|Pine Brook Pub Wants to Make New Memories in Adams|
|By Jeff Snoonian, iBerkshires Correspondent|
07:15AM / Sunday, February 09, 2020
|The Shafers are trying for a family friendly pub environment.|
The updated bar side of the establishment.
ADAMS, Mass. — Transforming one of Adams' most iconic watering holes is a daunting task but natives Tammie and Trent Shafer are off to a good start.
The new Pine Brook Pub in the former Chick's Bar & Grill is a hospitable, spotless, welcoming, family-friendly reboot of its predecessor. The space underwent extensive renovations before a soft opening in late November. The Shafers want it to be a destination spot again, just with a different goal for the customers.
"We want to be more family oriented, that's why we chose the word pub instead of bar or restaurant. Half the place is the bar area and the back is the dining area. We want you to come one night for a few drinks and the next night feel comfortable bringing your kids and eating dinner," said co-owner Tammie Shafer. "Chick's was a great place back in the day. I tended bar here when I was in college. There was so much going on with softball leagues and the fish and chips Fridays and pitch leagues. It was a bottle-beer bar. But times have changed and we want to improve on that."
Chick's was absolutely a beer drinker's bar. For decades it served cold beer at cheap prices while going through surprisingly little turnover. The Shafers bought it from the Knapps, who owned it for roughly 20 years. They purchased it from the Hanson brothers who bought it after the two-decade-plus tenure of John Senecal.
The building itself has a rich history. Adams town historian Eugene Michalenko can trace it back to Prohibition days.
"I haven't looked back to see who the first people were to apply for a liquor license after Prohibition ended but I'm pretty sure they're the first ones. It was a bar right after Prohibition ended and you could probably have gotten a drink there during Prohibition," he said. "Chickory Zarzour (hence the name Chick's) originally had a store on Mill Street then he moved over to the Columbia Street location where it is now."
Given the history of the location and the fondness among residents for the "old Chick's," perhaps there was some reservation about buying the place and re-inventing it?
"This was just the perfect size place, it's near our house on East Road so it just fit in the puzzle the right way," Shafer said. "We want to do it right. We are taking our time with rolling out the menu. We took a whole day to try to get our chicken wings the way we wanted them. We aren't going to rush a huge menu. During the week, it's more light stuff and sandwiches or burgers and then on the weekends we'll do some dinner specials."
Shafer's scientific approach to building the menu is no coincidence as she teaches high school science at Hoosac Valley High School. She plans on slowly adding items to the menu when they meet her standards. As for the famous Chick's fish and chips?
"Not yet! Not until we get it just how we want it. But we're working on it," Shafer said smiling.
Thursday's menu consisted of some standard pub fare, chicken parmigiana, burgers, nachos. And some not so standard, tempura-fried vegetables, charcuterie, and limoncello mascarpone cake.
Shafer said they have talked to local farms about getting produce come spring and will make everything from fresh when possible.
As for the bar, they have about 75 years combined experience in longtime Chick's bartenders Jen Rose and Pat Albareda. They have eight mostly local drafts but still fit in a low priced national brand. The specialty cocktail menu is always changing and unique.
They kept the pitch league on Wednesday nights and added Thursday night trivia and are featuring music occasionally.
If early reviews are any indication, the Shafers are getting it right. The all important online reviews are unanimously positive.
Shafer plans on keeping it that way.
"We're committed to doing things right. We're not going to put anything on the menu before it's ready. I love coming here everyday and talking to the customers. We're really listening to them and have actually made some changes based on some of their comments," she said. "Being a teacher, even though you're around a lot of people, you're kind of in your own little world, so when I come here I love it."