When bar expert Jon Taffer, the reality tv star of Bar Rescue, arrives on the scene, you already know a failing bar doesn’t have much time to turn things around. Most episodes start when an inexperienced bar owner calls Jon for help before having to close their doors for good.
In just a few days, Taffer and his team work tirelessly to turn the bar around, sometimes giving it a new name, a complete remodel, and a brand new menu.
But not every episode is a success story. For every bar that’s saved, there are plenty more that fail after Jon leaves. In fact, some bars have even been featured on multiple episodes of Bar Rescue because they just couldn’t get it together.
According to Reality TV Updates, 48% of bar owners took the advice from Jon Taffer, saved their struggling bar, and are still in business in 2022.
Still, there are some truly great Bar Rescue episodes, the ones that really make you believe that anything is possible with a little hard work (and a lot of money).
Originally on Spike TV for the first five seasons, all seven seasons of Bar Rescue are now available on Paramount+ and Amazon Prime.
In this article, we’ll cover the 10 best episodes of Bar Rescue to date according to IMDb rankings.
#10 – Phishing for Answers (S6.E15) 8.0/10
Florida bar Phishing Heads is drowning in debt ($250k) and losing $5,000 monthly after making the odious mistake by the bar owners (Phillip and Toni Crenshaw) to hire their son (James) as the general manager who constantly drinks on the job.
Jon Taffer instantly realizes that the dysfunctional family’s feuding and James’ unprofessionalism must change for the bar to survive.
After a few days of renovations, rebranding the bar to Phish Tales, and giving James some much-needed tough love, Taffer has high hopes that the Crenshaw family can finally start working together.
#9 – Breaking Brandon (S7.E3) 8.1/10
Bar owner Brandon Purser is in big trouble when his dive bar Linda Lou’s has constantly failed and is over-leveraged. This Utah bar is in dire straights and is in serious need of bar expert Jon Taffer. The kitchen is lacking proper equipment and the bartenders can’t seem to make a drink correctly.
Jon races against time as this struggling bar only has 4 days to turn things around. Bar Rescue has to fix the terrible service before this failing business closes for good.
After an intense intervention from Jon Taffer and some much-needed renovations, Brandon finally steps up to the plate and takes charge of his bar. With new drinks, a snack station, and a new attitude, the new Purser’s Bar is finally on the road to achieving success.
#8 – Second Base, Third Strike (S4.E11) 8.1/10
Second Base sports bar in California is failing again when Jon Taffer arrives for this re-rescue, which is the first episode to cover the same bar. Bar owner Terry Bryant does recon on his struggling bar with Jon to see how his staff is failing.
They discover that all of the previous changes to the menu are no longer available to order. Even worse, the bar is falling apart again and is in disarray.
In the end, Terry refused to invest anything else into his business. When Jon offered him a $100k investment if Terry committed $30k, he couldn’t come up with the funds.
#7 – Vulgar Vixens (S4.E35) 8.1/10
Chandra, the bar owner of The Hooch in Michigan, watches all hell breaks loose in her bar while calling her staff filthy names to desensitize them. The bar loses over $4k monthly and is swimming in debt, all while Chandra’s husband works another job to keep things afloat.
Jon Taffer lays down the law early and lets Chandra know that he won’t rescue her bar if she continues to disrespect her employees with vulgarity.
The Bar Rescue team quickly finds filth everywhere (mold especially) in the bar and demands the staff clean the entire bar. Things started moving in the right direction going forward.
The bar’s future seemed bright with a new name (Proving Ground Bar & Grill), an automotive concept, and better food and beverage options.
#6 – All Twerk and No Pay Makes Taffer Shut It Down (S5.18) 8.1/10
Speakeasy Bar & Grill in Louisiana was repurchased by bar owners Keith and Amanda Bellaci after working jobs in the corporate world. After regaining ownership, the owners have failed to keep things intact and have been losing $5k monthly while racking up $250k in debt. Even worse, the owners borrowed money from Keith’s mother.
Amanda does nothing but party and twerk while Keith sits at the bar and drinks all night.
Jon Taffer finds rotten food and grease all over the kitchen that’s in desperate need of deep cleaning. He immediately forbids them to serve food again until the kitchen is clean.
Not surprisingly, Keith fails to clean the kitchen and Jon goes off on the couple the next day for choosing to fail. After agreeing to divide up responsibilities, the couple starts their cooking and drinks training to get things turned around before their stress test.
With a seriously delayed point-of-sale system, getting orders completed in a timely manner became a challenge too big to overcome.
Thanks to Jon and his team of experts, they were able to provide some drinks and food menu items unique to Louisiana that should set them up for success.
