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Bar Rescue: Pirate Bar episode
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 541
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2012-07-31 11:22 am   Permalink

Caught the season opener of Bar Rescue and just had to see what people on TC thought of it. The gist is that there is a pirate-themed bar in Silver Springs, MD that is failing -- primarily because the operators are idiots -- and it's up the Jon Taffer -- who is also an idiot, but just not as much of an idiot as the owners -- to save it. He completely dismisses the idea of a pirate bar and turns it into probably the worst kind of bar my wife and I can even imagine: The Corporate Bar. Because nothing is more appealing to people stuck in cubicle hell all day then the thought of relaxing and unwinding in the friendly confines of The Corporate Bar! He also installs some kind of weird automatic cocktail-making machine in the front bar (because who doesn't want their cocktail to be made by a machine). He also has them using some kind of commercially-bought ice balls. He babbles on about the impurities in water f***ing up drinks, which I guess is news to me and all of those other great places that make cocktails without using one of his sponsor's product. And that's what any struggling bar needs is to have to buy all their ice from a vendor!

He also seems to think that lunch traffic is going to be the savior of the bar, not realizing that most people in that kind of office environment don't have an hour plus for lunch each day.

I would have loved to have Martin Cate to walk in and have Jon explain to him how it's impossible for a place like Smuggler's Cove to be successful.

Anyway, I kept thinking that in most people's minds, it's not a large leap to go from pirate to tiki and I kept recalling all the threads we've seen on TC over the years of people thinking of opening a tiki bar in their area. I have to wonder how prevalent Taffer's mindset is throughout the industry and how that might play into trying to open a tiki bar.

Anybody here have any thoughts on the subject?

And a preview here:


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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2617
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2012-07-31 11:43 am   Permalink


On 2012-07-31 11:22, TikiHardBop wrote:
and it's up the Jon Taffer -- who is also an idiot, but just not as much of an idiot as the owners -- to save it.

I agree, he's probably the most obnoxious person on TV at the moment. I couldn't finish the episode as it was too uncomfortable. I watched it last season and liked it a little more but in the end it's one of those shows like "Extreme Home Makeover" where they're like "Here's a big screen TV! All your problems are solved." then they lose their house but on Bar Rescue it's "Here's a new sink and a Chicken Wing recipe, now you should be rich in no time."

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5311
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2012-07-31 12:12 pm   Permalink

Hey, thanks for giving us a new place to rant!

I was a bit attracted to this show for the very reason that the host is so unlikely. This is cable TV and all hosts are supposed to be if not pretty or handsome, affable and cute. This guy is not. Ugly actually. Which means that when he is a jerk, it isn't like the other shows where you cut him slack cuz he is cute. And he isn't all nice and sweet. And thank god he doesn't have a Joker smile tattoeed onto his face!

He does seem to be pretty narrow. Everything is pretty close to the same. And yes, a machine is a great idea to this guy to keep costs down. I mean, a machine can make the drinks better than people when it is a Jack and Ginger. Ice? Make a drink bad? No, bartenders do that with something called Midori!

I assumed he's trash the place rather than get the theme perfected and fix the management. Oh well.

Needs more ferns!

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Bruddah Bear
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2011
Posts: 629
From: Los Angeles Basin, Westside
Posted: 2012-07-31 5:00 pm   Permalink

And what are you willing to bet that the show participation contract has a clause that states you won't sue the host, production company, or sponsors should your business go belly up due to their makeover?

While I usually watch such makeover shows I'm constantly thinking to myself "That's a really stupid idea" and "Wow, that's incredibly ugly."


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Trader Tom
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 26, 2006
Posts: 898
From: West Hills, CA
Posted: 2012-07-31 8:12 pm   Permalink

CAUTION: Reviews have spoilers on changes after show...


