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The Adams Ale House reopened in August but only months later faces closure if the owner can't find someone to operate the tavern.

Adams Ale House Seeking New Management

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Owner Nathan Girard last week asks the board to approve the tavern's licenses to make it easier to find a new tenant. The board held off and approved them on Wednesday. 

ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen, acting as the Licensing Board, threw the struggling Adams Ale House a lifeline that will allow to seek out a new manager.

Last week, building owner Nathan Girard told the board that the current managers are leaving at the end of the year. That made the restaurant and pub's future uncertain.

But on Wednesday, the Selectmen renewed all the tavern's licenses to improve its chances of continued operation under new management.

"I am definitely going vote for this," Selectman Joseph Nowak said. "I don't want to handcuff Mr. Girard if he thinks he has someone ready to go, and I think us doing this will make his transition a little easier."

The former Saints Hall was purchased and renovated by Erik Pizani and Nathan Girard in 2013 and they originally ran and managed the eatery.

It was closed last year for what the owners said was re-staffing and renovations and only reopened this past August when Robert Williams and Jen and Bill Lander took over.

Girard, who has since expanded into real estate and potential cannabis ventures, met with the Selectmen last week to discuss the renewal of his alcohol license. Although the current tenant's lease will be terminated at the end of the year, he hopes to be able to find a new one.

"I would love for it to work because I love going there and I grew up here and I love this town," Girard said. "I care about that place and I want to see it succeed. I am not at my wit's end, I am at the end of my rope … and I am either going to fall off that rope and list it and sell it or I'm going to find another tenant."

Girard said he would like to operate the Ale House on his own but just does not have the time because of his other business ventures. He did say he has been in talks with possible managers.

"I can't say much but I have been in contact with a separate entity about a possible lease, but they operate another restaurant currently, so it is sensitive," Girard said. "I think they would be more comfortable if the license was already in place, otherwise the vetting process will take a long time."

Girard said without the renewal it would be hard to operate or sell the Adams Ale House. Refiling an application could send a reopening into April.

He said if he cannot find a new tenant, he would be looking at selling the property.

"I have two options: find another tenant or liquidate the property. I think the building is more valuable from a business perspective with the license," he said. "Why buy it when you can't operate it the way it has been operating."

The Selectmen held off on deciding last Wednesday and although they did not want to take away Girard's negotiating power, there were inconsistencies with the renewal paperwork.

This Wednesday, although he was not present, Girard had submitted corrected the paperwork allowing the board to make a motion.

"Everything that we requested has been satisfied," Selectman Richard Blanchard said.

Last week, Girard explained the breakdown in the business to the Selectmen and said he understood that the license would be transferred to the new managers who would also be applying for the renewal, but this never happened.  

"The ball got dropped on many, many occasions and that has been pretty consistent with these guys. I thought they would be a lot more on top of things," he said. "What it boils down to is they are not going to be continuing to operate the Adams Ale House at the end of this year. They are done."

Girard said Williams was the only manager with restaurant experience but was let go for some reason. He said the Landers really were new to the business.

"They were in over their head that is the bottom line," he said. "They just couldn't do it."

He said he also was contacted by the building inspector and was told they were making changes to the building without a permit.

He added that he could easily just let the building sit but wants the business and the town to succeed which is why he has invested so much in the building.

"I am losing out on six figures on return upon breaking this lease and I can fully hold them liable and just leave this place a hole for six years and collect rent on legal obligation," Girard said. "But I don't want to do that. That is not going to help anybody."

Selectman Joseph Nowak asked Girard to make sure he selects the right people to run the Ale House.

"I think you have a good thing there and if you get the right people, I am very confident that that can go," Nowak said. "But you have to look at these people and sit down and ask how are they going to make it happen."

Girard said if he can find new tenants, they will be responsible managers.

"I take people at their word because you have to get give people something but this time, I will be more diligent because I can't let this ball drop again," he said. "I have been busy with everything else but that is not an excuse."


Tags: alcohol license,   bars, taverns,   

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Adams Selectmen Hear From Ale House Owner

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Staff

Nate Girard explains his predicament to the Selectmen on Wednesday.
ADAMS, Mass. — Nate Girard and his longtime friend Erik Pizani decided to buy the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Hall in 2012. The property had a rich history in town and most people had memories of bowling, playing pitch, attending a wedding, or just sitting at an old red leather stool and enjoying a cheap beer.
 
The two partners, along with another investor, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars bringing the structure up to code and restoring the bar and kitchen. The Adams Ale House was born. Both of them ran the restaurant, bought houses, had kids, went into real estate together, and celebrated the boom and even the bust times. 
 
Pizani eventually left the restaurant business and left Girard as the sole owner of the building. Girard decided to lease the restaurant space to focus solely on real estate and his young family. The new operators didn't last long in a tough restaurant market and went out of business in December 2018.
 
The building on East Hoosac Street has sat unused since then. Girard has it listed it on several sources and is still hopeful he can find a taker. The idle liquor license he still holds, however, has become an issue for the town.
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