Myrtle Beach City Council struck a compromise with 3rd Avenue Sports Bar & Grill on Tuesday morning, allowing the bar, which was shut down in April, to reopen for the rest of the month.
The bar had its business license revoked on April 7, after city officials said a pattern of crimes there had made it a nuisance. On Tuesday, owner John “Wayne” Feaster said he only wanted to open the bar through the end of May. City council agreed that he could do so, provided he closed at 2 a.m. every night.
Feaster’s business license will now expire at 2 a.m. on May 31.
“I thought it was fair,” Feaster told The Sun News after his public hearing Tuesday morning.
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Councilman Wayne Gray was the first on the city panel to agree with Feaster’s compromise.
“I just felt the matter would be resolved by next Wednesday,” Gray told The Sun News.
City council voted unanimously for the compromise, though Councilman Phil Render was absent for the vote. The city also has the ability to stop business at the bar immediately if a shooting occurs in the bar or in its parking lot while 3rd Avenue is operating. Bars and other “drinking places” are viewed as responsible for crime that happens on the premises, including in the parking lot, City Attorney Tom Ellenburg said Tuesday.
Police Chief Warren Gall cited three shootings since 2015 in his original request to city staff to pause the bar’s operations. He wrote that the club did not properly handle the situations:
- On April 4, 2015, police received a call that someone had fired into the air around the bar. When they arrived on scene, officers were unable to get an account of the incident — but later that day, an employee of the bar came to police and said she had called police but been ordered to hang up.
- On Oct, 31, 2015, a fight in the parking lot turned dangerous as a man shot someone he was fighting through the abdomen. Security did not try to keep witnesses at the club, Gall’s letter said, and “the club’s security controlled neither the violence at the club nor the crowd’s response to that violence.”
- On Dec. 24, 2016, one man was shot inside the club and two more people were shot as they ran from the club.
- On April 2, another shooting sent someone to the hospital. That incident occurred after police requested that the city look at pulling the bar’s license.
Feaster said nobody at his bar, which originally opened eight years ago, was ever told to avoid the police or not report a crime.
He said he originally opened the bar “for the black folks to have somewhere to go.”
“Everybody’s allowed to be with their own culture,” Feaster, who is black, added.
By staying open through the end of May, the bar could capture a significant amount of business as droves of bikers, many of them black, descend on the city for the Atlantic Beach Bikefest celebrations over Memorial Day weekend.
The event began in Atlantic Beach, just north of Myrtle Beach, a community that was historically black due to segregation.
But the event has long since spilled southward, and Feaster said it’s “always” a big business weekend for him.
It’ll be a good opportunity to make up some revenue. In the just over a month he’s been closed, Feaster said, he’s lost between $15,000 and $20,000.