Board Aims For Changes in Pittsfield Nightlife Following Nightclub Closing

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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Chameleons closed following a three-week suspension of its license because of a shooting in its parking lot.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An East Street nightclub censured last month will close permanently, while other local bars have reduced their hours in response to concerns from police and the city's Licensing Board that late-night revelry has gotten out of hand.
"We have inherited in the city of Pittsfield, an element of 20ish people who have done an awful job on a couple of bars already," said Licensing Board Vice- Chairman Robert Quattrochi.
Chameleons, which opened in 2011, will not reopen its doors, following a three-week suspension issued after a shooting in its parking lot in March.
"I will not be opening Chameleons," said proprietor Melissa Drumm-Sweener. "I'm going to focus on my family, and my relationship, and not partake in any more of Pittsfield drama," 
The board on Tuesday also amended a request for a 2 a.m. closing time at the former Back Nine, now the Fairways Bar & Banquet under the management of Linda Babich, who with her husband, Gregory, has owned Nichols Package Store since 2009. Under its previous management, the GEAA based bar received a two-week suspension in 2012 after a busload of rowdy, largely underage patrons caused a scene that July, along with two prior punishments.
The board will permit the bar to be open until 2 on Friday and Sunday, with a 90-day probationary period after which it may grant a two o'clock closing for Monday through Thursday, provided there are no major issues.  
"If you prove you can control that, we're willing to give it consideration," said Quattrochi.
Board Chairman Carmen Massimiano echoed concerns about after the potential for issues with closing times after midnight. Currently, Johnny's Beach Club is also running on a probationary restriction to close at midnight following a crowd disturbance outside the bar around its 2 a.m. closing in March.
Pittsfield Police Lt. Michael Grady noted that several bars have recently self-limited themselves to earlier closing times, even though they may be licensed to operate until 2.
"After midnight, bad things happen," said Grady, who told the board the department plans to maintain an increased presence in local bars for the next couple of months. "I'm not trying to curtail anyone's fun, we're just trying to keep order."

Tags: alcohol license,   bars, taverns,   licensing board,   

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