Extreme Bar Makeover
By Alex Distefano
With an abundance of reality TV shows based on eateries such as Hell’s Kitchen, Ace of Cakes and America’s Next Great Restaurant, network executives have yet to base a program on bars and drinking establishments. Until now.
Cable network Spike (formerly Spike TV) announced earlier this year the creation of Bar Rescue, a one-hour business makeover type show where host Jon Taffer travels across the country in a weekly quest to reinvent dying bars. Taffer is a leading expert in the food and beverage industry, working as a consultant to many bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Miami.
Recently, one of our own watering holes in Corona was cast to be featured on the show when Spike booked the bar formerly known as Angel’s to appear in one of the first episodes set to air this month.
“We received a completely new style of business, including our name change,” says owner/manager Brad, who declined to give his last name. “We were Angel’s Sports Bar, but we are now Racks Billiards and Bourbon. We have been here at this location on the corner of 6th and Magnolia for just over 15 years.”
Brad said that the opportunity for Racks Billiards and Bourbon to appear on the TV show came through the coincidence of having mutual friends with someone involved with the production of the reality TV program.
“A friend of ours, who has known us for years, happened to be good friends with a casting director for the show,” Brad says. “So after a bit of talking, the idea sounded cool enough and he hooked us up. We were of course very excited over this, but I think my employees were a bit more excited to be on TV.”
Brad described that the entire process of pre-production and shooting for the episode took about 90 days.
“It took around 3 months from the time we started talking to the actual filming,” he explains. “But the actual filming took only about a week. This was a great experience for all of us; never in a million years did we think that our bar in Corona would be part of the whole reality TV world.”
Taffer will serve as main host on the show, but will also be joined by other leading experts in the industry, including his wife Nicole. The show will divulge many intricacies into the world of running a successful (and not-so successful bar). Taffer is said to get in people’s faces over everything from crowd management to how to professionally handle overly intoxicated people and disgruntled workers.
Bar Rescue, is the first bar-themed show for Spike.
Brad said that he is very proud of his new establishment and although the show was a positive experience, he wants people to drop their preconceived notions about the bar’s past.
“We definitely had a great time and are very happy with the results of everything and how it turned out,” Brad says. “I also want people know that we have a new lease on life, so we want you all to forget the old stigma of Angel’s Sports Bar and come in and check out the new and improved Racks Billiards and Bourbon.”