Bar Rescue

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Bar Rescue
Bar Rescue Logo.jpg
Genre Semi-Reality
Created by Darrin Reed
Written by Tim Hoffmann
Directed by Jay Hunter
Starring Jon Taffer
Narrated by P.J. King
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 79 episodes + 1 removed (list of episodes)
Running time Approx. 43 mins
Production company(s) Eyeworks USA
Original channel Spike
Original run July 17, 2011 (2011-07-17) – present
Related shows Hungry Investors
External links

Bar Rescue is an American reality TV series that premiered on Spike on July 17, 2011. It stars Jon Taffer (a long-time food & beverage industry consultant specializing in nightclubs and pubs), who offers his professional expertise plus renovations and equipment to desperately failing bars in order to save them from closing. In the UK, the show airs on 5*, starting from January 8, 2014.


The series stars Jon Taffer, owner and chairman of bar/nightclub consulting firm Taffer Dynamics, Inc.[1] Taffer is a bar and nightclub owner who has started, flipped, or owned over 800 establishments in a career that spans over three decades.[2] Bar owners submit an application via the Spike TV website to have their failing establishment "rescued" by Taffer and his team of experts.[3]

A typical episode begins with Taffer's team performing reconnaissance and surveillance on a struggling bar to determine its operational and service weaknesses. For the recon, one or more team members and/or local residents enter the bar, order food and drinks to gauge their quality, and form an opinion of the atmosphere and service. The surveillance involves hidden cameras, pre-installed with the owner's consent, through which Taffer and his team watch the kitchen and customer service areas. He then introduces himself to the owner(s) and staff to discuss his findings, and to describe the changes he believes should be made (management, customer service, cleanliness, etc.) in order to make the bar profitable. He also examines the bar's financial records to find possible cost savings. During these meetings, Taffer exhibits a brusque, no-nonsense, and confrontational attitude intended to goad the owner(s) and staff into making drastic changes to the way the bar is run – including the firing of inept or dishonest employees when necessary.

Taffer's team members train the staff on methods of improving food/drink preparation, customer service, and efficiency, frequently concentrating on a more limited selection of recipes than the bar typically offers. After the initial training, Taffer puts the bar through a "stress test" (similar to a soft opening), inviting in a large crowd of patrons in order to determine how well the staff can use their newly learned skills to deal with the pressure of a busy night. He uses market research, technological tools, and partner companies to scientifically measure the bar's performance. After discussing the stress test's results with owners and staff, Taffer meets with his experts to begin devising a new concept for the bar.

The experts put the staff through a second, more extensive phase of training, overhauling the menu to fit the new concept. Once this phase is complete, Taffer closes the bar for a few days so that construction crews can redesign the interior. Deep-cleaning and structural work are performed when necessary. After the overhauled bar (often re-branded with a completely new name or a variation of the old one) is unveiled, Taffer takes the owners and staff on a tour to point out its new features. During the grand re-opening, he observes the overall improvement as a large crowd again packs the bar.

An epilogue segment describes the changes in the bar's success or failure since the re-opening, through a combination of text and interviews with the owners and staff. Bars are not required to keep the changes that Taffer implements; some have reverted to their original names, concepts, and/or menus since being featured on the show. Some have since closed, or changed ownership.


The series is from The Biggest Loser producers J.D. Roth and Todd A. Nelson for 3 Ball Productions/Eyeworks US. Spike announced picking up 10 episodes of Bar Rescue in January 2011. The show began shooting in April 2011.[4] It was renewed on September 14, 2011 for a second season in the summer of 2012,[5] from which the first episode of that season aired on July 29. Taffer has confirmed that Season 3 of the show began filming in late October 2012, with 20 episodes being prepared to premiere on February 10, 2013.[citation needed] On May 9, 2013, Spike TV renewed Bar Rescue for a fourth season of 20 more episodes.[6]

On March 21, 2014 Spike TV ordered 20 more episodes of Bar Rescue.

On June 27, 2014, Jon Taffer announced on his Facebook page that he will be begin shooting 30 episodes for Season 4 after a week-long trip to Paris.[7] The first half premiered on October 5, 2014 while the second half premiered on February 8, 2015.


