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Return of the Prodigal Pub (Plus Pizza)

Great news posted by aparent on Speak Up: an impressive slew of tenants are slated to occupy the vacant retail in downtown Williamstown, including a wrap / smoothie venue, an outdoor apparel store, the newly reopened Purple Pub, and a pizza place, not to mention a slew of office tenants (most newsworthy: VoodooVox) who will breath life into the area during times that students are not around.  The food venues (which will nearly double the current array of Spring Street choices) sound great, especially the Pub 2.0.  The owner of both the Pub and Spring Street Pizza, Thierry Breard, most definitely knows what he is doing, having previously worked at some of the top culinary destinations in the region, including Alta.  Fish and chips on Spring Street?  Dang I am jealous …

Big news for North Adams as well, as former Williams employee Mark Petrino will be opening up the awesome-sounding Petrino’s Cafe in the former Cup & Saucer space.  If all of these venues live up to their promise, Williamstown and North Adams will feature an enviable wealth of casual dining options, especially for a fairly rural area.

For those too new to campus to know much about the old Pub, you can read more here and here.  Here is the WSO thread discussing the new pub.

NB: I am not implying that the prior incarnation of the Pub was in fact prodigal, just liked the alliterative sound …

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#1 Comment By PTC On February 19, 2010 @ 6:48 am

Jeffz- When does the pub open? With any luck, I’ll be drinking there this summer…

Have a beer with me if you are around… perhaps?

Any idea how they will try to navigate the transformation from a dive to a new building? “Pub 2.0” (if that is their name, not yours) makes it sound like they are going to move in a different direction- which is a good call. If they are smart, they’ll do it up with a modern music… a place that has video of mostly new music, a small space to dance, and a new look would do pretty well…

I think they will fail miserably if they try to re capture the old pub… which, by the sound of the name- it looks like they are not going to do.

If pub 2.0 is your name, they should steal that. The best idea is to keep some of the nastalgia but move into a different direction… hang a couple picturtes of the old place- but press on with a modern/ younger feel. Young waiters and waitresses that flirt and prance- is never a bad idea in the bar buisiness.

#2 Comment By jeffz On February 19, 2010 @ 7:01 am

It sounds like it opens this summer. If I am ever around (hope to get up this summer or fall), meeting for a drink would be great …

Pub 2.0 is my joking moniker, don’t worry, so far as I know, it will still be the Purple Pub! My guess based on the article (the first link in my post) and the pedigree of the chef is that they are going for a slightly more upscale version from the prior incarnation, but a true cozy pub feel, which I think makes sense. You are right that they can’t recreate the divey atmosphere of the old Pub, you can’t manufacture that type of history. Given that the proprietor is truly a chef, I would think there’d be more emphasis on quality food, and based on his fish and chips comments, my sense is he’ll steer it towards a traditional but higher-end pub grub with a twist, burgers for sure, but also meat pies, fish n chips, bbq, and the like. (Man I would have KILLED for a good homemade bbq pulled pork sandwich when I was in college). Here are his comments from the article, and I think he is striking the right balance between respecting the history while taking things in his own direction. Breard’s pedigree is impressive (Spice, Alta, and the Wheatley are no joke), so I have high expectations:

The excitement around the Pub’s reopening has even spread to its new owner and chef, Thierry Breard.

Breard said Thursday he is becoming increasingly excited about the venture as he has learned more about The Purple Pub’s place in the town’s culture and history.

“I think because it’s such a local institution, it’s exciting for my partner and I to bring it back to where it was. So many people are excited, that I have become more excited,” he said.

Breard said he plans to have the Pub open for the summer, and it will have a pub menu with a twist.

“We’ll have dishes like fish and chips with a couple of different fishes instead of one, and shellfish; maybe add a little spice to it,” he said.

In addition, Breard has a homemade barbecue sandwich he is eager to included on the menu.

The Pub will have a bar, a small area for dining room seating, and seating outdoors.

“I’m hoping this will be a place for everybody from the people shopping at the local stores wanting lunch to business people who have offices in town to college students. What I like about this town is it has such an eclectic population,” he said.

#3 Comment By jeffz On February 19, 2010 @ 7:04 am

Oh, and here is a great image of the new frontage:


I think it looks fantastic, FAR better than the prior Paresky building up the street (which is far too strip-mall-esque for my taste). I’d love to see a photo of the finished shell of the future Pub site, if anyone has one. But assuming the style is consistent with this portion of the building, I am delighted by this architectural addition. along with the Tunnel City building, I’d say Spring Street is two-for-two, in a resounding fashion, in terms of the quality of the latest construction.

#4 Comment By PTC On February 19, 2010 @ 7:11 am

Jeffz- I was serious when I said that they should move to a more modern feel and younger front men and women. I would like that a lot more, you?

Would’nt you rather hear and see a cool lady gaga video in a new place, with younger and more vibrant staff, a modern feel- than than walk into some place trying to be old playing “Free Bird”…

What song is it you don’t wan’t to hear? FREE BIRD!

I hope they make it modern. Pub 2, is a good name.

#5 Comment By jeffz On February 19, 2010 @ 7:32 am

I would not. (I would nix BOTH Free Bird and Lady Gaga, for the record, neither of which would ever be played in the venue in which I have an ownership interest). I am definitely not down with the modern feel … you can be contemporary and speak to a younger crowd without trying to emulate a pulse-pounding night club (which I do NOT see working in Billsville, and in particular in that space / location), if you are talking about music, how about Radiohead, The National, Arcade Fire, Nick Cave, Morrissey, stuff of that ilk, or whatever is being played on WCFM nowadays? Maybe some good classic soul / jazz / blues as well, especially during the daytime? Purple Pub is a great name with instant appeal to draw in alumni. They’d be nuts to give that up, and I seriously doubt they will.

#6 Comment By PTC On February 19, 2010 @ 7:47 am

Jeffz- Ah well… put in a juke box and stand by for music wars! lol.

Myself.. I am ready to crank up a little “waking up in Vegas”, followed by “Hot Stuff” and some classic rock…

Long live the youth of America, and what not. I think the Red Herring aleady covers the niche you are referring to.

Cheap keg beer… will most likely win the day in the end.

#7 Comment By Dick Swart On February 19, 2010 @ 12:11 pm