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 541
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2012-08-01 10:21 am   Permalink

Generally, the places selected by these shows are complete disasters to begin with so they can get maximum effect during "the reveal". It would not really be riveting TV to end a show with: "Well, your female clientele is up 35% and I've increased your weekday lunch traffic by %15, so we're a success!" And I've never seen this guy (and most "experts") offer much beyond the "no-shit-Sherlock" level of advice. I keep thinking that most of these shows would go away if potential businesses followed these rules first:

1. Cut the 500 item food/bar menu down to one or two pages.
2. Clean everything - front and back!
3. Count the number of things on your wall. Divide that number in half. That's how many things should be on your wall.
4. A gallon of paint does wonders!
5. Your food and cocktails suck! Trust me, they suck. Find a place with a similar focus and clientele that is doing well and go there and notice what they *are* doing that you *aren't* doing and start doing that.
6. Spell my name correctly on the check for my consultant's fee!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2004
Posts: 1961
From: North Coast/ DEAD
Posted: 2012-08-01 11:44 am   Permalink

Here, write this down ,so you do not forget;
knowing this,you WILL sleep better tonight,......
your welcome.
"Pets are welcome,Children 'MUST' be on leash" TD

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 541
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2012-08-01 12:02 pm   Permalink

I've had enough run ins with reality TV to be well aware of that! But if you look at the credits, Jon Taffer is the executive producer, so he decides what makes it on the air. I would think that if I had executive control, I would choose footage that doesn't make me look like a giant ass.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 27, 2004
Posts: 2396
From: So FL
Posted: 2012-08-01 12:31 pm   Permalink

They also did an episode on the Bamboo Beach Tiki Bar here in Ft. Lauderdale. The owner also owns the Ocean Manor hotel - they must have done the Hotel Rescue and Bar Rescue at the same time. The only thing Tiki about this bar are a few cheap imports and the big palapa hut. It is stumbling distance from the Mai Kai!

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Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 4829
Posted: 2012-08-03 09:01 am   Permalink

Thirteen employees in a 28 hundered square feet bar that's going broke!!
Looked like two bartenders on the night the show was there.
In fact they may have had more staff than customers, and it looks like the staff
drinks more than the customers.(How much booze do you think that place gives away each day?)
In Ohio drinking on the job at a bar is a liquor violation, sure it goes on, but I
would have told my staff not to do it on that night.
I would say it's the leadership/staff that makes a place work or not.
Most people are just not cut out for the restaurant/bar biz.
Even a Pirate would not live in his/her moms basement.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 1212
From: Melbourne,Australia
Posted: 2012-08-05 01:32 am   Permalink

I'd never heard of this show until i read this thread, i'm not sure it even plays here, but i had the felling it was going to be just like Gordon Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares but about bars, not restaurants. And i was right, although no matter how much of a wanker Gordon Ramsey can be there is also something about him that makes him some what likeable, that Jon Taffer guy though, WOW, what a complete knob.

I understand and agree that having a theme bar might limit your clientele however the biggest problem with that place was the food and drinks more than anything. What he turned it into was a soulless generic bar like a million others. Even if i was a business man myself there would be no way i would even consider going to a place called 'The Corporate Bar'. You go to a bar to unwind, not somewhere that just seems like an extension of the office.

I agree with TikiHardBop, imagine being a bar owner and told you need to stock commercially-made ice balls. I think you'd tell him to $%#@ off straight away.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 29, 2005
Posts: 140
From: Stockton, CA
Posted: 2012-08-13 10:36 am   Permalink

Caught this episode last night (repeat). Taffer is such a blowhard, and his make-over clients are so brain dead, it does make for some unintentionally laughable situations. Like the restaurant reboot reality shows, most of these people have no business owning a bar, but what amazes me is the potentially damaging publicity these places must receive especially after the show exposes the maggots in the soda gun or the dead rats in the fryer. I'd love to know if these places are still in existence a year or two down the road. BTW, I later caught another episode where one of Taffer's solutions was to train the staff the "art" of flair bartending. Er, how about first training them to make a drink or how not to be a total douchebag to your clientele?

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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 3070
From: Columbus, Ohiya
Posted: 2012-08-13 11:35 am   Permalink

looks like the place is closed already.


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Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3434
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2012-08-13 11:54 am   Permalink

They reverted back to their old ways:


I'm guessing the owner still lives in her parent's basement too...

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 541
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2012-08-13 12:49 pm   Permalink

Yeah, the owners, like most owners on these programs, seem to be uniquely unqualified to run their establishment. The point of my thread, was how Taffer, who makes a living as an "expert" made a bunch of bone-head decisions as well. I thought it was interesting that he dismissed the pirate theme as unworkable from the outset. And I know that we on TC know differently, but I just have to wonder how this bias among industry "insiders" may group "pirate" with "tiki" and feel that this may be unworkable as well.

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