Back to the Bar: Brick and Barley Above Water
This week on Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer holds my favorite type of episode: the updates. If you watch the Real Housewives of anywhere, this is like their reunion where we learn what really went wrong. Let’s jump right in with Baseline Bar. Remember the mom AJ with the fake blonde hair who objectified her daughter’s breasts with low cut shirts and had the bartenders fight in a spaghetti pit? Can’t imagine why that place was struggling. After the makeover, things were good for a while at the new Brick and Barley. Then it all went to hell.
Taffer sends mixologist Dan back to the bar. For starters, AJ hates the new uniforms. And Mom and daughter Diva still fight in front of the customers. Things got so bad the other daughter Xatia (Sta-shia) quit. Other changes: B&B got rid the new drink menu because their core group is men – and who cares about women, so they got rid of drinks that would appeal to them. Most of the food items implemented by Taffer and his team are gone as well. Dan requests a Moscow Mule to see if they still know how to make one. Dan blames AJ for not doing a better job of marketing the bar to women. The good news is AJ has paid all of her bills. She’s not rolling in the drinks, but she’s not in debt like she used to be. No word if they’be brought back #spaghettigate.
Jon brings out AJ and her daughter, Diva. The bar’s revenue has increased by $4,000 per month and B&B has seen a 30% increase in customers, but the increase in female customers is only 5%. Taffer tells AJ she doesn’t like women. AJ says it’s not true, it’s just not their core, and all women are jealous of her. Taffer explains that bars without women go broke (unless it’s a strip club) and their reputation is not female-friendly. Taffer belittles AJ and Diva for their treatment of women. Taffer warns that B&B will reach a cap with this business plan. AJ says, prepare yourself, the reason women don’t come to their bar is because women are threatened by how beautiful she and her daughters are. And get this, AJ and co would be required to look ugly – and that’s not who they are. The audience groans.
Taffer raises his voice and tells AJ they offend women and they still have their bad reputation as the spaghetti wrestling place that devalues women. I like it when Jon yells. Plus, he is sick to death of hearing about the bad uniforms.
So what happened with the other daughter who quit? Taffer brings out Xatia who has a hug for her sister, but not for mom. Xatia hasn’t been at B&B since the Bar Rescue episode aired. AJ says butting heads is their family dynamics. It’s who they are and what makes them special. AJ tries to speak for Xatia and Taffer tells her to STFU. Xatia says she’s not ashamed of her mother’s bar’s reputation (though she should be), she’s just angered that the bar is more important to her mother than she is. AJ says she loves her daughter, but it’s for the best Xatia doesn’t work at the bar right now.
Here’s the deal with the uniform, according to AJ, it makes them look like walking, talking tomatoes. Taffer says women who wear red receive 20% more in tips, but the ladies’ “special family dynamics” kick in and they become Bickerson’s about the damn shirt. Taffer yells again to STFU. He has a model come out wearing the red shirt. Taffer deems it sexy yet non-offensive. AJ has designed her own shirt. Oh boy! It’s black tank top with B&B on it and a naked girl silhouette in between the two boobs. Everyone laughs. AJ explains they are struggling with their identity after their time on Bar Rescue. AJ says, again, prepare yourself, they’ve gone from being “juvenile delinquents to Christian sorority girls.” No kidding. She really said that. The audience roars with laughter. Taffer says the identity of the bar should be one of respect. AJ says the customers left because of the red shirts. Taffer yells they left because of her.
Next up for the back to the bar update is Ivan the terrible with Friar Tucks. They were $100K in debt, had IRS issues, and Ivan the owner was rude as shit. Ivan says he had to be an asshole, just like Taffer, whose head nearly implodes when dealing with this loser. Plus Ivan’s not paying his employees. The new place is called Stein Haus. Ivan admits to hating Taffer’s guts that first day, but soon liked the changes that were made. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well. The tax man cometh for Ivan the terrible and the bar closed. Here’s the thing, when you don’t pay your taxes you lose your license to serve alcohol. It’s kind of a big deal if you’re a bar. Though Ivan blames everyone else for the closure of the bar. He hasn’t changed one bit, Ivan is still a terrible asshole.
Taffer shows a video clip from Ivan’s ex-manager Sunny who quit a year after Bar Rescue was there. Turns out Ivan pulled a midnight move which is when owners close down in the middle of the night and don’t pay staff, vendors or landlords. In the meantime, Ivan is resting comfortably in one of his two homes, still blaming others for his shortcomings. Taffer says Ivan doesn’t care about his reputation. Ivan says he failed as an owner because of his stupid staff. What an ass!
Taffer plays a sound bite of someone who would only speak on conditions of anonymity with one of those evil, muffled voices. He claimed Ivan skipped out owing money to everyone. Ivan calls that person a liar. Taffer says Ivan isn’t as terrible as he seems (cough bullshit) and makes him promise to reach out to the employees and make things right before he goes to his second home in Big Ben. Ivan says he will, but we all know he won’t.
Tune in next week when Bar Rescue returns with another crazy bar owner who’s in denial that he has know idea what he’s doing.
Missed last week’s Bar Rescue? Check it out here.