  • Jon Taffer — Host/Star/Bar Consultant/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Nicole Taffer — Host's Wife/Marketing/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Samantha "Sam" Taffer — Host's Daughter/Mixologist/Bar Recon Specialist


  • Kevin Bludso — BBQ Chef
  • J.B. Brown — BBQ Chef
  • Josh Capon — Host of Frankenfood
  • Brendan Collins — Chef on MTV's House of Food
  • Crystal "Chef Pink" DeLongpré
  • Tiffany Derry — Bar Recon Specialist/Judge on Hungry Investors/former Top Chef contestant
  • Brian Duffy — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Ron Duprat — Former Top Chef contestant
  • Jason Febres — Chef at Taste and See in Wichita, KS/former Guy's Grocery Games contestant
  • Tony Gemignani — 8 Time World Pizza Champion/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Eric Greenspan
  • Brian Hill —Bar Recon Specialist/former Top Chef contestant
  • Keith Jones — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Anthony Lamas — Latin Culinary Chef
  • Nick Liberato — Chef/Restaurateur/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Aaron McCargo Jr. — Bar Recon Specialist/winner of The Next Food Network Star
  • Spike Mendelsohn — Former Top Chef contestant
  • Gavan Murphy — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Jamika Pessoa — Food Network personality/The Chew correspondent/former Next Food Network Star contestant
  • Frank Pinello — Pizza Expert/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Eric Regan — Food Truck Expert
  • Stretch — Culinary Expert/Fabricator
  • Celina Tio
  • Vic Vegas


  • Jason Bran — Speed Mixologist/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Joseph Brooke — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Chris Cardone — Specialty of Flair Mixology
  • Adam Carmer — Beer Expert/Owner of Freakinfrog in Las Vegas, NV
  • Jenny Costa
  • Russell Davis — Bar Recon Specialist/2012 Mixologist of the Year[8]
  • Tony Devencenzi
  • Elayne Duff[9]
  • Tobin Ellis
  • Raul Faria
  • Rachel Ford — Tanqueray Brand Ambassador, Diageo
  • Scott Ford
  • Trevor Frye
  • Kate Gerwin
  • Ricky Gomez — World Class U.S. Ambassador, Diageo
  • Gerry Graham — Bushmills Ambassador, Diageo/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Jen J
  • Lisamarie Joyce — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Franky Marshall — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Mia Mastroianni — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Kyle Mercado — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Joe Meyer — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Kat Munday — Service Trainer
  • Peter O'Connor — Whiskey Expert
  • Keith Raimondi — Whiskey Expert/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Michael Tipps
  • Terrelle Treco — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Brian Van Flandern — Global Tequila Ambassador at Diageo
  • Phil Wills — Bar Recon Specialist
  • Neil Witte — Beer Expert

Other special experts[edit]

  • Jessie Barnes Hyatt — Service Trainer/Bottle Service/Bar Recon Specialist
  • Owen Benjamin — Comedian/Comedy Club Expert
  • Steve Blovat — Health Inspector
  • Anthony Curtis — Gaming Specialist/Professional Gambler
  • Doc — Security Expert
  • Sal Ferro — Contractor
  • Ken Gillie — Inventory Control Specialist
  • Dave Gravino — Owner of Iggy's Doughboys & Chowder House/Consultant
  • Dominique Kelley — Choreography Expert
  • DJ Green Lantern — DJ Expert/Music Producer
  • Nancy Hadley — Concept/Interior Design
  • Deborah Maguire — Hospitality Expert
  • Fred Medrano — Karaoke Specialist
  • John Naddour — Hookah Expert
  • Gianluca Rizza — Comedy Club Expert
  • Brandy Starr — Hospitality Expert
  • Ed Warnick — Retired Health Inspector
  • Nikhil "Nik" Kundra — Partender (Food & Bar Inventory in 15 Minutes) Specialist
  • Monica Kundra — Partender (Food & Bar Inventory in 15 Minutes) Specialist

Failed rescues[edit]

Although most of the bars featured on the show go on to survive and succeed, some bars do not see the same results off-camera. The changes the show made to Downey's Irish Pub, featured in the July 24, 2011, episode "Downey's and Out", were not enough to prevent a planned sheriff's sale on August 2, 2011, due to $2.4 million owed to the city of Philadelphia and Wells Fargo bank, including $125,881 in business-privilege, wage, liquor and other taxes.[10] Breakwall (from the season one episode, "Beach Bummer") closed in January 2012.[11] Season one's Swanky Bubbles, after reverting to its original title, has also closed its doors.[12] The show's first rescued bar of season two, Piratz Tavern, reverted to its original pirate theme [13] and would later close in April 2015. Also, The Chicken Bone, Canyon Inn, Angry Ham's Garage, Weber's Place,[citation needed] The Brixton, ZanZbar [14] Stand Up Scottsdale!,and KC's reverted to their original names.[15] The Chicken Bone brought back its previously popular menu, while Angry Ham's replaced unpopular items with previously popular items from its original menu. Season two's J.A. Murphys was sold by the owners shortly after the makeover, becoming a Mexican restaurant.[16] Stand Up Scottsdale reverted to its original name due to problems with becoming a franchise of The Laugh Factory.

