We've spent more time than we're willing to admit caught in marathons of Bar Rescue. And while we respect Jon Taffer's game, we think he could stand to get a little more theoretical. Why reinvent actual bars when you can revamp the totally fake ones from movies and TV? Since the Spike execs aren't taking our suggestions, we asked a nightlife expert of our own to provide some guidance for seven fictional spots.
Brett David is most notably the creative director of Rochelle's, but his resume includes stints all over the NYC food and drink scene. After reviewing some footage, he came up with a game plan for Moe's Tavern, Paddy's Pub, Mos Eisley Cantina, and a few more of our favorite fake spots. Not that The Gang or Moe would ever take outside suggestions, but if they did, here's what Brett would tell 'em...
The Simpsons Brett says: “It’s a one-man show. He has to close to judge a contest because there was no one to cover him. What if he had to go to the bathroom? Or there was a shuffle? There should always be two people on. He inadvertently threatened his guests to leave with huge automatic weapons on the side wall. That’s a huge issue. He’s over-serving and changing the time to keep customers longer. That can never happen. There are kids coming through the kitchen at night, and he’s got a major rat problem. Moe needs to start exterminating monthly ASAP.” Verdict: Hire another bartender, hire an exterminator, go easy on the pours, get rid of the guns and kids.
Harry Potter Brett says: “There are kids and animals at this bar. Did they break in? Was the door unlocked? These are major issues that a good lock and alarm system would fix. The bar is filthy. It needs to be cleaned at the end of every shift. There’s also no lighting, and that’s easy to install.” Verdict: Fix the lock, clean the place up, add some rustic lanterns, don’t let the kid wizards or their pets in.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Brett says: “The staff is coming in and just joking around when they could be setting up for guests. The owner sitting down is also a bad example for the staff. This bar is pretty empty, which is a sign you need to promote harder. Promoting the bar for Philly could be easy. It's basically a sports/frat bar, right? Make specials every time a Philly sports team plays. Find the slowest night and make it all night happy hour. Hand out a sparkler to girls celebrating their birthdays. Embrace all the fun shit.” Verdict: Have specials during Eagles and Phillies games, and at least pretend you’re running a bar for customers.
The Sopranos Brett says: “There’s gambling and smoking in the club. Bad look, plus it’s illegal. Owners are drinking in the middle of a day shift, and no one is paying attention to the patrons or the dancers. There needs to be a better management style. Strip clubs are a unique animal. Management are monsters so you know the books are cooked. It's the owners more than any ‘managers,’ so it's either they go legit or it's a lost cause. As I've said to many people in my line of work -- fight battles you can win.” Verdict: Go legal or sell to someone who will.
Parks and Recreation Brett says: “There is major over-serving. TIPS training would solve this. I see drugs in the club. You need to make sure security knows there’s a zero tolerance policy. Also, Mylar balloons for a 21-year-old’s birthday? I’m sorry but that’s just tacky. Maybe they could’ve had a theme for her birthday. Everyone in white? Or a mustache theme party for photo booth photos. People love that.” Verdict: Retrain the bartenders and bouncers and throw some more money and thought into the parties.
Mos Eisley Cantina
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Brett says: “Someone gets killed and no one cares! Biggest issue for sure. I know this is in the middle of the desert, but this is so Vegas. Terrible decor. A coat of paint couldn't hurt. Club chairs and a pool table for those with thumbs. Big mirror behind the bar. Cocktail lists. Less blood on the walls.” Verdict: Put in a pool table and cocktail list, and make Han take his gunfights outside.
The Drunken Clam
Family Guy Brett says: "Peter is terribly over-served, and there are gunfights. Once again, you need TIPS training for the staff. And a security presence.” Verdict: Hire a bouncer and kick Peter out when he’s had too many Pawtucket Patriot Ales.
Kristin Huntis a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and wants to frequent any bar Burt Macklin's at. Follow her to FBI loose cannons at @kristin_hunt.