Consultant Jon Taffer’s bar makeover show “Bar Rescue” has been pushing into dives, neighborhood pubs and wacky pirate-themed spots for almost five year now, and on March 6th, Spike TV celebrates the 100th episode of the show. Love or hate Taffer’s acerbic character and sometimes seemingly generic fixes, the show often takes a good hard look at how difficult it is to keep a bar or restaurant up and running, and how easy it is for it to slide into chaos.
And while the series suffers from many of the same overproduction issues of most reality shows on TV, the emotions expressed by a bar’s staff and owners (who, we are reminded, invited Taffer and his crew in in the first place) seem genuine and affecting. Successes are often uplifting and optimistic. Though some stories have highlighted that around 30% of the bars Taffer’s team redesign close within the year (and another 25% return to their old name or re-rebrand), that statistic isn’t any worse than the normal closure rate of bars and restaurants, which runs at around 60%.
For the 100th episode, Taffer and his team head to Anoka, Minnesota. Here they find Mac & Chesters SRO, a combination bar and softball complex. The owners have split the bar / sports facilities into essentially two opposing spaces with antagonistic clientele (bikers vs softballers). Taffer and his team—this time including Miami bartender Mia Mastrionni and Vegas-based chef Vic Vegas—head into the fray to straighten things out.
To celebrate the landmark episode, Spike, Taffer and an invited guest list (including this writer, who was unable to attend) descended on STK Midtown in Manhattan to sip cocktails featuring Crown Royal, Ciroc and Captain Morgan, and enjoy music from rapper Lil Jon, who served as DJ for the evening. Kevin Kay, the president of Spike TV toasted Taffer for the long partnership. The company also sent out media kits, featuring a bottle of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye (which was recently awarded “Best World Whisky 2016” by “Whisky Bible” author Jim Murray), along with a set of “Bar Rescue” steel whisky stones (chilled and used instead of ice to keep a drink cool without diluting it).
The 100th episode of “Bar Rescue” airs on Spike TV Sunday, March 6 at 9 p.m. ET.
GIVEAWAY: We received a press kit (pictured above) teasing the 100th episode. While we can’t legally give the Crown Royal away (plus it’s like, half drunk by now), we *can* give away the Bar Rescue-branded steel whiskey stones. All you have to do is email NYDrinksExaminer@gmail.com with the subject line Bar Rescue, or Tweet @roberthp with #BarRescue #Giveaway and we will draw a winner at random on March 13 (Daylight Savings Begins!). You must be 21 or over to enter. Winner will be contacted via email or DM for a mailing address. The prize has no cash value.