Bar Rescue

To read an actual account of someone who appeared on “Bar Rescue,” click here.

My common answer when asked about reality television is that I think it is all scripted but that doesn’t stop me from watching some of it. An example of such a show for me is “Bar Rescue.”

For those who don’t know what the show is about here is the very basic premise: A guy who specializes in revitalizing bars visits a failing establishment in each episode. He then works his magic and turns it into a money making machine (supposedly). The show lasts an hour and there is never a shortage of drama, cursing, and yelling.

My brother and I love the show. We text back and forth when it is on. We love it when Jon Taffer (the star of the show) loses it. We compare the bar featured on the given program to bars we have frequented. Whenever we go into a restaurant or a bar area we immediately ask ourselves what would happen if “Bar Rescue” converged on the place. We get a lot of entertainment out of the show that lasts us much longer than just when it is airing on television.

With that said, we don’t take it entirely seriously. In my opinion I think “Bar Rescue” is just as scripted as any other reality show out there today. I mean it doesn’t take much to realize that each show follows the exact same predictable format: Jon walks into a failing bar and notices horrific problems. He chews out the staff and belittles the owner. He brings in his people to transform the bar. He has the staff go through a “stress test” when they bring the public in for a soft opening of sorts…it always ends in disaster. After more yelling and patronizing everything seems to click. Taffer transforms the bar in one night. They have the grand opening and for that evening it turns out to be a smashing success. Rinse and repeat.

Every show is like that. There is always resistance. Terrible business practices and unsanitary conditions are always exposed, Taffer always overreacts, the staff always has a meltdown during the stress test, a magnificent bar makeover is always accomplished, and a lavish grand opening with a great performance from the staff and a record night of sales always concludes the show. If you watch reality TV hoping to be surprised don’t watch bar rescue.

Besides the scripted and predictable format other things just give it away that the show isn’t 100% “reality.” For some reason whenever Taffer is doing a stakeout in his car right before entering the bar the surveillance always picks up the bartenders fighting, an employee stealing, or an owner making out with his girlfriend in the corner. Although he looks like he might have been athletic in his day, I am also amazed that Jon always manages to sneak up on the bar owner before he/she can spot the large man and his camera crew. I also have zero idea how the show can bring the whole staff out in front of the bar and not have them look at their made over business until Taffer gives them the okay to turn around. I have also yet to see one of Taffer’s undercover moles go into a business and return without any incriminating evidence. It all just works way too well.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching “Bar Rescue.” But I know it isn’t authentic. So I will continue to watch the show and get my laughs but don’t think for a minute that I think Jon Taffer is working miracles. Don’t Blink.

7 thoughts on “Bar Rescue

  1. Hi, Brent. Yes, just ask Nate Michael about “reality” TV shows; he worked n Survivor, and he can tell you about the show. Once when I asked him how real the shows were, he said not real at all. (Broke my bubble a bit, as I like watching some of the reality TV shows.) However, I started noticing things too like you were talking about. I love Face Off and watch it religiously when it’s on. I still wonder, though, how they pick the winners sometime. Oh, well, it’s something to do in the evenings!

    Hope all is well.

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  4. On the Pro’s Sports Bar episode, the girl named Nina who got fired is actually Tiffany Pollard from “Flavor of Love”. They must fill the set with actors who need rescue as well. :/

  5. I was featured in this past seasons “Emergency Exit” episode and I can tell you first hand how scripted and what a joke it is. I have heard from a few bars that it did work out for them though, so I am happy to hear some places have had a positive experience.

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