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YMMV / Bar Rescue

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  • Archive Panic: The first two seasons had ten episodes apiece but Season 3 had 40 episodes and 4 had 58. You have some catching up to do.
  • Broken Base: A few of the bar changes can cause mixed reactions amongst both fans of the show and customers who visit the bars. Put simply, there will always be long time customers who don't always like the change of something familiar.
    • Piratz Tavern/Corporate Bar & Grill is the chief example. On one side, you have the people saying that Jon Taffer was right to chew out the staff as acting childish and too much rebels against normal society, wanting to live out a fantasy for a bar better suited for an ocean location or Renaissance Festival. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the view that Taffer was overly critical and insulting of them, causing them to become defensive to every single change instead of just correcting what needed to change (food, drink making, staff, and maybe a few tweaks to the theme) and was more interested in making an example out of the staff. The fact that the Piratz staff posted a video on YouTube of them burning down the Corporate Bar & Grill sign and singing about killing Taffer certainly didn't do anything to disprove his claims of them being childish and immature. This becomes more apparent given that that A. Maryland, being a Mid-Atlantic state with the Chesapeake Bay within an hour's drive of Silver Spring, wouldn't be entirely out of place for a nautical themed bar and B. Years after the change, they're still in business despite changing back to Piratz. However, C. Piratz struggled for years, forcing the owner (along with her husband and teenage daughter) to move into her parents' basement and D. a follow-up in 2015 showed, among other things, their menu had one seafood item and they were still struggling to get by while leaving a market untapped and ends with the owner asking Taffer to give them a second chance, which undermines the point somewhat. Finally there's E. there's the fact that Piratz Tavern ultimately walked the plank in April 2015 and has closed its doors for good.
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    • Taffer and the show in general starting with the 2013-2014 season. Later episodes have lapsed somewhat on the bar science aspect, and seems to be playing up the conflicts more, not to mention Taffer's Large Ham entrances yelling at the owner after his undercover customers discover some disgusting or under performing aspect about the bar, especially for fans of Kitchen Nightmares who are more familiar with Gordon Ramsay's preference of going into a restaurant first, and sampling things for himself.
  • Critical Research Failure: As noted under Bittersweet Ending, some of the bars featured have gotten into some varying degrees of trouble with local laws over permits and other issues, due to someone on the Bar Rescue remodeling staff not doing the research or paying for the permits.
    • Piratz Tavern claims one of the reasons they got rid of the self serve beer tables they were given was because the county of Maryland they're in does not permit them in bars.
    • The Handlebar Cafe (renamed Handlebar Bar and Grill) had to get rid of the large motorcycle Handlebars mounted on the roof due to a safety concern by the local town. They also were faced with fines if they didn't pay for a permit for the painted mural on the side of their building from Bar Rescue. According to the town of Stonington, Connecticut, where Handlebar resides, the name painted as part of the mural counts as a sign, therefore also required a permit.
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    • Oasis Hookah Bar (renamed Taza Nightclub), converted from a hookah smoking bar to a full fledged nightclub as part of its rescue. Unfortunately, what someone apparently forgot was that in Omaha, Nebraska, a smoking bar permit is only valid for a bar that also allows/serves smokes as well as drinks, and the rescue involved getting rid of the hookahs. Thankfully, John, the hookah expert that appeared for the first half of the episode, helped Taza get set up with new equipment and supplies. As such, Taza has combined its name with the old Oasis name to let everyone know they brought back the hookahs.
    • MT Bottle (renamed Bottles & Cans) received their liquor license during the rescue courtesy of Taffer paying for it out of his own pocket. On the "Back to the Bar" episode that revisited them, it was revealed that their liquor license was revoked just weeks after the rescue due to the bar being 330 feet outside the city limits.
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    • The ultimate disaster of the research failure that ends with a Downer Ending thus far is Rocky Point Cantina (renamed during the show to Havana Cabana). When the town of Tempe, Arizona, found out the external remodel and repainting courtesy of the rescue had failed to file correct permits, the town examined its records and found that Rocky Point Cantina had also failed to maintain its other permits in proper order, coupled with a number of complaints from nearby homes and businesses about the noise from the metal rock concerts it was holding (which was also another permit they failed to obtain). It went downhill from there, eventually leading to the location closing in August 2013.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: This actually occurred briefly once after the redesign. Most notably, Gina, the co-owner of MT Bottle/Bottles & Cans, hated that the bar was remodeled to embrace the redneck country feel it had (Taffer liked some of the "redneck ingenuity" additions that her husband, Tracy, had made to aid in things such as disposing of empty beer bottles, and ran with it). She wanted a more upscale style place, and took a while for her to accept and embrace the changes.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lisamarie Joyce and Mia Mastroianni, two of the expert mixologists.
