On tonight’s Spike “Bar Rescue,” Jon Taffer and his crew came to Phoenix, Arizona on this episode titled, “How to Train the Dragon.” In 1995, Englishman David Wimberley moved to Phoenix and opened an English pub. For additional help, David brought his brother Tony onboard to manage the place. As the first English pub in Arizona, the place was an immediate success and for the first eight years, it was the most happening place in Central Phoenix. However, after the death of his mother, David lost his inspiration. The building is the same as it was twenty years ago, and David will not adapt. The kitchen is disgusting and the furniture is falling apart. As the place fell to ruins, David turned to socializing rather than fix the place. He plays poker four out of seven nights. Now losing $5,000 a month and in the hole for $700,000, David agreed to pull back the doors, bust open the books and make a call for help to Jon Taffer and “Bar Rescue.”
For the bar, Jon brings in Phil Wills, expert mixologist and for the kitchen, he brought in Gavan Murphy who has lots of experience with British pubs and Irish food. They spotted the pieces of neon falling down in the window. Gavan told Jon that pub stands for public house, the center of the community where people find comfort. Phil said there was no comfort to be found here. Jon advised his crew that David and his mother opened the place twenty-one years ago. She was the face of the bar and everyone loved her, but she passed away seven years ago. That is when the bar started going downhill. Tony sent a video to Jon asking for help because David does not believe he needs help.
Jon brought in Mountain Man Jay from the local radio station, and Jill Bryan, a local comedienne to come in and do recon for him. The drink they made for Jill contained five ounces of different flavored vodka. Jay’s was in a glass too big and he could not taste the vodka, but Jill’s made up for the alcohol missing from Jay’s drink. They ordered fish and chips, but the oil was so dirty, Jon was gagging just to look at it. The food was barely edible, but as this went on; Dave just played poker and had no clue. He just burped as he drank his beer and complained about the service in the pub.
Jon, Phil and Gavan decided to go inside the place and see it up close. When Gavan and Jon went into the kitchen, the place had not been cleaned in ages. David disagreed and said it was cleaned every morning. Jon then left and told David to clean it up or he would not return.
The next day, when Jon returned, he gave Dave a tongue-lashing for his actions. The poker players only drink water, and he drinks free beers all night. Tony had no authority to do anything but babysit for the women bartenders. Phil saw inconsistencies in the amount of alcohol in drinks and it was obvious that everyone lacked training. Phil began the training and Gavan also took to the kitchen to give the cook his expertise.
Phil had his work cut out for him training the bartenders, but soon they understood how to pour. He warned them that the stress test would bring in lots of people and they would have to be quick making drinks to accommodate them all. The kitchen was spotless and making food was going to be a priority. When the stress test began, poker chips were used for bad drinks, bad service and bad food. Every chip in the container was a mark against the staff. Dave was trying to engage, but Jon knows he cannot solve problems. Kat was fed up and put her jacket on and went outside to smoke, ignoring the needs of the customers. David told Jon she was stressed, but Jon saw that as another excuse.
The next day, Jon met with David and Tony and told them they had to erase the negative from the place and themselves. David promised to stop playing poker and become the owner he should be. David is getting excited again and wants this to work and pay off the debt. David does not want to change the name of the establishment. But it must get a shot of adrenalin. It is the only English pub in Arizona owned by an Englishman.
Phil made new drinks that the bartenders loved. In the kitchen, Gavan was offering a sampling of several items that people could try and come back again for the entire dish.
When they stood outside to see the front of the building with the new sign, it still read George & Dragon. David went outside to invite the huge crowd in. He was smiling from ear to ear and his attitude was of a changed man. The interior of the place was warm and comforting. The upgrades Jon made were exactly what were needed. David was greeting everyone and making them feel welcome. Their mother would be so proud on this episode of “Bar Rescue.”
Six weeks after the relaunch, the sales have increased by 50 percent. David is too busy to play poker because he is there every day meeting and greeting his customers. He could not have done it without Jon Taffer and his staff of “Bar Rescue.”