Canterbury’s Pub may lose liquor license for month of October

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Comission (ABCC) suspended Canterbury Pub’s alcoholic beverage license for 28 days.

During a Jan. 25 raid on the Spring Street bar, ABCC investigators and Williamstown police officers observed several violations including the selling of alcohol to underage persons, gambling on the premises and the selling of untaxed cigarettes.

Officers involved in the sting also observed an unlicensed automatic amusement device, unstamped cigarettes and dice.

William J. Caprari, Canterbury’s owner, received the suspension on Aug. 20 following a May 8 hearing at which he admitted the violations. Caprari can appeal the decision within 30 days of receipt.

Alternatively, he has been notified that he has 20 days to petition ABCC to accept an offer “in compromise in lieu of suspension.”

Caprari said he is not planning to appeal, but he has filed a petition with the ABCC to replace the suspension with a fine. He refused to comment on the value of the fine. Should the ABCC fail to accept the proposed compromise and Caprari take no action, the suspension will be effective from October 9 to November 5.

Arthur Parker, chief of the Williamstown Police Department (WPD), said that Canterbury’s would continue to be subject to inspections for violations. He informed Capari “[It] might not be today, might not be tomorrow, might not even be next month, but we’re coming.”

Parker said, however, that the WPD will not single Canterbury’s out from other establishments within its jurisdiction. Canterbury’s will be under police observation “no more, no less than anybody else who is suspected of violation.”

Earlier this year, Caprari also pleaded no contest in the Northern Berkshire District Court to charges of possessing of untaxed cigarettes and keeping gambling devices in the pub. He was fined and placed on probation.

During the Jan. 25 raid, five students, all under the age of 21, were found to be in possession of alcoholic beverages and were issued citations.

One of the students, Marlena Briggs ’04, said the court required her to do 10 hours of community service and attend the DrinkSmart program. College Security also issued her with a strike. A strike is one of three warnings issued to students for various offences — for example those relating to alcohol and drug use — before the College takes serious disciplinary action.

Briggs said since the raid she only attends the pub for Club Canterbury’s, nights when persons aged 18 and over are admitted.

Canterbury’s has been tightening up security measures following the Jan. 25 raid, including more stringent checks of identification cards at the door.

Caprari declined to comment on how the suspension would affect Canterbury’s business in the long run. Additionally, Caprari said a magnetic strip device has been installed to facilitate the detection of fake identification cards.

Briggs did not rule out the possibility of continuing to frequent the pub. Caprari, however, said that should the suspension occur, he intends to close the Canterbury’s entirely for the duration of the period.

Some students have expressed concern about the closing. Daniel Cotuno ’02 said “Canterbury’s provides students with a social drinking atmosphere as opposed to the dangerous situations that we have encountered over the years, in which persons have whaled on shots in their locked rooms.”