McMaster’s ‘Last Call’ order continues to hurt Grand Strand bars financially as football returns

McMaster’s ‘Last Call’ order continues to hurt Grand Strand bars financially as football returns

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - This football season will be a little different for fans hoping to catch the game at their favorite sports bar, especially if your favorite team is playing in primetime.

Local bar owners said Gov. Henry McMaster’s “Last Call” order is making it tough on small business owners.

Typically during football season, the bars would still be buzzing as fans watch the fourth quarter of Monday Night Football, but since McMaster banned the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m. in July, some fans are going to miss the end of the game, and bar owners are missing out on profits.

“It’s probably the worst time to open a bar since Prohibition, like 100 years ago but we’re going to make it work," said Sean Burke, co-owner of Spencer’z Sports Bar.

Burke and Newt Schwartz are the new owners of Spencer’z Sports Bar in Horry County. The well-known Steelers bar is always a popular spot to watch football.

However, McMaster’s “Last Call” order isn’t exactly ideal for prime time football.

“Eleven is definitely our main concern. On Thursday Night Football there were still nine minutes left in the fourth quarter when 11 p.m. came around,” said Burke.

Down the road at Dagwood’s Deli and Sports Bar, general manager Mel Goodman said the boost in carry-out sales has helped make up for the loss in late-night alcohol sales.

While bars can still serve food and soft drinks past 11 p.m., Dagwoods has been closing earlier than usual.

“Here in Surfside it’s an early town so everyone is pretty much home by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.,” said Goodman.

WMBF News reached out to the governor’s office about the “Last Call” order and according to McMaster’s communications team, there isn’t an expiration date on the order and the governor is the one who would need to lift it.

“It’s definitely hurting us and no one likes to be kicked out in the fourth quarter of a good game,” said Schwartz.

We also asked McMaster’s team if the governor is considering lifting the “Last Call” order, but did not get an answer.

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