In the end, the Bar Rescue team helps the Bellaci family turn things around with a new Jazz bar concept (named Second Line Festival Bar and Grill) that goes over well with patrons.
#5 – Desi, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do (S5.E20) 8.2/10
After the owner Desi has health problems, his bar Desi Romano’s in Louisiana is about to completely fail due to a $150k debt and dropping revenues. Employees are smoking and drinking behind the bar and own the bar money while running up a tab.
Desi keeps wasting money buying drinks for others and getting drunk while disrespecting his daughter Lindsey, the bar manager.
To turn things around, the Bar Rescue team used an architectural antique concept with an updated menu and a motivated staff.
#4 – Casually Tapped Out (S5.E22) 8.2/10
Firefighter Steve Magana has called on Bar Resue’s Jon Taffer to save his defunct bar, The Casual Tap in Chicago, in hopes of bringing it back to life. Losing over $4k a month with limited opening hours and only accepting cash escalated the bar’s demise. If things fail, Steve stands to lose over $700k, which tops the list of struggling bars on this list. To make matters worse, Steve has an ailing wife that suffers from a hereditary neurological disease that can be passed down to their children.
On his first trip to the bar, Jon quickly realizes that, ironically, they (The Casual Tap) don’t have beer on tap. As the bar was closed when he first arrived, Jon decided to run a stress test immediately to watch the makeshift team in action.
Jon rescues a very emotional and deserving bar owner who shows nothing but gratitude the entire episode. You can easily see why this is one of the best episodes of Bar Rescue and ranks among the favorites.
#3 – Bar Rescue: Operation Puerto Rico (S6.E19) 8.2/10
After being completely destroyed by Hurricane Maria, Jon heads to Puerto Rico to completely rebuild the El K’Rajo beachfront bar for owners Victor and Janet Morales. Getting by with only Social Security checks, the couple has nearly lost everything, which makes it very heartbreaking.
Bar Rescue calls on the big guns for help in this episode by getting assistance from an all-star cast that includes Mark Cuban, J.J. Barea, Luis Guzmán, Bernie Williams, and Bethenny Frankel. Having lived in Puerto Rico as a child, Jon Taffer hopes to do more than just restore their business but also the community.
The Bar Rescue team recovered and repaired the local community center, basketball court, and baseball field in Loíza. After its complete renovation, the beachfront bar looked better than ever and thrived on opening night. In the top 3 episodes of Bar Rescue thanks to being very relatable to anyone who’s fallen on hard times outside of their control.
#2 – Punch-Drunk & Trailer-Trashed (S3.E33) 8.3/10
This season 3 episode of Bar Rescue attempts to save O’Face Bar in Iowa, which is operated by punch-drunk owners who are more interested in having a good time than operating a successful business. Losing over $4k per month and in debt for $260k, owners Matthew and Karen Overmyer call on Jon Taffer to turn things around.
The operational dysfunction and excessive drinking from the staff are the least of Jon Taffer’s problems when the hard-partying manager decides to assault another employee. Jon has to lay down the law and tell the owners to fire the manager or the Bar Rescue team won’t be helping them the next day. Reluctantly, the owners finally fired the manager to keep Jon from leaving.
After failing the stress test like in most bar rescue episodes, Jon finds the staff sitting around instead of practicing their drinks as requested. Jon decided to confront the staff and then discuss how having sexual innuendo in the O’Face bar name is the worst bar concept for attracting customers. The problems only start to mount higher when Jon discovers that the business and its owners have a dark past.
Proving to be nothing more than a redneck trainwreck, Jon decides to walk away from his first Bar Rescue episode ever because of the owners’ complete unprofessionalism and criminal history.
#1 – Things That Go Pahrump in the Night (S5.E23) 8.4/10
Pat and her son Russ Rodgers, owners of Paddy’s Irish Pub in Nevada (an hour outside of Las Vegas), seek the help of Bar Rescue before Russ goes completely blind. Having loads of debt and not the best demographics in Pahrump, the Bar Rescue team has their work cut out for them. Russ has not only borrowed money from his mother but also from his bookkeeper Shawna.
Having an unused kitchen allowed the Bar Rescue team to start from scratch after the kitchen was cleaned. The staff did their best during their training and stress test but just couldn’t keep up with the demand. Pat had a laundry list of complaints at the end of the night.
Now Pat’s Courtyard bar, the pub was completely transformed to have a more subtropical resort look that the staff loved.
Considered one of the best episodes, it lacked any true drama, which is typical for Bar Rescue. The owners and staff were pretty open to change and improving their methods. Despite their limitations, the staff gave one of the best efforts in Bar Rescue history.
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