  • Nausea Fuel: Easily rival's Kitchen Nightmares in terms of disgusting work environments. Two bar's in particular that stood out were Headhunters(which was so thoroughly infested with cockroaches that exterminators had to be called in) and Fairways(whose kitchen was so filthy that mushrooms were growing in the freezer).
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The below-mentioned "Headhunters." When the exterminator went through and showed the owner's (unpaid) employees just how much filth they had been working in for the past few years, they were all visibly disturbed. Before that, there was the live performance by the band "Miscarriage," which horrified and offended pretty much all who witnessed it. note 
    • "Fairways" kitchen was even more horrifying with thick mold and mushrooms in the freezers. Taffer and the others were worried that it was black mold (which can be fatal). Thankfully, it wasn't.
    • It's disturbing how often the bars have awful hygiene, and it's not always immediately obvious. For example, Swanky Bubbles always cleaned the surfaces of the bar and kitchen, but never cleaned inside the refrigerator, oven or dish washer. Makes you wonder how clean your favorite bars and restaurants are.
    • Matthew Overmyer, co-owner of the infamous "O Face" bar, puts everyone else to shame. He was arrested for sexual assault and will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.
    • Chris Ferrell, the owner of the re-christened "Pit and Barrel" in Nashville was arrested after he shot and killed country singer Wayne Mills during a dispute just months after the bar's relaunch. Unsurprisingly, that episode can only be found online and has never aired on public television. The bar itself has since been demolished.
  • Squick:
    • While a number of bars have their hygiene issues, "Headhunters" was just plain unsanitary. From cockroaches ending up in the liquor bottles to mold in the ceiling, almost every inch of the place was enough to get the entire place shut down by any public health authority on the planet.
    • The kitchen at "Fairways" was unbelievably disgusting, so much so that it makes the ones on Kitchen Nightmares look downright sanitary by comparison (the health inspector with 14 years experience that Taffer brought along said it was the worst kitchen he had ever seen). Every inch of the place was covered in sort of dirt, grease, slime, etc. But the worst was the walk-in freezers. One had such bad mold that Taffer and the others started coughing as soon as they entered, and the other freezer had mushrooms growing out of the wall. note 
    • Taffer and his experts started to notice foul odors as soon as they walked into the kitchen at O'Banion's Bar & Grill. The smell was coming from the grease trap, which hadn't been cleaned out in years and was now full of sludgy, rancid, decomposing cooking oil. Even the Roto-Rooter guys Taffer called in to clean it out were amazed by how disgusting that trap had become.
    • The Martini Brothers/Federal episode featured a landlord who kept a bag of food grade crickets in the kitchen's refrigerator and ate them by the handful.
  • Tear Jerker: Some of the where are they now epilogues if the bar continues to fail or closes down after Taffer leaves.
    • Gipsy/SBLV. The owner walked out before the relaunch and closed it for good two days after filming.
    • O Face and its questionable practices, particularly the only two sensible employees being treated like shit by the rest of the staff. The manager who attacked a bartender kept her job and the bartender was fired instead because the owners felt she had it coming. O Face's owners likely suffered Laser-Guided Karma, because the town government was so embarrassed by the fiasco O Face's episode became that they declined to renew O Face's liquor licence.
    • One of the owners of the Toucan Oceanside Bar and Grill lost his only child and his resulting grief ended up hurting the business. Even Taffer was brought to tears when he learned about his situation.
    • Big Mike's Sports Bar & Grill in Denham Springs, LA. Taffer was also brought to tears when the owners of the bar told him about the devastation the flood left behind.
    • The owner of Libad's closed down his kitchen in memory of his nephew who had hung himself.
    • The brothers who own Rhythm And Brews had it rough. Eric lost his car and had his house foreclosed twice because of how little money they were making, Steve had to pick up a second job to stay afloat and Stu was outright homeless. Particularly touching was the scene where he shows their father the couch he sleeps on in the basement of the bar. He proceeds to tear it up while Taffer eggs him on and vows to never spend another night on that couch.
