The owner of two side-by-side Myrtle Beach-area bars said the spots have been cleaned up and improved following the county’s top prosecutor investigating the two establishments.
Jason Klocker, owner of Klocker’s Tavern and Remedies Bar and Grill, his newest purchase, said he bought Remedies this year to get rid of “problem clientele.” About the same time, 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson filed a complaint that could have possibly closed Klocker’s and Remedies, as well as Audry’s Lounge in Longs. Not long after filing the complaint in June, Richardson’s office and Klocker reached a two-year agreement.
Klocker is to close at 1 a.m. — instead of 2 a.m. — and take protective measures, Richardson said. Klocker, who bar tended for about a decade at Remedies before purchasing his own bar, brightened the back parking lot with new lights and installed a security system at the two bars, located on U.S. 17 Bypass just south of the S.C. 707 overpass.
“They were having a lot of issues here,” Klocker said of Remedies. “I was actually getting frustrated because I was having a hard time policing my own business next door on my own, so I had the express intention of cleaning this place up and getting rid of that problem clientele. It’s hard to try and keep a whole group of people away.”
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He said he believes Klocker’s was affiliated with the issues at Remedies because of the proximity and the joining parking lots.
Richardson said that if the agreement goes well, “we’re not going to do anything else.” And, he said, business has been running smoothly at the two bars since the agreement was made.
“It’s working,” Richardson told The Sun News. “It seems to be going well.”
There are consequences with a bar being open past midnight, Richardson said, and the problems at Klocker’s and Remedies were happening when other bars closed and folks traveled to the two bars.
Next-door neighbors, the two establishments share a back parking lot and are on a frontage road that runs parallel to U.S. 17 Bypass. Klocker’s began operating Aug. 1, 2013, according to the complaint from Richardson’s office.
The complaint stated the area is a place of “repeated disturbances of the peace.” Starting in May 2015, the document states, there were “innumerable” calls for service because of fights, assaults, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
There have been two calls for service in reference to gunshots, the complaint noted. One that happened in November 2017 involved a person being struck in the head with a handgun. The gun was fired, but nobody was shot.
In another incident cited on the complaint, a man was shot outside of Remedies on April 28 and he suffered bullet wounds to his abdomen and hand.
What happens at these bars?
Klocker, in a sit-down interview with The Sun News, described the atmosphere at the two bars. Remedies is well-lit with televisions all around, booths and a back patio area. Klocker’s has a stage, three levels of seating for a good view and sometimes a DJ.
“Remedies is a sports bar,” he said. “Klocker’s is a dark, loungy, artsy, musical feel. You got loud sports bar, you’ve got lounge.”
Customers tend to do-si-do between bars. And the parking lot typically is full of cars at night.
Almost every police report filed at the two bars between January and April mention incidents happening in the parking lot.
A 36-year-old man was arrested in February after he allegedly exposed himself in the parking lot and started “humping the SUV,”according to an Horry County Police Department report.
At least two reports filed this year say police responded in reference to ongoing — and documented — “work orders” for drug sales and other illegal activity at each bar. In one case, officers approached a vehicle that had a strong marijuana smell, a police report states. A suspect, believed to be sitting on a firearm in the vehicle, had a bag of what police said was cocaine in his hand, the report said.
In March, a 20-year-old was found dead in a ditch outside of Remedies. He died from asphyxiation due to drowning, the Horry County Coroner’s Office later released. Three months after, his parents filed a lawsuit against the bar, alleging their son was “freely served” alcohol and bar staff did not check his ID.
Klocker said that after buying Remedies in the early summer, it took him three days to change the atmosphere, going from zero customers to the average amount.
“I bought it to clean it up and shape it up,” he said. “I got rid of all the customers and now we are back to a very good — very good — clientele, and it didn’t take long at all.”
Klocker said he simply “got rid” of problematic customers by stepping in as the new owner and telling them to leave.
“I’m here — that’s all it really takes,” he said.
Police response to Myrtle Beach-area bars
Bars aren’t strangers to calls for law enforcement response. Horry County bars receive dozens of calls a year, according Freedom of Information Act requests by The Sun News.
Beach House Bar & Grill on Ocean Boulevard had 234 calls for service in 2017, and Jimmagan’s on Kings Highway had 33 calls for service, according to a FOIA request. Cpl. Thomas Vest with Myrtle Beach Police Department said substantial differences between the calls for service are due to the difference in locations.
“A lot of that is the traffic in front of the location,” he said of Beach House, adding there would be more traffic and pedestrian stops on Ocean Boulevard than where Jimmagan’s is located.
A separate FOIA request to HCPD revealed there were 13 police reports filed at Remedies and seven at Klocker’s in 2017. The amount of police reports differ from calls for service — each call for service does not necessarily mean a report is filed, and could simply be a traffic stop in the location.
Since Klocker purchased Remedies, there have been no major incidents at the two bars. He said his goal for the two spots is to keep growing customers and continue heading in a positive direction.
“The ultimate goal for me — is the open sign on? Are there cars in the parking lot? Both of those things have never changed,” he said. “Every week is better than the last.”
Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong