Bar Rescue Miscues: Bars That Taffer Couldn’t Save

bar rescue fail

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Bar Rescue or Bar Fail?

Spike TV’s Bar Rescue premiered in 2011 and has become a bit of an obsession to anyone that has stumbled across it. The premise is simple enough: long time food and beverage industry consultant Jon Taffer does his best to transform failing trashy bars into slightly more successful trashy bars, all while dealing with less than cooperative owners of the establishments.  Taffer claims he’s a student of “bar science” and that he can turn any business around.

Yet not all of the bars on Bar Rescue ultimately get saved.

So far to date in 3 seasons 60 bars have been ‘rescued’. Of those 60, 14 have closed and 13 had either changed the rebranded name back or altered it again.  Going through every season of the hit Spike TV show, we’ve found Taffer’s failures. Not even the man with a Doctorate in what he calls “Bar Science”, the man who is “in the Nightclub Hall of Fame”, and the man who “invented NFL Sunday Ticket”, could save every bar. Here are his Bar Rescue Fails, the ones that Taffer couldn’t save.


In season one, Taffer visited and rescued ten bars.  Two of those bars ended up closing, and one other is struggling.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #1: Swanky Bubbles


Swanky Bubbles in Philadelphia was remade as Sheer Philly in season one.  Within months of Swanky Bubbles getting “rescued” it was closed down. Actually they changed the name back to Swanky Bubbles almost immediately once Taffer was gone. Philly has lost its premier champagne bar and now they don’t know what to do with themselves.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #2: Killkenny’s Irish Pub


Kilkenny’s Irish Pub in California was mismanaged straight to hell and Taffer did his best but couldn’t get it done. The pub got a whole new look, and a new name– Breakwall.  But the mismanagement of the sisters who ran the place couldn’t be overcome. It didn’t help that from the look of the episode they both seemed to be sleeping with their bar manager. Taffer fixed the bar, but what he really needed to do here was fix the people.

On The Bubble for Season One:  The Chicken Bone renamed The Bone in Framingham, MA remain open but struggling.  They reduced their hours and closed for summertime, and word on the street is that The Framingham Health Department inspector ordered The Chicken Bone to toss all of its food and identified more than a dozen violations that posed an imminent health hazard.





Out of the 10 bars that ended up being featured on season two, four closed, and two others went back to their old lumpy selves.

BAR RESCUE FAIL #3: Win Place or Show

america live

 Win, Place or Show in Fairfield Ohio got its name changed to the god awful “America Live!” and lasted 2 and a half months after that. Their landlord locked them out of the bar and a bunch of drama surrounded the bars closing and taping of Bar Rescue, with allegations that partners were selling off their pieces of the business before the show ever taped. Nevertheless, John Taffer should have realized no one would ever want to get drunk at someplace called “America Live!”.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #4:  Weber’s Place


Weber’s Place was a strip club turned music club in Reseda California that Taffer attempted to work his charms on. Taffer turned it into Weber’s Rum Bar and Grill.  A year after he worked his magic, it was done. Taffer stopped the musical performances but if the Yelp reviews are to be believed, the bar went back to its old ways. It didn’t help that the owner let his staff steal from him, which no one can fix in three days time.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #5: Mystique Lounge


Mystique Lounge attracted a bad crowd in West Palm Beach Florida, which ended up turning into shootings outside the club. John Taffer came in to clean the place up and get the right clientele in there. He did not succeed. He had one night where bottle service wasn’t a train wreck but once he skipped town, the newly minted Aura Nightclub didn’t last much longer.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #6: JA Murphy’s


Taffer couldn’t do it again. Season two proved to be a tough one for him. This fourth bar, JA Murphy’s in Fells Point, Baltimore, went down just under a few months after its rescue. It seemed too little too late for the bar to succeed and the owners were forced to shut it down. Rumor has it that there was also structural damage to the site that simply couldn’t be fixed in 36 hours with a bunch of seemingly crystal meth fueled contractors. The newly renamed Murphy’s Law turned out to be yet another soulless bar created by Taffer down the tubes.

REVERTED!  Two of the remaining season two bars went back to their original names after Taffer packed up and left town. Rocks went back to being Rocks after Power Plant didn’t feel right.  About 24 hours afterTaffer’s team moved out, the newly named Corporate Bar & Grill went back to their old name- Piratz, and went back to the old concept as well.  They even burned the corporate theme in effigy.  Sounds like a big fat fail, John.




8 bars ended up closing and one was sold out of the 40 that were rescued in this marathon season, and another three went back to their old names.

BAR RESCUE FAIL #7: Headhunters

metal and lace

Taffer dubbed Headhunters in Austin Texas the worst bar in America and it lived up to it with it being infested with roaches and employees who were literally paid nothing. He turned it into a Steampunk bar renamed Metal and Lace, for some reason because who doesn’t love Victorian era science fiction in Austin? The awful owner eventually closed the bar finally freeing his employees. They never really embraced their new name or gimmick. Steampunk died in Austin the day Headhunters went under.

BAR RESCUE FAIL #8: Sand Dollar

sand dollar

The owners of Sand Dollar (renamed Bar 702) sold off the Las Vegas Nevada bar in May, 2014. This episode also got Taffer in trouble by generating a law suit against him and the show. They went after him for the way they were made to be seen on television with set up confrontations, making the bar seem worse than it was. Oh, Jon Taffer, will you ever learn?



Gipsy was another Vegas bar.  Taffer re-envisioned it as SBLV but the bar didn’t even make it to the end credits of the show. The owner refused to show up on the opening night of the club and he never reopened the bar after Bar Rescue left. He gutted the place, and planned to renovate and re-open the bar but it never happened. The show portrayed him as a psychotic, abusive, drunk, gay, man. Was it true? Only his out of work bartenders know for sure.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #10 Marley’s on the Beach


Marley’s on the Beach was a failing bar on the water in Warwick Rhode Island that turned into a complete failure after Taffer decided to turn it into a Caribbean Tiki themed restaurant/bar named Michelle’s Beach Club. His reasoning? There wasn’t any Caribbean food in the neighborhood. That makes total sense. Especially since it shut down 2 months after Taffer was gone.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #11 Havana Cabana

havana cabanna

The genius bar owner behind the Rocky Point Cantina thought heavy metal would bring in the college kid crowd in Tempe Arizona. Sadly, it did not despite its new rhyme-y name, Havana Cabana. Taffers idea? Cuban food with Havana Cabana. What college student in Arizona doesn’t love classic Cuban cuisine. That did not sit well. On top of that the city hammered the establishment for not adhering to building codes with all the renovations.

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #12 Alibi Casino

the garnet lounge

Taffer’s bar science experiment at this Vegas haunt led him to think a cougar bar is just what that town needed. After 20 years in business, the Alibi Casino, reinvented as The Garnet Lounge died two months after Bar Rescue visited. Now where will the cougars get drunk and play video poker?

 BAR RESCUE FAIL #13 South Park Bar & Grill


The South Park Bar & Grill in Montclair New Jersey was originally the pilot for Bar Rescue and was finally aired this past season. The bar, was a train wreck, with the town itself not wanting to give them their liquor license back after they lost it.  Guess The V Bar never had a chance.  They got busted for illegal drug use on the premises among other things. The best thing Taffer could have done was wipe this place out with a bulldozer.

BAR RESCUE FAIL #14 Cashmere

dual ultra nightclub

This episode is best known for the insane, drunk, over compensating bar manager of a bar named Cashmere, who got hammered constantly and kept screaming his catch phrase “all in”. The Raleigh North Carolina bar got renamed Dual Ultra Nightclub and ended up closing in May, 2014. They blamed Taffer for not understanding the demo of the town they were in, which they say put the nail in their coffin. Listen, Taffer knows bar science, these people knew how to run a business into the ground. Who would you blame?

NAME DROPS:  TJ Quills was given the exciting new name The Annex, but reverted right back to TJ Quills.  The Brixton got a makeover to become Rocket Room 6 in Austin Texas, and is a success story but they did drop the Rocket Room silliness in favor of their original name.  Same story for Denver bar, Zanzibar, who were happy with their makeover, but not the new name, Solids and Stripes.


