No Holds Barred: Jon Taffer Tells Us What's on Tap for Season One of Spike's Bar Rescue

Plus, get a sneak peek of tonight's season premiere!

By , Contributor

In recent years, the bar business has taken a hit, with owners finding themselves facing mounting debt, with more employees and lower revenue than ever. Much like the housing industry, in the boom economy, many got into expensive leases and made other large investments, which became difficult, if not impossible, to pay off as guest counts continued to dwindle and customers, also strapped for cash, having little money to spend.

Enter Jon Taffer.

He's the internationally renowned restaurant operator, owner, and concept developer who knows everything from the city with the best bar scene (New York), to the most anyone should pay for a cocktail ($7-$10), and the science behind the music that inevitably becomes the soundtrack to your Friday night. In the new Spike reality series, Bar Rescue, Taffer’s taking on some of the nation’s most troubled taverns, turning them into lucrative establishments in just a matter of days.

He may make it look easy on camera, but as Jon tells TMR, Bar Rescue is much more than simply splashing a few paint colors on the wall and giving the staff members new t-shirts.

“I don’t want to say to them, ‘Don’t do this, do that,’ ‘Don’t do that, do this,’ I want to change the way they think,” says Taffer. “If I can change the way they think, I can’t help but change the things they do. The only way I’m going to change the way they think is to shatter the way they think now.”

And shatter he does. Admittedly “very aggressive,” Jon Taffer holds nothing back as he teaches struggling bar owners to put their egos aside and do what’s necessary to take their business to the next level; even if it means letting go of some baggage along the way.

“I don’t have time to mess around, this is real to me, this is my reputation, and this is real,” says Jon. “I’m very good at letting the cameras disappear because I get very much into my work. I’ve got five days to do this and I am not going to allow somebody to make us fail - even the owner themselves.”

Helping him with each rescue are some of the country’s most talented mixologists and other experts in the hospitality industry, as well as his wife of 11 years, Nicole, who Taffer acknowledges, “might be tougher than me in some ways.” But that’s no accident.

“I send her in to be tough, and to have a tough eye, [and to] tell me the female perspective,” says Jon.

The result? A bar with mass appeal that’s able to withstand the test of time; and more importantly, keep the owner out of the red.


Bar Rescue premieres Sunday, July 17 at 10|9c on Spike.

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Shayla C. Perry is a freelance journalist based in New York. In addition to interviewing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and covering the latest in celebrity news & gossip, her forte (read: obsession) is examining the sensationalism, gall, and sheer genius of reality TV.

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