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

CHARLESTON,S.C. (WCIV) - Padlocks were placed on thedoors of a downtown Charlestondive bar Monday, more than a week ahead of its closing.

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

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

But that somehow was turnedinto a shutdown on Oct. 31.

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

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

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

The news of the early shutdownsparked a lot of anger and questions, particularly from cadets and graduates atThe Citadel.

"What about our stuff? We'vegot history in there with a lot of old Cadet name tags, and there are personalitems that were placed there in good faith that are former belongings ofservice members who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan," wrote Kevin Adcock onthe Tavern's Facebook wall.

Adcock also wrote that the bar'sphone service was disconnected.

Another person said the bar'sdoors were open shortly after 2 p.m. and a crew of people was moving things outof 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 andproudly served all of you for 58 years."

Condon says that storiedhistory of service would continue - after renovations. The plan is to do someremodeling, 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 theend of November, but said it could be sometime in December, depending on whatcontractors find as the work begins.

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

Burke says the Green Door islooking at other locations in downtown Charleston,West Ashley, and the Park Circlearea of North Charleston.