Bar Rescue

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Bar Rescue
Bar Rescue Logo.jpg
Intertitle from seasons 1–5
Created byDarrin Reed
Directed byNeal Gallagher
StarringJon Taffer
Narrated byP.J. King
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes188 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Todd Nelson
  • Dj Nurre
  • Katy Dierks
  • James Agiesta
  • Jason Garnett
Running time41–42 mins.
Production company(s)
  • Eyeworks (2011–14)
  • 3 Ball Entertainment (2015–present)
Original network
Picture format16:9
Original releaseJuly 17, 2011 (2011-07-17) –
Related showsMarriage Rescue
External links

Bar Rescue is an American reality television series that premiered on Spike on July 17, 2011 – rebranded as Paramount Network in 2018. It stars Jon Taffer, a long-time food and beverage industry consultant specializing in nightclubs, bars, 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 originally aired on 5*, later moving to Spike (UK).

A spin-off series titled Marriage Rescue premiered on June 2, 2019.[1]


The series stars Jon Taffer, owner and chairman of bar/nightclub consulting firm Taffer Dynamics, Inc.[2] Taffer is a bar and nightclub owner who has started, flipped, or owned numerous establishments in a career that spans over three decades. Bar owners submit an application via the Paramount Network 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 and/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, and some have reverted to their original names, concepts, and/or menus since being featured on the show.

The bars featured on the show are already in dire financial and operational situations by the time Taffer intervenes, posting a significant challenge to a turnaround. Despite this, data shows that over half the bars featured, 92 of the first 166 featured through the midway point of Season 6, have remained open, with the remaining 74 unable to overcome their challenges.[4]


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.[5] It was renewed on September 14, 2011 for a second season in the summer of 2012,[6] from which the first episode of that season aired on July 29. Season 3 of the show premiered on February 10, 2013. On May 9, 2013, Spike TV renewed Bar Rescue for a fourth season of 20 more episodes.[7]

On March 21, 2014, Spike TV ordered 20 more episodes of Bar Rescue.[citation needed] On June 27, Taffer announced on his Facebook page that he will be begin shooting 30 episodes for season 4 after a week-long trip to Paris.[8] The first half premiered on October 5, 2014 while the second half premiered on February 8, 2015. On May 30, 2015, Taffer announced on his Facebook page that he finished shooting season 4. It was announced that the remaining episodes for season 4 would air beginning Sunday, June 21, 2015.[9]

In May 2015, Taffer announced season 5, with at least 20 episodes, on his Facebook page,[10] with an update from Spike, issued in July 2016, that they had increased the fifth season to a total of 30 episodes.[11]

A sixth season was announced with a March 11, 2018 start date.[12]

On May 2, 2019, the series was renewed for a seventh season with 12 episodes.[1]

Failed rescues[edit]

The bars featured on the show are already in dire financial and operational situations by the time Taffer intervenes, posting a significant challenge to a turnaround. Nearly half the bars featured, 74 of the first 166 featured through the midway point of Season 6, were unable to overcome their challenges.[4]

For example, 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.[13] Breakwall (from the season one episode, "Beach Bummer") closed in January 2012.[14] Season one's Swanky Bubbles, after reverting to its original title, has also closed its doors.[15] The show's first rescued bar of season two, Piratz Tavern, reverted to its original pirate theme[16] and would later close in April 2015 (see below). The Chicken Bone, Canyon Inn, Angry Ham's Garage, Weber's Place,[citation needed] The Brixton, ZanZbar[17] Stand Up Scottsdale!, and KC's reverted to their original names.[18] 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 2's J.A. Murphys was sold by the owners shortly after the makeover, becoming a Mexican restaurant.[19] Stand Up Scottsdale reverted to its original name due to problems with becoming a franchise of The Laugh Factory.

Rocket Room 6 in Austin, Texas, reverted to its old name, The Brixton, 6 weeks after its relaunch.[20] The owner continued his use of social media to insult critics who were documented in the show, although the bar was not closed.[21]

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 bring his building up to code.[22]

Piratz Tavern[edit]

The pirate-themed Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring, Maryland, which had been rebranded Corporate Bar and Grill by Taffer, reversed all of the changes Taffer' made to the bar shortly after their episode was filmed. The owner released a YouTube video called "Piratz Revenge", showing the "Corporate" sign created by Taffer's team being shot at and burned in effigy. The video was heavily disliked by YouTube viewers, and garnered a positive rating of only 4%. Taffer of their decision, "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."[16] The owners blamed the "negative publicity" on the show. Piratz was revisited as part of the April 5, 2015 episode, in which Taffer grades the bar an "epic fail", and the owner sought a second rescue. Within a week of the revisited episode's premiere, however, Piratz decided to close its doors for good. In a "Back to the Bar" episode, the owners made amends with Taffer and announce that they plan to open a new bar, Bar Refuge, within the next year in Florida. They also appeared alongside their daughter in the episode "Getting Freaky at the Tikis" as recon spies for The Tiki Lounge.[citation needed]

