With Bar Rescue shooting its 100th episode and the Nightclub & Bar show celebrating its 30th anniversary, a panel featuring three rescued bar owners seemed very fitting. Tori Socha, Senior Director of Original Programming for Spike TV, hosted Guy Wavra of Moonrunners Saloon, Todd Harr of 22 Klicks and Brad Bohannan of Spirits on Bourbon. The enthusiastic and vocal trio of bar owners shared where they are now with attendees.
“Sometimes ya gotta make mistakes,” Guy said, kicking off the panel, “Sometimes ya gotta fall on your face and get back up.” Truer words have never been spoken. Two years after Character’s Quarters of Garner, NC was rebranded and transformed into MoonRunners Saloon, sales are still up 40 percent. His biggest piece of advice was to embrace changes in order to make them work. And embrace change he has, featuring around 30 moonshine cocktails to date and sponsoring two race cars. His sister no longer works at MoonRunners but left amicably, resulting in better Sunday dinners. The most unexpected change for Guy? Discovering that there’s an entire subculture of guests who travel the country to visit Bar Rescue venues.
Todd has also seen his fair share of Bar Rescue visitors. “We have a lot of new faces every day,” he said of that particular phenomenon. While his staff has all moved on to different things, Todd ran with the changes made to the venue formerly known as Cliques Bar and Grill. The result has been astounding: doubled sales that have stayed doubled. He was also happy to report that more women now come to 22 Klicks. Interestingly, the Wow Factor of Todd’s bar – the (in)famous tank bursting forth from a wall in the venue – has proven to be a bit divisive. Some customers have told Todd to remove it, thinking that it will allow for a few more bodies in the bar. However, Todd loves the reaction it provokes from guests and the photos they all seem to love taking with it.
Brad Bohannan is probably one of the most remembered bar owners to have been featured on Bar Rescue. Spirits on Bourbon, formerly Turtle Bay (as many of you will remember), is now the first stop for a massive number of visitors to New Orleans, resulting in the bar pulling in $1 million per year. A Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show veteran (he’s been attending for a decade), Brad admits that he applied to be rescued in order to spend time with Jon Taffer and “pick his brain.” As far as the popularity of his bar now that it has been on television, Brad says it means a lot to him that his Resurrection cup is no longer found discarded on the street as guests are taking them home as souvenirs.
Tori did point out that no, not every episode has led to happy endings. Some owners featured on Bar Rescue have indeed walk out and turned their back on Jon’s changes. But plenty of owners and their staffs have committed to change and succeeded. Guy, Todd and Brad are living examples of just what can happen if you take responsibility for the failures of your bar and take action. And, for those of you wondering what’s next for Bar Rescue, look forward to the latest and greatest Jon Taffer television project: Back to the Bar.