Not all rescued bar owners have been happy with Taffer's makeovers. Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring, Maryland, quickly undid all of Taffer's drastic changes shortly after their episode was filmed. The unsuccessful pirate-themed bar was rebranded Corporate Bar and Grill by Taffer but the change was short-lived, as the bar was again going with the pirate theme by the time the episode aired. The owner even released a YouTube video of the new "Corporate" sign created by Taffer's team being burned and shot at in effigy called Piratz Revenge which was heavily disliked by YouTube viewers and currently has only a positive rating of 4%. "If you had a pirate concept that had failed for five years and had a new concept, would you go back to the concept that failed for five years or try something new? It defies logic that someone would go back to a (failed) concept just because they don't like the new name", said Taffer of their decision.[13] The owners blamed the "negative publicity" on the show. Piratz was revisited as part of the April 5, 2015 episode, where Taffer graded the bar an "epic fail"; the owner wanted to seek a second rescue. Within a week of the episode's airing, however, Piratz decided to close its doors for good.

Rocket 6 in Austin, Texas, reverted to its old name, The Brixton, 6 weeks after its relaunch.[17] The owner continued his use of social media to insult critics that was documented in the show, although the bar was not closed.[18]

The Rocky Point Cantina in Tempe, Arizona, closed after a repaint of the bar triggered a code inspection, which uncovered years of modifications to the building that had been completed without building permits. The bar owner opted to close the bar rather than bringing his building up to code.[19]

Taffer walks out[edit]

In season three's "Punch-Drunk and Trailer-Trashed", a Bar Rescue first occurred when Taffer refused to rescue a bar. Called to assist Matt & Karen Overmeyer, the owners of OFace Bar in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Taffer ran into problems almost immediately. As he and mixologist Russell Davis were doing the recon, an argument between the bar's manager, Amanda, and a server, Cerissa, spilled out into the parking lot and became physical. Taffer and Davis immediately went to break up the fight and an infuriated Taffer berated the owners of the bar, a husband and wife, and demanded the manager (who started the fight when the server was just trying to do her job) be fired or he would not work with them. After he left, the owners fired the server and the manager defiantly said she would be there the next morning when the staff met with Taffer. Taffer kept his word, however, and walked out of the bar the next morning forcing the owners to reconsider their position and fire the manager. In addition to all that, Taffer was annoyed with the family drama between the husband and wife who owned the bar, the wife's surly attitude, the staff's consumption of alcohol while working, and the incompetence of the bartenders, noting the only person who seemed to care was the security guard. Twice in the course of their meetings and training exercises, Taffer and Davis observed that the staff did not seem to care as they were unprepared to work and more concerned with doing things their own way.

Furthermore, Taffer was taken aback by the name of the bar and its origin. The term "o face" refers to a facial expression that a person shows during sexual intercourse. Specifically, the person gets the expression when he/she reaches the point of orgasm during sex, and is short for "orgasm face". Disgusted at this, Taffer made numerous attempts to convince the owners to change their bar's name but they refused to do so.

What finally drove Taffer away was the result of a business background check he conducted, which uncovered an incident between the husband and his bartender where he slapped the bartender in the face and offered the security guard a raise to throw him through a window, which he refused. In addition, the background check produced a series of police blotters that revealed a series of arrests made at the bar by Council Bluffs police which included several assault claims. Taffer told the owners that he refused to stake his reputation on them because no matter what he did, it would be changed soon after he left and that they "blew it" with their behavior, saying that they needed professional help and counseling more than they needed his help with the bar. Council Bluffs residents and its local government were also appalled by the conduct of the staff and patrons at the bar, believing it embarrassed the city, and it refused to renew OFace's liquor license in 2014 (a decision which was later reversed on appeal).[20]

Taffer revisited the OFace failure in a 2014 series of specials where he revealed four separate top ten lists based on the bars he had visited over the previous three seasons. OFace was featured in the special "Taffer's Top Ten: Worst Owners", and the owners of the bar were ranked as the worst he had ever dealt with.

Re-rescue attempt fails[edit]

Extremes Sports Bar and Grill, which was renamed to Second Base in the Season 2 episode "Bikini Bust," had become a failure again and Taffer was called on to re-rescue the bar. He discovered the owner had opened another bar into which he sunk virtually all the profits made since the rescue and neglected Second Base. During the episode Taffer revealed he planned a $100,000 renovation but feared the owner would neglect the bar again, and said he would only do so if the owner was to contribute $30,000 towards the renovation as a show of commitment to the bar and because most bars contribute 5% of their profits to maintaining their business ($30,000 would have still been less than 5% of the previous profits). The owner refused, claiming he couldn't afford to do so, and a furious Taffer walked out. He berated the owner for trying to take advantage of him, but also promised to help his staff and his manager get jobs because he still cared about their well-being.