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 installation of a self-service beer tap and an in-house brewing system, which was intended to allow the bar, which was rebranded as LABrewCo, to start serving its own beer. Four months after the rescue, the brewing system was discovered to have never been used, the self-serve tap was disconnected, and the owner had reverted changes to the bar taps and the menu. In addition, LABrewCo's liquor license had been suspended and the business was put up for sale.[23]

The Dugout episode[edit]

Taffer's redesign of baseball-themed bar The Dugout, across the street from Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, resulted in a series first: Taffer redesigned the bar, but didn't hold a grand reopening. The building owner, Ed, had evicted the bar owner and took over. However Ed was uninterested in operating a bar and lost interest in the show appearance frustrating the bar staff. At the end of the episode, Taffer only showed the staff the newly dubbed "Press Box" and left the next move up to them. When Ed showed up drunk to the unveiling, several staff members quit and Taffer walked out.


Throughout the series, Taffer has walked out of a bar without rescuing it three times.

O'Face Bar[edit]

Taffer first walks out of the trailer-themed O'Face Bar in Council Bluffs, Iowa in the Season 3 episode "Punch Drunk and Trailer Trashed". The owners, Matt and Karen, named the bar after a vulgar expression and treat their staff and customers terribly. In the episode, they fire the victim of a fight, bartender Cerissa, instead of the instigator, manager Amanda, as Jon demands, as they favored Amanda. The owners subsequently fire Amanda and apologize to Cerissa, which costs them a day of training. Matt refuses to give customers the recipe to their signature "O'Gasm", shot and bartender Dave does not exercise proper fire safety. After a poor stress test, the owners bicker and shift blame to others. The conflict is exacerbated by Karen's drinking problem. After breaking up a fight, Jon leaves after witnessing Matt engaging in criminal behavior for which he harbors no remorse. In a follow-up episode of "Back to the Bar", Jon learns that the bar has undergone remodeling, and although he sees no improvements in the quality of the bar's music or sales, Matt shows promise by removing a regular who was acting inappropriately towards a female spy.

Return to Second Base[edit]

The second walkout occurred in the Season 4 episode "Second Base, Third Strike", which began as a planned re-rescue of the baseball-themed Second Base in Orange, California (previously seen in the episode "Bikini Bust", when it was called Extremes Sports Bar). Jon learns that Terry, the owner, constantly replaces bartenders with new ones without interviewing them first, reversed Taffer's change to the menu, and instead of investing his money in the tools that his staff need to run the bar, put it into a different, allegedly more successful newer bar. Despite seeking re-rescue by Taffer, Terry ignores his criticism, and badmouths Taffer and his expert consultant, Lisamarie Joyce. After what Taffer calls one of the worst stress tests he has ever seen, Taffer offers to re-model the bar for Terry, but only if Terry pays for 30% of its cost. After Terry refuses, now claiming that his new bar is really just paying his bills and that he isn’t saving any money from it, Taffer calls Terry a slime bucket and leaves. Though he expresses disappointment at the ruin of one the best bar concepts he had ever designed, he states that he will help the staff find new jobs.[citation needed]

Black Light District[edit]

The third walkout occurs at the punk rock-themed Black Light District in Long Beach, California in the Season 4 episode "Drunk on Punk". Owner Dave refuses to accept any changes to the building, drink menu, or music choice, saying that playing anything other than punk rock would be "selling out". He insults Taffer, his mixologist Phil Wills for his fruit-based drinks, and any customer who criticizes the music. This includes Vandals bassist Joe Escalante, who acts as a recon spy, for pointing out that as much as Escalante himself loves punk rock, it is a specialized genre unlikely to keep a bar in business. Although Dave is open to the idea of adding a kitchen the bar, Taffer does not find this to be sensible, given the establishment's lack of cleanliness, and the results of the stress test. Dave ultimately tells Taffer to leave, much to the dismay of the staff, to which Taffer complies.

Legal issues[edit]


Jon and Nicole Taffer, along with the show's production company Bongo LLC, have been sued by Dr. Paul T. Wilkes from Bar 702 (formerly Sand Dollar). In episode "Don't Mess with Taffer's Wife", Wilkes is shown to hit on Nicole, and Jon yells at him in retaliation. However, Wilkes stated that the producers ordered him to be sleazy and make offensive comments on women, and texted him to "Hit on Mrs. Taffer hardcore!!" After Wilkes did so, Wilkes states that Taffer called the control room to tell them to have a drink near the spot where he intended to confront 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." According to Wilkes, Taffer came in to confront him and showed him footage of his audition tapes, in which he insulted the way Taffer dressed. Taffer then physically assaulted Wilkes, leading to a scuffle, resulting in a hyperventilating Taffer collapsing onto the floor. Wilkes stated that he suffered from emotional distress and symptoms such as migraines, nausea, vomiting, night terrors, crying spells, severe depression, and anxiety attacks as a result of the confrontation.[24][25] As of August 11, 2017, the case was dismissed with prejudice at the request of Dr. Wilkes after it settled in arbitration for a confidential amount.[citation needed]

