This year 6,500 failing bars nationwide will close their doors for good. If things don’t change soon, Caribe Night Club in San Diego, California will become just another statistic. In 2004, Juan Pablo Martinez moved from the Dominican Republic to San Diego, California to help his brother run the successful Caribe Night Club. Juan took complete control of the nightclub in 2007 and despite his inexperience, the nightclub continued to flourish, making $90,000 each month. However, tragedy struck in 2012 when Juan’s mother passed away, something he had incredible difficulty facing. Still suffering from his tragic loss, Juan Pablo lost focus on the day-to-day operations of his bar and standards fell. Soon, his priorities shifted from bar owner to bar patron. Staff members say that Juan Pablo drinks whenever he’s at Caribe. In addition, he’ll give away several hundred dollars in free drinks to other guests. His wife, Edith, was a doctor in the Dominican Republic. She set aside her career, home, family and friends to follow Juan Pablo to America to help him realize his dream of bar ownership. With Caribe $300,000 in debt and their family on the line, Edith has made the call for help to Bar Rescue.
Edith admits to Jon Taffer that the family has lost their cars, lost their house and that their credit cards are all maxed out. She also knows that Juan Pablo is late on Caribe’s rent but doesn’t know much is owed. Jon informs her that the venue is 11 months behind on rent. Edith accompanies Jon during his recon of Caribe and tells him that it’s her and Juan Pablo’s 14th wedding anniversary. Juan Pablo hasn’t called or texted her at all. Jon sends Ashley Daniels of Afterbuzz TV Network who is also the co-host of Bar Rescue Review Aftershow and Sirius XM’s Tomorrow Show Live and Mario Alberto who is a radio DJ for Pulsar 107.3 FM, the number 1 Spanish language radio station in San Diego and Tijuana, and the host of El Show de Mario Alberto into Caribe for recon. They enter the nightclub, a dark 5,000 square-foot space with 2 speed wells and a kitchen in the back that only operates during daytime hours. Everything is worn and dingy as Juan Pablo hasn’t remodeled Caribe in around 8 years. Ashley and Mario are surprised to learn that the kitchen is closed and, more disappointingly, this Caribbean themed bar doesn’t serve mojitos. Worse still, Juan Pablo is hitting on women guests and partying on what is not just his money but also his wife’s money, disrespecting her and their marriage. Edith filed for divorce before recon and brought the paperwork along with her on Jon’s recon, giftwrapped for Juan Pablo. The failure of Caribe is truly tearing apart this family.
Fortunately for Juan Pablo, Edith and the Caribe staff, Jon has also brought with him Bar Rescue experts Mia Mastroianni and Chef Anthony Lamas, owner and head chef of Seviche in Louisville, Kentucky. Mia’s prowess in speed bartending and background at the upscale Soho House in West Hollywood, California make her the perfect fit to train any nightclub’s bar staff in the art of executing refined cocktails in a high-volume atmosphere. At the forefront of emerging Latino cuisine, Chef Lamas is the ideal candidate to train any cook in crafting innovative dishes the local community will savor. Caribe bartender Miroslava has volunteered to train under Chef Lamas and become the nightclub’s cook.
- The average nightclub needs some type of a remodel or a facelift every 3 years and generally a rebranding every 7 years.
- Assuming a nightclub’s rent is $10,000 per month, the establishment would need to generate $100,000 each month for the owner or owners to make a nice living. 65% of a nightclub’s revenues are made on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, with most of that revenue being generated within 3-and-a-half hours each of those nights. So, if a club can do $1,600 an hour for those 3-and-a-half hours three times a week, it will make $100,000 each month.
- When it comes to dance floor lighting, don’t get your beams reversed. Beams of light should be aimed at the wall behind the dance floor to light up guests who are dancing so they’re visible to guests who are looking their direction. Avoid having beams of light running past the dance floor and into the bar or seating areas. In addition, lighting itself can be used as décor. In order to make beams of colored light pop, use a white bar and white bar steps on the back of the bar.
Caribe Night Club underwent a rebranding and is now La Luz Ultralounge, a nod to Juan Pablo’s mother, Lucia, and his daughter, Lucelis. La Luz also translates into English as “The Light.” The remodel captures Latin American culture and makes use of light as décor. Six weeks after the relaunch of La Luz, beverage sales are up 25%, food sales are up 65%, Juan Pablo has started to pay back what he owes for rent and both he and Edith are working alongside one another each night.
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