The proposed 2 a.m. closing time for bars in unincorporated Horry County passed its initial hurdle Tuesday with unanimous approval by the county council.
The new ordinance requires two more votes by the council before it would go into effect July 12.
The strict closing-time rule is aimed at cutting back on crime, and states that prolonged consumption of alcoholic beverages leads to dangerous situations.
If bars are forced to lock the doors at 2 a.m., bartenders would be prevented from offering “last call” just minutes before, and allowing the consumption of pitchers of beer until well after.
Myrtle Beach council members indicated during their recent budget retreat that they are likely to follow suit, and consider stricter times for bars to close in the city limits.