 Coming Soon


An all new Season Four is already underway on SPIKE TV. New episodes air every Sunday at 9 pm et.  Go to for more information.


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  1. youfuckinguys

    October 13, 2014 at 8:56 am

    This reeks of Shelby.

  2. kevgret

    October 13, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    So out of 60 bars he tried to rescue 14 closed?  Thats a 76.6% success rate… I wouldnt consider that too bad.

  3. YotaruVegeta

    October 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    The ones that closed were doomed anyway. Some of them said that they had months or weeks left until closing. Nobody could save them, unless they paid off their debts. Then you have the ones that were horribly managed. Taffer’s done more good with his show than bad.

  4. FrancisStevens

    October 13, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    YotaruVegeta Yeah but the guy claims he can save anything.  And I’ll bet you that 76% of those bars would have stayed open whether he showed up or not.  Seems like he added 0.

  5. Imdavid

    October 13, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    anyway we could get Taffer to work on some high profile shows on the Sirius platform?

  6. nullzero00

    October 14, 2014 at 4:21 am

    Imdavid Instead of OutQ, it could be “In the Closet”

  7. nullzero00

    October 14, 2014 at 4:21 am

    @youfuckinguys all it needs is a useless SNL link

  8. VictoriaLandeira

    December 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    The Gipsy guy was out of his mind, people in that state shouldn’t be in charge of a bar or any other business…


    February 3, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    That’s actually pretty phenomenal. Especially when you compare Kitchen Nightmare’s success rate to Bar Rescue, you realize Gordon Ramsey is a colossal failure. Taffer has repaired families and changed many lives; Ramsey just bullies people, gives them shit and leaves.

  10. KT_HUTCH

    February 5, 2015 at 11:53 am

    J.A. Murphy’s closed because the owners went back to their old ways of not stocking the bar and kitchen, and looked into selling but were closed down first for not paying any of the bills.  The structural issues were completely fixed thanks to Bar Rescue, even though that should have been the owner of the building’s responsibility.  Jon Taffer tried!  .. but in 5 days, or 10, in our case, you can’t change owners who are just not meant to be great business owners.

    When we closed, I was talking to Jon and he said that he can usually tell by the time he leaves a bar if they will succeed or fail.  It’s hard when the employees want it more than the owners.

    If interested, Marka’s bar Dogwatch is still open and doing amazing! And you can catch Rich there behind the bar! 🙂

  11. JayDover

    April 4, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    It seems to me tat most of these failures aren’t Taffers fault. Most of these failures appear to be the owner’s fault. Maybe calling Bar Resque so they don’t have to pay for any changes or upgrades to their bars? Hmmm? And in a great deal of these closings, the owner doesn’t listen or do what Jon Taffer told them to do. Taffer isn’t perfect, but he’s more knowledgeable about the bar business than most, if not all of the owners of these bars. These owners come off as pretty stubborn.

  12. amuz3d

    June 2, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Is it me or does this interrobang staff have something against John Taffer? What’s ludicrous is that he can’t be responsible for bad management, bad owners and poor employees and work ethic. Maybe this staff should own or run businesses before slamming this guy.

  13. ChristopherPaul1

    June 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I agree with some of the other comments. These people seem to have an issue with Taffer. Per their logic almost all teachers in the world are failures as I am sure not 100% of every teacher’s students become successful in life. All he can do is provide the tools and the knowledge, if the owners are too ignorant or proud to follow, that is their fault. This article is another great example of people letting their personal opinions skewer their professionalism in writing. Guess the motto is true, can’t believe what you read on the internet.

  14. ChristopherPaul1

    June 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    @FrancisStevens YotaruVegeta If you provide the recipe to make an awesome cake you can sell for millions, but you are too ignorant or proud to use it and instead make your own crappy version that hasn’t been making you money, whose fault is that? I am sure you he can save almost any bar if they choose to follow his instruction and advice, he gives them everything they need including a new bar!!!  You have to be a real moron to screw up something that is designed so you can’t fail unless you choose to. I never ran a bar and I am positive I could be successful if I followed Tapper’s system.