Nashville rescue/Wayne Mills murder[edit]

During the taping for season 3, Taffer visited BoondoxXx BBQ & Juke Joint in Nashville, Tennessee and worked with owner Chris Ferrell, who was noted for having a hot temper. The rescued bar was renamed Pit & Barrel and the episode featuring the bar was to air on November 24, 2013, but on the night before the episode was supposed to air, Ferrell was arrested by Nashville police for shooting and killing country singer Wayne Mills during an argument inside the remodeled Pit & Barrel. Spike immediately pulled the episode from its originally scheduled premiere slot but did not remove the episode completely, so the regularly scheduled encore presentation of the episode, which aired in the early morning hours of November 25, accidentally served as the premiere and the network drew criticism for the error in light of the circumstances. Since the accidental airing however, the episode has not officially re-aired on Spike; it was only available on file-sharing websites for a short time afterward.[citation needed]

Ferrell stood trial for the murder of Mills and asserted he acted in self-defense, claiming that Mills had violated the bar's nonsmoking rule and had threatened to kill him with a broken beer bottle. The jury convicted Ferrell of second-degree murder in March 2015 after a long-delayed trial,[26] and he was given a 20-year sentence without the possibility of parole. The verdict and sentence are being appealed.[27]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110July 17, 2011 (2011-07-17)September 25, 2011 (2011-09-25)
210July 29, 2012 (2012-07-29)September 30, 2012 (2012-09-30)
340February 10, 2013 (2013-02-10)May 4, 2014 (2014-05-04)
458October 5, 2014 (2014-10-05)July 31, 2016 (2016-07-31)
531August 7, 2016 (2016-08-07)September 17, 2017 (2017-09-17)
6TBAMarch 11, 2018 (2018-03-11)[28]TBA

As of 6 June 2019, Season 6 has aired 37 episodes.


On May 2, 2019, it was announced that a spin-off series titled Marriage Rescue would premiere on June 2, 2019.[1]

International broadcast[edit]

In the UK, the show airs on 5*, starting from January 8, 2014. It has since moved to the British Spike Channel since Viacom acquired Channel 5 UK. It's also aired in The Netherlands on Spike. In Sweden Bar Rescue is shown daily on TV12 and TV4 Fakta XL. In Italy the show is called "Bar da incubo" (Nightmare Bar). It is shown daily on Cielo tv and Italy Spike Channel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Paramount Network Expands "Rescue" Franchise Starring Jon Taffer". The Futon Critic. May 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Taffer Dynamics
  3. ^ Spike's Bar Rescue is Casting for Season 3 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "All the Bar Rescue Updates". Bar Rescue Updates. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "Spike Orders Two New Reality Series". Broadcasting & Cable. January 31, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  6. ^ "Picks Up "Bar Rescue" for a Second Round". SPIKE. September 14, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  7. ^ "'Bar Rescue' Renewed by Spike for Fourth Season – Ratings". May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  8. ^ "Facebook - Log In or Sign Up". Facebook.
  9. ^ "'Bar Rescue' Returns Sunday, June 21 on Spike TV". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  10. ^ "Jon Taffer". Facebook. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  11. ^ "Spike Press Release – Spike Backs "Bar" Business and Star Jon Taffer". Spike Press Center. July 27, 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Jessica Pena (February 23, 2018). "Bar Rescue: Season Six Coming to Paramount Network". Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  13. ^ @irishcentral (July 15, 2011). "Officially, we now name the worst Irish pub in America". Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  14. ^ Nicole Mooradian (March 6, 2012). "Despite 'Bar Rescue,' Breakwall Closes". Redondo Beach Patch. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  15. ^ "Say So Long to Swanky Bubbles". Grub Street Philadelphia. November 21, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Bar Rescue: Back to the Bar, aired 5 April 2015
  18. ^ Clapper, Bill (July 16, 2011). "The Chicken Bone, Angry Ham's Opt To Keep Original Names". Framingham Post. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  19. ^ Bar Rescue, "Taffer's Top 10: Toughest Rescues", airdate June 29, 2014
  20. ^ "The Brixton Takes Off As Rocket Room 6 | Nightclub & Bar". March 3, 2013. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "The Brixton (@The_Brixton) op Twitter". Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  22. ^ "Bar Rescue" goes bad: Work permits were not obtained "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ Bennett, Sarah (April 2, 2015). "L.A. Brew Co. Is for Sale After Most Expensive Failed Bar Rescue In History". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  24. ^ "Is Bar Rescue Fake? Lawsuit Says So". Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  25. ^ "Bar Rescue Lawsuit" (PDF). Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  26. ^ "Jury finds bar owner guilty of second degree murder in Wayne Mills' death".
  27. ^
  28. ^ Jessica Pena (February 23, 2018). "Bar Rescue: Season Six Coming to Paramount Network". Retrieved March 11, 2018.

External links[edit]