Struck Out at the Dugout
This week on Bar Rescue we go to Chicago, Ill, deep in the heart of Cubs territory to a bar called The Dugout – which is reluctantly and shabbily run by Ed. A couple of years ago, Ed had to evict the owners for non-payment and is now stuck running a bar he never wanted. Due to his neglect the bar is falling into disarray. The seats are torn. The bugs are crawling. The floors are crumbling. And the wires are exposed. Ed is $30,000 in debt and losing $5,000 a month, and go figure, Ed’s invention of a shot called the Hot Pussy isn’t winning over the customers. Sounds like we’d all need a good dose of antibiotics after visiting this place.
Jon Taffer to the rescue! He sits outside with his mixologist Phil and chef Ryan to criticize what they see. And what they see in Ed and his main bartender Emily screaming at each other. Another bartender Scarlet explains to a customer they don’t have glassware because things get ratchet in there and they don’t want people throwing it.
Here comes the recon guys who ask about the Hot Pussy and are told it’s made of four bourbons, cinnamon brown sugar and habanero peppers. Jon says this is something you serve at a college bar, not a sports bar. When they ask for a hamburger they are told burgers are only served on game day. The guys order friend mac-and-cheese, and bonus seasoning, there are fruit flies everywhere! Ed is in the kitchen cross contaminating everything so Jon orders Phil and Ryan to go in, shut it down and make sure no one eats. The chef properly ascertains Ed’s I-don’t-give-a-shit level is higher than the grease splattered ceiling. Coward that he is, Ed walks away instead of answering a few question like has he ever cleaned the grease pit.
Here comes Jon! He asks Ed how much money he’s lost and if cleaning the bar might help business. When he’s met with apathy Jon tells the crowd about the disgusting conditions of the kitchen and asks who wants to eat and drink here. Several customers get up to leave. Then Jon throws the fish bowl drink that’s supposed to be a Long Island Iced Tea, if you follow the actual recipe, into the sink.
Jon instructs Ryan to throw out all the food and shut down the kitchen. Emily the bartender is holding back tears and Ed looks bored as hell as he flips Jon off – after Jon walks out of the bar. Ed then goes through the trash, retrieving the “perfectly good food” they tossed out.
The following morning Ed blames the bartenders for the messy bar. His background is numbers, not people. He doesn’t like people and the feeling is mutual. But Jon sees this place as a potential goldmine and hopes Ed, the numbers guy, gets this through his meathead before Jon walks out. Emily confronts Ed and his lazy ways, but he says his job is to keep the doors open while pouring himself a beer. Jon asks why the bartenders stay. Emily says she typically likes the people, just not the owner who hasn’t smiled since 2010. This becomes a thing: get Ed to smile.
Let’s get started with the training. First thing Phil does is toss out the jar of hot pussy. Back in the kitchen, Ryan sees they didn’t do the one thing he asked and that was to clean. Ryan feels talking to Ed is like he’s talking to a wall. No one knows how to clean the fryer and the bartenders have no recipe books and can’t make a complicated drink like the Cape Cod. No kidding. No one knows how to make this two ingredient cocktail – three if you want to get fancy and add a lime. The kitchen will be serving the traditional Chicago style hot dog. Ed doesn’t want to be in the kitchen, isn’t’ impressed with the hot dog, and compares himself to Michael Jordan being pulled in the fourth quarter to serve Gatorade to his teammates.
Bring on the stress test! If only Ed would take it seriously. Makes you wonder why he bothered to write into the show and ask for help. This spot could have gone to another bar. Instead Ed is noisily sucking on the straw of a Cape Cod the staff now knows how to make. Phil warns Ed that Jon may not remodel the bar with his attitude.
The doors open and here comes 200 people. So far, so good, but the wheels soon fall off when Ed takes orders and doesn’t know who gets what. He’s just handing out hot dogs to anyone. Jon announces that even in a packed bar with great customers, Ed won’t smile. Ed is officially deemed “a bummer.” As Ed explains he saves his smiles for special occasions, Jon decides he’s seen enough, shuts it down, and tells the crowd to come back Sunday – so I guess Jon will redecorate. Meanwhile, thus far a special occasion has never occurred for Ed.
The following day, Phil tries to teach the staff how to make drinks in advance and after Ed says it’s a dumb idea, Emily tears up and says that no matter how wonderful they make the bar, it will go back to the way it was. Ed is bored and walks off. Jon says they need to talk, but Ed says he’s all talked out. One of the bartenders quits. Jon explains that he has data, which are numbers you idiot, to back up his success. Ed says point taken and walks out again. Jon tells the remaining staff that because the community knows that Bar Rescue is there, he has to complete the rescue, but recommends they do what’s best for themselves after he leaves.
It’s time for the big reveal and Ed isn’t there because he wasn’t invited. Jon says once he shows the staff the place, he’s out of there because Ed will suck the life out of the bar. The new name is call The Press Box and the ripped awning is replaced with a generic red one – no name. Inside there’s new flooring and paint, and it’s clean, but as far as being a huge transformation, it’s not that big.
Ed stumbles up to the bar and tries to hug Jon, but Jon blocks him and probably wants to clock him. Everyone can smell the alcohol seeping from Ed’s pores. The bartenders all quit and Jon walks off. Ed goes inside and likes the new bar but says any interior designer could have done this. Then Ed get emotions for the first time ever, but they’re confusing him. First Ed tells Jon to eff off, then says he loves Jon. But one thing’s for sure, having your bar redecorated for free, Ed is surely smiling now.
Six weeks later sales are unconfirmed, two bartenders returned and once again you can get a Hot Pussy because Ed is still a schmuck. Worst Bar Rescue ever – and not because of Jon – because you can’t fix stupid.
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