  15. sure22304

    June 8, 2015 at 4:52 am

    These businesses are on their last leg when Bar Rescue comes into the frame. If they fail after receiving an entire upgrade to their bar/club, then the failure is on them…not Bar Rescue. The Gipsy case, I knew he couldn’t save that dude from himself. He’s in need of mental health support. You can’t fix that with a bar upgrade.

  16. TruthTeller702

    June 9, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Taffer is a liar, a thief and a deadbeat. Lots of people would love to see his legs broken for his scummy dealings.

  17. YotaruVegeta

    June 9, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    TruthTeller702 What did he lie about, what did he steal, and what did he abandon, “Truth teller”?

  18. Jay

    June 14, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    YotaruVegeta TruthTeller702  my guess is that this person is affiliated with the Sand Dollar / Bar 702 who is / was suing Taffer.
    I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t like what he does to places on the show – hemay know “bar science” but he doesn’t know the demographics of the areas (unless there is a lot of research and so forth that he does beforehand that they don’t tell us about) or what is the draw (real or the owner’s vision) of the bars in question.
    In the case of the Chicken Bone in Framingham, MA, season 1, the draw was the chicken wings. They had an l-you-can-eat deal on those, that while they sometimes may lose money on individual customers, they would generally make it up with drinks. I went in there after Taffer worked his ways and they no longer did that, or it was super limited time and day wise. Of course, the health department issues don’t help…

  19. jdm2005

    July 21, 2015 at 10:34 am

    truth teller 702 why don’t you back up your loud mouthed retardism with these things called facts, people JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN JUST SAY WHAT YOU WANT! YOU HAVE A RESPONSABILITY TO USE THIS RIGHT RESPONSIBLY, BASELESS, SLANDEROUS ACCUSATIONS ARE NOT A RESPONSIBLE USE OF THIS RIGHT! come on people just because your on the internet doesnt mean the world needs your opinion, go back to facebook where that kinda stupid high school bullshit will fly! 

    oh and before you try to justify yourself truth, remember this no matter what you say or how you justify it I am 100% correct so no matter how educated you are, no matter your age or your position in the social latter you are essentially a high school girl who talks shit on the internet!

  20. bobepainter

    August 2, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    This is bs. I saw most the shows listed here and to me those are owners who couldn’t change. You blame Taffer for the bars going under but they were already going under. I would also say the majority of remakes he did are still running, mostly the ones that stuck to what Taffer did. Maybe there was some extra drama in the TV SHOW but he still does the math and tries to change for the better. I really don’t think he does this to see bars fail. Idiot.

  21. UptownDrain

    August 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    What always amazes me with the show is when they run through the numbers with owners.  When they opened, the bar was crowded and making huge money.  Over time, sales and profits fall by 80-90% and the bartenders are all giving away huge amounts of booze to increase their tips.  They usually show the bar on a night and there are 2-3 people there.  Taffer comes in and works his magic – trains bartenders, fixes the kitchen, puts in inventory controls, etc. . . At the end of the show, they give an update and the bar’s sales are up 10-20% per month.  HTF is it possible that sales only go up by such a small amount?!?!

  22. brother john925

    October 1, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    @jdm2005 Why are you getting so worked up? “remember this no matter what you say or how you justify it I am 100% correct so no matter how educated you are” That is one of the most arrogant sentences I have ever read. Do you idolize the shit out of Taffer or something?
    Fun fact: Taffer’s resume was filled with false information, he did not have any experience in the bar scene before Bar Rescue. I don’t know about a “thief” or a “deadbeat”, but Taffer is certainly a liar.

  23. sheila rhodes

    November 13, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    we dont have a bar but we have a really nice dance hall in a small town we just had to close its a big loss a lot of people out of work, and no place to go we need a make over we lost our parking lot that is why we had to close i run the kitchen, my brother ran the dance hall, we had two live bands, my grandsons worked for me its a big family we all lost our jobs, plese help us.

