Pittsfield bar drops appeal; city set to impose two-week suspension

The Pittsfield Licensing Board is poised to suspend a city bar’s liquor license for two weeks for allowing dozens of underage people to get in one night last summer using false identification.

On Monday, the board is expected to vote on when the Back Nine Bar and Grill on Crane Avenue will serve the suspension that was issued five months ago, but was delayed while the business appealed to the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

However, the Back Nine’s attorney, Thomas Hamel, said on Thursday the bar’s owner has dropped his appeal. The ABCC was scheduled to hold a hearing on it in March.

“In light of the current economic times and a lack of business, [Back Nine] wants to move on,” he said, as quoted by the Berkshire Eagle.

Hamel said he plans to suggest the 14 days of suspension be spread out over 52 weeks.

The Licensing Board has the final say, according to vice chairman Robert Quattrochi.

The Licensing Board meted out the suspension after police seized 41 fake driver’s licenses from nearly 70 young adults who were bused to the bar for a reunion of camp counselors.

According to city police, several officers arrived at the Back Nine just before 11 p.m. on July 21 during a citywide sweep that night to crack down on crime and improve relations with residents. Police immediately found several young men and women trying to leave the premises, one male with two bottles of beer in his hand.

In all, police said more than 30 young adults were inside and another 40 were outside the bar or arriving off a bus from a local motel.

The former counselors at Camp Greylock in Becket were in the Berkshires for a reunion, organized solely by camp alumni through social media, according to investigating officers.

During the show-cause hearing, Back Nine manager Brian Uliasz said everyone was carded, but without electronic scanners, it’s difficult to spot phony IDs.

Once police rounded up the young adults, police asked them to fork over their fake IDs and they were bused back to their motel.

Lt. Michael Grady noted that no arrests were made and no charges were filed against the mostly underage drinkers.

Uliasz had said the partiers had already been drinking when they arrived, a claim partially supported by police, who say those who had just arrived on the bus threw beer cans and cups out the vehicle’s windows.

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