The 3rd Avenue Bar and Grill has been blocked from operating by the city of Myrtle Beach, after officials said the tavern improperly handled several shootings.
Jim Irvin, an attorney for the bar’s owner, told The Sun News on Wednesday that he is not planning an appeal because he’s never seen a business win in similar decisions.
“Chances are at this point in time that we’re not going to appeal, based on other results of other appeals,” Irvin told The Sun News. “Unless there’s some way to stay open during the appeal, which there is not.”
On March 23, police asked city staff to revoke the bar’s business license, which removes a business’s legal ability to operate. Police Chief Warren Gall cited three shootings since 2015 in the request, saying 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.
“I haven’t been told of any time [the bar] stonewalled the police,” Irvin said Wednesday.
After the December shooting, Gall wrote, police reviewed security footage from inside the club. Two people forced their way into the club, putting a gun in the face of a man police identified at John “Wayne” Feaster, the club’s owner. Gall’s letter recounts pandemonium after, as shooting ensued and people ran to the parking lot.
“Club security was helpless against violent individuals who wished to kill patrons inside the club,” Gall wrote, “and it is frightening to think that someone armed and with evil intent could force his way into a crowded club.”
“It is miraculous more people were not killed or injured in this incident,” the police chief concluded.
On Friday, the city sent Feaster the letter saying his business license was suspended and that he had the option to appeal the decision within 15 days. Reached at the bar on Monday, Feaster declined to comment on the case and referred The Sun News to Irvin.
Irvin said that the system of adjudicating these complaints has not, in his memory, led to a successful appeal.
City Manager John Pedersen also said Wednesday he had never seen a business successfully appeal to regain its license.
“The bar’s pretty high in what constitutes a nuisance,” Pedersen said. “It has to be a chronic problem, a sustained problem. There’s always been an effort to try to solve the problem with the property owner.”
Pedersen said that the city is continually in discussion with businesses if they see a possible nuisance, and will only designate one if problems continue after the city has spoken to business owners.
Irvin said his client was asked by the city to close at 1 a.m. about a month ago, but they refused. Gall’s letter also said city officials asked the bar to close at that time.
The city has pulled business licenses for other bars this year, including the former Natalia’s Bar and Grill and Pure Ultra Club. Irvin also represented the owner of Natalia’s, Natalie Litsey, in an appeal before the city that was ultimately unsuccessful. Pure Ultra Club pulled its appeal just before it was scheduled to argue its case.
Irvin said his past experience with Natalia’s was one of the reasons he’s unwilling to file an appeal for 3rd Avenue Sports Bar and Grill.
“In this case you either win or lose,” Irvin said. “You don’t have a chance of finding some place in the middle to get the city what they want and get an operating business a chance to continue operating.”
The former site of Natalia’s has since been sold to the city, and comprises part of the site of a new library and children’s museum.