "loaded potato burger" with its handpacked meat, Cabot's sharp cheddar cheese, housemade chips, applewood smoked bacon and chive sour cream.
"We want to make it a place where everyone is comfortable," Pizani said.
The real estate agents for Greylock Realty have no experience in managing a bar, so they are hiring a management group to run the business. They have already fielded applications but that process has just begun. Girard said he expects to open with a staff of 10 full-time positions.
However, when the restaurant and bar does open, not the entire building will be ready for the public. Girard said the focus is to open the downstairs space first; Phase 2 will mean renovating the second floor for concerts, weddings and private functions. A large ballroom there has a small bar, what is eyed to be a catering kitchen, wide open space and a stage. The bowling lanes, however, will be removed.
Pizani said they hope to have the entire building renovated by the end of their five-year plan but how successful the Ale House is will dictate the time line.
"There are big ticket items to be done," Pizani said, including the roof.