On tonight’s Spike episode of “Bar Rescue,” Jon Taffer and his crew came to Hollywood, Florida, in this episode titled “Beach Rats.” In 2004, two best friends and New Jersey natives, Jamie Hawks & John Franke teamed up to purchase their own bar. But fighting through two hurricanes, and working day and night to make it a success, but when Jamie lost his son, he lashed out at everyone around him, including his best friend John. Now on the verge of destruction; the friendship is gone, and the employees have a free for all because nobody is in charge and the $250,000 debt between the two owners is about to drive them out of business.
As Jon sits in his SUV, he tells his friends, Chef Nick Liberato and master mixologist and Florida native Kyle Mercado that they are in one of the top ten beach destinations in America. It is loaded with condos and time shares and only a few miles from Miami Beach. They looked over the venue and it should have been a gold mine, like a nearby bar that was very busy. He explained that the two owners hated each other and that they would not work the same shifts or days and wanted nothing to do with each other. The three decided to do their own recon. They sat at a table, as the bar was empty and nobody came to take their order. When Jon asked the bartender if they could order, she came to the table. She did not have a pad to write their order and Jon questioned why. She told him she was a bartender. He proceeded to order every drink on the menu and Nick ordered a dozen oysters.
The two owners were there and explained that after two years of working day and night and dedicating themselves to the business; both of them got divorced. Jon then announced that he was doing an immediate stress test and suddenly, a rush of customers walked in. Kali, the bartender just poured shots of tequila for everyone and collected no money. Two bottles later, Jon could not believe his eyes. As Nick went to the kitchen, it was a disaster. Logan, the cook took a hike when Nick called him on the condition of the kitchen. When Jon saw that the cook quit, and the condition of the kitchen, he told Jamie that it must be cleaned or he cannot come back.
At the bar, Kyle took the cover off the taps to reveal mold around them and a rat trap attached to a towel that was on the floor. As the people at the bar were completely disgusted, Jon told John that they were leaving and would return once the place was cleaned up, or they could go broke. The owners closed the bar for the night and started cleaning. The next day, Jon returned to see the place becoming clean and even spotted Logan in the kitchen cleaning. Jon stated that he did not know if he would just leave again if the going got tough; to which he replied with his word that it would not happen.
Jon called the staff together and asked the owners how much debt they were in; their retirement savings are both gone and this is all they have. With only a few months left before they close the doors, Jon called them on giving away about $2,000 worth of drinks last night when they became so overwhelmed by the crowd. Kali stated she did not do this alone, but it rested on her shoulders. Jon told Jamie to either fire her or set down rules. Jamie then told her and the rest of the staff, if it happens again, they are gone. So Jon then brought in Nick and Kyle to train the staff.
Jamie went to the kitchen with Nick and Logan, while John remained at the bar with the rest of the staff and Kyle. As the bar training was going smoothly, the kitchen staff was getting a lesson in oysters from Nick. When the training was about done, they noticed a long line of people outside. Jon had gathered the local demographic; mostly tourists to come in and slam them again. They had a few minutes to get the bar and kitchen ready for the deluge of customers. John and Jamie both went outside and welcomed the customers inside.
Kyle stayed at the bar and called to the bartenders like a drill sergeant. In the kitchen the orders rolled in and nobody was throwing a hissy fit. Suddenly, three rats ran around Nick’s feet in the kitchen and he nearly flipped. Jon had a fit on Jamie about the rat problem; that did not seem to be a problem until now. They also noticed no communication between the two partners. Jon has solved many family and partnership problems before, and this seems like time he took charge once again. They looked under the counter and saw more rats. Jon knows in a tropical location like this, they need a professional exterminator to rid themselves of rats. Now they know why rat traps were found under the bar. Jon commended the two female bartenders, Kali and Tara for the good job they did tending bar tonight. But he took Jamie to speak with him privately because he believed the rat problem was on him. Jamie told Jon about losing his son last year and why he has practically given up on life.
The next day, Jon sent an exterminator to seal up all the holes in the walls and get rid of the rats. He then sat with Jamie and John and broke down the barrier between them. Jamie and John were both crying about the loss of Jamie’s son, who was also like a son to him, even Jon Taffer was crying, but told Jamie that they are going to have a new bar, and he needs to honor his son’s memory and go on living his life with a good friend who has always been there. Jamie thanked his staff for being there for him, even when he wasn’t there for them. He is over the mourning and moving forward.
Jon planned to change the concept so their bar is not like all the others in the area; something with history and purpose. In the kitchen, they ramped up the oysters and at the bar; Kyle prepared drinks more tropical than just pineapple juice and rum. He used guava, dragon fruit, star fruit, and kiwi to make a few drinks that really said tropics, and even made a drink for two.
Jon got his teams together to redo the place for the two guys who really started communicating like old times. When the time was up, the staff met outside the place. Jamie’s son had the same name as his, and Jon dedicated the makeover to him. The new name was Bonny & Read’s dedicated to two badass female pirates. Jon told them that he closed a pirate bar in Maryland, and never expected to do another one. But this one is historically significant, and looks like it is from the times. They then went inside to check it out and were thrilled. Each of them had a lasting smile, with the picture of Jamie’s son and the picture of John and Jamie when they first opened the place.
Six weeks later, the bar is filled with people; the partners are working together and making money. Everyone is happy now and the theme is another attraction to the area, thanks to Jon and his crew at “Bar Rescue.”