LABrewCo failure[edit]

Taffer's most expensive rescue also resulted in his biggest failure. His visit to The Los Angeles Brewing Company during Season 4 saw him put $1 million into updating the bar, which included the use of a self-service beer tap and an in-house brewing system, which was intended to allow the bar (which became known as LABrewCo) to start serving its own beer. Four months after the rescue, the brewing system was discovered to have never been installed, the self-serve tap was disconnected, and the owner had reverted changes to the bar taps and the menu. Not only that, but it was also revealed that LABrewCo's liquor license had been suspended and the business was put up for sale.[20]


Jon and Nicole Taffer, along with the show's production company Bongo LLC, have been sued by Dr. Paul T. Wilkes from Bar 702. In the episode the bar and its staff were featured in, Paul is shown to hit on Nicole and Jon yells at him in retaliation. However, he claims that in reality that the producers ordered him to be sleazy and make offensive comments on women and texted him to "Hit on Mrs. Taffer hardcore!!" After he did so, instead of "setting him straight", the doctor claims that Taffer allegedly called the control room to tell them to have a drink near the spot where he intended to confront Dr. Wilkes, so he could throw it in his face and said to a colleague "Now I'm going to show you why my show is Number One." Dr. Wilkes then claimed that Jon Taffer came in to confront him and showed him footage of his audition tapes where he insulted the way Jon dressed. Jon then grabbed the drink in his hand, threw it in his face, and smashed the cup in his face. Jon then spit in his face and tore off his shirt so violently that buttons ripped off his shirt. Jon then picked up the second drink that was planted and threw it in Dr. Wilkes' face. After that, Jon swung at Dr. Wilkes' head with his electronic tablet and turned around to get his coat. Dr. Wilkes thought Taffer was going for a weapon, so he tried to restrain him and was punched in his left jaw by him. Jon Taffer began hyperventilating and collapsed on the floor with the entire attack was caught on camera. As a result of this attack, Dr. Wilkes claims he suffers from emotional distress and symptoms such as migraines, nausea, vomiting, night terrors, crying spells, severe depression, and anxiety attacks. There is currently no update on the lawsuit.[21][22]

Episode guide[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 10 July 17, 2011 (2011-07-17) September 18, 2011 (2011-09-18)
2 10 July 29, 2012 (2012-07-29) September 30, 2012 (2012-09-30)
3 40 February 10, 2013 (2013-02-10) May 14, 2014 (2014-05-14)
4 30 October 5, 2014 (2014-10-05) 2015 (2015)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Taffer's website
  2. ^ ABOUT Bar Rescue
  3. ^ Spike’s Bar Rescue is Casting for Season 3
  4. ^ "Spike Orders Two New Reality Series - 2011-01-31 20:51:09 | Broadcasting & Cable". Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  5. ^ "Picks Up "Bar Rescue" for a Second Round". SPIKE. 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  6. ^ "‘Bar Rescue’ Renewed by Spike for Fourth Season – Ratings". 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Bar Rescue Bios". SPIKE. 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  10. ^ @irishcentral (2011-07-15). "Officially, we now name the worst Irish pub in America". Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  11. ^ Nicole Mooradian (March 6, 2012). "Despite 'Bar Rescue,' Breakwall Closes". Redondo Beach Patch. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Say So Long to Swanky Bubbles". Grub Street Philadelphia (New York (magazine)). November 21, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  13. ^ a b Wetherbee, Brandon (July 30, 2012). "'Bar Rescue' Host Jon Taffer On Piratz Tavern Revolt: 'It Defies Logic'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ Bar Rescue: Back to the Bar, aired 5 April 2015
  15. ^ Clapper, Bill (July 16, 2011). "The Chicken Bone, Angry Ham's Opt To Keep Original Names". Framingham Post. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  16. ^ Bar Rescue, "Taffer's Top 10: Toughest Rescues", airdate June 29, 2014
  17. ^ "The Brixton Takes Off As Rocket Room 6 | Nightclub & Bar". 2013-03-03. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  18. ^ "The Brixton (@The_Brixton) op Twitter". Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  19. ^ "Bar Rescue" goes bad: Work permits were not obtained
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^ "Is Bar Rescue Fake? Lawsuit Says So". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  22. ^ "Bar Rescue Lawsuit" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-07. 

External links[edit]