No longer simply rumors, the old Waccamaw Pottery retail malls at Fantasy Harbour just west of Myrtle Beach are seeing signs of new life, the most obvious in the form of the just opened Block Party, a mostly country music club/restaurant directly across the street from The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill.
Majority owner and operational manager Rick Pollard, one half of the country music duo Ricshaw, opened the venue last week and is continuing a long list of upgrades. Pollard says by July the club will feature live music seven nights per week, national and regional acts, and famous city themed regions (such as New Orleans) throughout the 6,000-square-foot club. Pollard plans to install interactive Skype-styled video conferencing centers for his patrons to communicate with revelers in bars across the nation, and maybe around the globe. “You’ll be able talk to people at these other clubs, and (through PayPal) buy a drink for someone 600 miles away,” he said. “We’re talking with Cowboys Saloon in Hollywood, Fla., and a few other bars. The technology is really simple.”
Pollard, a former executive with Reader’s Digest magazine, is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and has been performing on the south end (Beaver Bar, Scotty’s Beach Bar) for about a year as Ricshaw, with partner Jordan Reeves. The duo plays with home-recorded drum and keyboard tracks, playing mostly covers and some originals.
“The stage is in, and we’re playing four shows a week,” said Pollard. Ricshaw performs Thursday- Saturday in the evening and Sunday afternoons. “We hope to add in a lot more local acts, too.” With a little more than a week open, Block Party is hoping to create a buzz, though Pollard says it will take some time for his vision to be fully realized. “I’ve only lived in Myrtle Beach for a little over a year,” he said, “and I always have heard about how back in the day Waccamaw Pottery was thee place for locals to hang out. I want to see it become that place again.”
Among the first of several planned new openings in the former Waccamaw Pottery location, Pollard and his Block Party partners hope to see the once-busy shopping and theater district revitalized. “None of this confirmed yet,” said Pollard, “but the owners of the property are putting a new roof on, and supposedly have most of Mall 2 fully leased.” Among the new businesses Pollard says he’s heard about are two restaurants, and a dozen retail businesses supposedly opening sometime in 2012.
Does Pollard see his club as competition with the Boathouse? “Not at all,” he said. “We can help each other. We’re going to stay away from big shows on Sundays. That’s their night, but we’re here, in part, because of [The Boathouse’] success.”
Trip Coan, co-owner of The Boathouse knows the area well and the challenges of operating a business off the beaten path - his wildly successful Sunday Summer Concert Series notwithstanding. “It’s tough out here. I wish [Block Party] a lot of success,” he said.
Pollard’s 21-and-older nightclub is open at 4 p.m. daily. No cover charged except for national acts, none of which are yet booked. Pollard says he’ s still “in negotiations” for firm calendar dates.
And down the street from Block Party and The Boathouse, Medieval Times, the popular dinner show set amidst clashing swords, Andalusian stallions and a fork-free dining experience, has introduced an all-new soundtrack to accompany a new show for 2012.
The Middle Ages concept dinner show has been around in the U.S. since the early 1980s and has nine locations in North America. As the only remaining professional theater production in the once-bustling Fantasy Harbour retail/theater district of Myrtle Beach, Medieval Times continues to draw crowds and periodically updates the show for its patrons. Part of that update is revisiting the storyline and creating a new score to amp up the theatrical experience. As with the past three show and musical score updates, award-winning film composer Daniel May has again recorded in Kiev, Ukraine, a popular European destination for classical and orchestral recording.
The new show and score premiers June 7. Ticket prices range from $31 (children 12 and younger), to $51 (adults), which includes dinner, serving wenches and plenty of napkins. Medieval Times is at 2904 Fantasy Way, Myrtle Beach. Call 888-935-6878 for more information.
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