      • In the comments, Stu reveals that their father died shortly after the episode aired. He leaves several comments stating that he misses his dad and that he still watches the clip mentioned above sometimes, thinking about how low he was and how far he's come. I'm not crying, you're crying. [1]
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: In about half the episodes, owners or staff have this reaction at first to Taffer's plans, especially when it comes to name or theme changes. In the end, however, most of them are happy to agree with most of Taffer's changes and agree that things are a lot better now.
    • Piratz Tavern. The staff and (especially) the owner resisted Taffer's proposed changes throughout the episode. By the end of the episode, the owner started to sabotage the relaunch despite the very positive reception it was receiving. It got to the point where she flat out told some of the customers that she hated the change. This would slowly affected the other staff members as well. When Taffer confronted her, she told him that she was still unsure if she would accept the changes. As it happened, she changed the bar back to its old style at the first possible opportunity.
    • Gipsy/SBLV's owner Paul. He hated the changes so much, he left before the relaunch, came back two days later after filming, and shut the place down.
    • Subverted with Kris, one of the co-owners of The Underworld, a Halloween/horror-themed bar. He had this reaction at first when he saw that the name and the design of the front of the bar was going to be replaced and was about to read Taffer the riot act. The second Taffer tells Kris that they are becoming a Zombie Apocalypse themed bar named The End, his face lights up like a kid on Christmas morning who just got his most favorite gift.
    • Another subversion occurred with Oasis Hookah Bar. Taffer originally told the owner and staff that a hookah bar would not thrive because of the location and market. There was initial resistance to the idea, but the owner and staff decided to give the new idea a shot when Taffer said he was going to relaunch the place as Moroccan-style nightclub called Taza. The owner's and staff's reactions were very positive when Taffer unveiled the new bar.
    • A number of bars haven't quite agreed with the name changes only, and either revert back to the old name or combine the old and new names together. Otherwise, they keep every other change Taffer has given and taught them.
    • Lonie, owner of the Underground Wonder Bar, clearly did not like her bar being overhauled and remodeled to fit in with its location on Chicago's upscale River North neighborhood. She seemed to be coming around once she got inside and during the reopening, but the epilogue showed that she changed the name back just as soon as Taffer was gone (in violation of a contract she and her son had signed, no less).
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: One of the issues that pops up from time to time on the show and crossing over into Wrong Genre Savvy. Bars may be part of the overall restaurant industry, but your clientele is much more narrowly focused to adults and serving primarily drinks. Yet whether out of misguided decorating ideas, or intentionally trying to also double as a family restaurant, some owners forget this.
    • Blue Frog, pre-remodel and rename to The Local, had the owner's mother make a rather poor attempt at going for a classic American look (Similar to say a Cracker Barrel family restaurant). Having a bunch of children's games plastered all over the bar doesn't say to people "Hey come in for beers and cocktails!"
    • Piratz Tavern, given the dressing up as pirates by the staff could be mistaken at being aimed at families with young children to a certain degree (though it's apparent that they've gone about trying to avert this, since changing back to Piratz from the Rescue's redesign as Corporate Bar and Lounge).
    • On a similar note, Characters Quarters (renamed and redesigned to Moonrunners Saloon), with the cartoonish theme and lettering on the outside. It could have been mistaken for a children's party center or a costume shop.
    • The Chicken Bone was flat out pointed out in the episode about the fact that it came way too much off as a family restaurant when there were actual family restaurants nearby. They were renamed to simply "The Bone" to try and help differentiate the location, but went back to The Chicken Bone. They shut down in 2014.
  • The Woobie: Syck and Cerissa, the bouncer and bartender from O'Face were the only remotely functional staff members, and boy howdy did they suffer for it. Cerissa was physically assaulted by the drunken manager, and then immediately fired because the owners told her to her face she deserved it. Syck was the only voice of reason throughout the entire proceedings, and had the misfortune of hearing the rest of the staff talk smack about him behind his back. Syck was fired not long after filming, and the owners re-hired the abusive manager that Taffer forced them to fire. Jon himself admitted he felt really bad for the two Only Sane Employees.
    • The staff from Metal and Lace (formerly Headhunters) Bar also deserves a mention. They were working for an owner who has his head far up his ass that he still did not pay his employees after the show ended, and then they were put out of the job after the bar closed.
    • The owners of Rhythm And Brews: they get abused by a Jerkass biker gang, one of them had his house forclosed twice and lost his car because of the failing business, one was straight up homeless and slept on a couch in the basement of the bar and the last had to pick up a second job in telecommunications to survive.


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