Big John’s owner: Downtown mainstay to reopen by end of year - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Big John’s owner: Downtown mainstay to reopen by end of year

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Padlocks were placed on the doors of a downtown Charleston dive bar Monday, more than a week ahead of its closing.

According to Big John's Tavern's Facebook page, the building's owner shut down the bar for good even though there had been an agreement to leave the bar open until Oct. 31.

However, the owner of the bar and the building, Ryan Condon, said Monday afternoon that the information about Big John's closing is just wrong. According to Condon, he was going to leave the bar open through the end of the year and then shut it down temporarily for renovations.

But that somehow was turned into a shutdown on Oct. 31.

"That's something Facebook did, not me," he said.

Condon said the early closing came after a number of people told him the planned Halloween party was going to be used to steal memorabilia from the bar. He says some people have already removed or laid claim to items that have been in the bar for decades.

"How do people think they have the right to steal stuff like that?" he asked. "None of this belongs to them."

The news of the early shutdown sparked a lot of anger and questions, particularly from cadets and graduates at The Citadel.

"What about our stuff? We've got history in there with a lot of old Cadet name tags, and there are personal items that were placed there in good faith that are former belongings of service members who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan," wrote Kevin Adcock on the Tavern's Facebook wall.

Adcock also wrote that the bar's phone service was disconnected.

Another person said the bar's doors were open shortly after 2 p.m. and a crew of people was moving things out of the bar.

"Big John's Tavern is a Charleston institution," the most recent post on the bar's page notes. "We opened our doors in 1955 and proudly served all of you for 58 years."

Condon says that storied history of service would continue – after renovations. The plan is to do some remodeling, bring the space back up to code, and reopen the whole space – including the area that Green Door had taken over – as Big John's.

Condon hopes to reopen by the end of November, but said it could be sometime in December, depending on what contractors find as the work begins.

"I hope he finds a place to open up," Condon said of Cory Burke's adjoining business, the Green Door. "He just can't stay at Big John's because he's not Big John's."

Burke says the Green Door is looking at other locations in downtown Charleston, West Ashley, and the Park Circle area of North Charleston.

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