  24. rhegroup

    December 18, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I certainly can’t say that Jon Tapper is either a genius, or a fool, but what I do know, is that Jesus Christ himself, couldn’t save many of the moron owners from themselves. Obviously, the management didn’t know what they were doing for Jon to be called in the first place, so it’s a uphill battle from jumpstreet. At any rate, I consider the research, demographics, and experience that Taffer brings a plus, and I do feel that the bars are in a better position after he leaves, than prior to his arrival. In far too many cases, the negative financial situation the bars had to begin with, made it way too difficult to surpass, and it’s demise was a foregone conclusion. Reasonably, to expect a high level of success for the bars to continue, isn’t a horse that I would expect to win. With what Jon has to work with, I feel that a success rate of 25%, would be outstanding.

  25. rhegroup

    December 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Truth teller 702, sounds like a repugnican running for president. Facts? Facts? What in the hell do facts have to do with anything? We just make up the “facts” as we go. Facts? We no need no stinkin facts! Hahaha


    February 21, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    brother john925 LMFAO THAT WAS ROBERT IRVINE! Wow, this is like watching the special olympics. No matter how much you guys try, whoever wins is STILL only the smartest kid on the short bus. LOLOLOL. Fun fact – you’re wrong too!

  27. Ablewood9

    February 22, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Wow, percentages even. Sounds like you’ve done some real research!

  28. TripleSLegend

    February 22, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    “Head Hunters” in Season 4 or 3…never had a chance…cock roaches in the liquor bottles…

  29. Ablewood9

    February 22, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Reading through the “fails,” I’m coming up with  something like around 11 failures by owner. The rest, as stated here, were rather vague. Either changing the name and or format back to it’s previous failure. Continuing as they did before the show. On the other hand, a series of code & health department violations, drug issues and one liquor license lost. I’m just not seeing where Taffer or the show had anything to do with those failures? Others, happy with the renovation and not the name change but still, the list is vague about the outcome of those bars. Sounds like a listing meant to trash the show.

    Nearly every show begins with the owner saying he’ll be out of business in a matter of months if something doesn’t change. The way I see it, this was their last chance they were going to fail anyhow. 
    The show did them a favor!

  30. ergonomic mats

    March 23, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Some of them said that they had months or weeks left until closing.
    Nobody could save them, unless they paid off their debts. Then you have
    the ones that were horribly managed. Taffer’s done more good with his
    show than bad.

  31. davemorgantexas

    April 10, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Taffer can transform a neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name, into a soulless corporate monstrosity where you feel about as invited in striking up a conversation with a stranger as you would at TGIF’s, Chili’s, or Bennigan’s.  What he seems to consistently fail to realize, is that some people go to a bar to participate in the experience, not just to be a consumer of the experience.  His creations have all the warmth of “eat your food, drink your drink, then gtfo, rummy.  I have someone else that wants to come in and monetize that bar stool.”

  32. anti fatigue mats

    April 22, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    The Gypsy case, I knew he couldn’t save that dude from himself. He’s in
    need of mental health support. You can’t fix that with a bar upgrade.

  33. KT_HUTCH

    April 27, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    davemorgantexas Can I ask you how you know this?  Did you work at one of the bars that was made over?

  34. Winstonfyre

    June 20, 2016 at 2:41 am

    You called the person replied to a high schooler. That person knows grammar & spelling. You need to school yourself.

  35. guest

    June 24, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    To put things in perspective, these bars were all doomed to close.  So even if only half of these bars were saved, that’s a great success rate.  Bars and restaurants turn over ALL the time.  To go into a place that has owners/managers that are failing, and to somehow get them to keep a bar going, is miraculous.

    He can go in, replace the equipment, help train the staff, clean the place up, but in the end, if the owner goes back to their old ways, then the bar will fail.  And judging from the fact that almost 25% of the owners change the name back shortly after the ‘rescue’, that indicates they probably change a LOT back to their failing mentality.

  36. guest

    June 24, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Also, it should be noted that the silly grades given each season are based on percentage (i.e. 60% = D-).  Considering they are trying to bring a dead bar back to life, an academic grading system is totally irrelevant.  This is just a piece meant to be one of those ‘the truth behind…’, and creating a story where none exists.

  37. PrestonRideout

    August 19, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    You can’t learn to run a bar by watching TV.

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