Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Win Place or Show Update – What Happened After Bar Rescue

Win Place or Show before Bar Rescue

Barry Rogers and Rudy Garcia

In 2010 Navy veteran Barry Rogers disembarked from a long career in the waters and used his savings to purchase a struggling biker bar in Fairfield, Ohio. He named it Win Place or Show but did not change anything hence the public still perceived the establishment as a biker bar instead of Rogers’ vision of it being a sports bar. Despite being situated in a prime location the bar did not draw in customers.

To help attract patrons Rogers called for his friend Rudy Garcia who was a guitarist of rock band Cincinnati Sinners. However the decision proved to be a mistake as Garcia, who became a co-owner, cared more about his band than the bar even though the patrons were not into his music, and he also brought along his wife Tracy as a bartender despite her lack of experience in such a line of work. To make matters worse Tracy was not as hard-working as they initially thought, and her laziness made the bar bleed almost 50% of its income.

As Rogers faced an inevitable collision with bankruptcy he and Garcia decided that it’s best to call for rescue before their ship sinks to the bottom.

Win Place or Show on Bar Rescue

Jon Taffer and his experts speed bartender Jason Bran and chef Aaron McCargo inspect the bar from the outside and, judging by the establishment’s signage, found it hard to pinpoint what the theme really was. Bran then entered Win Place or Show to gain a customer’s perspective on things. He ordered a Long Island Iced Tea which had too much alcohol, and the fried dish was put in a microwave before being served to him. Garcia was also spotted in a corner talking to a friend instead of doing his job.

The old facade

Taffer followed Bran into the bar and met with the two owners. The Bar Rescue host learned from Rogers that the bar didn’t have a grand opening to announce its new incarnation. Garcia was protective of his band and denied that his music drove people away.

Bran toured the bar area with Taffer and the latter saw the equipment being potential havens for bacteria. The bartenders were ordered to clean every nook and cranny of the area but Tracy was not much of a help to them. In the kitchen McCargo noticed grease virtually everywhere, and Garcia’s habit of defending the staff’s unsanitary practices sparked tension between him and Taffer.

The next day Taffer summoned the employees for a meeting where Garcia admitted to drinking and giving away free booze which obviously incurred losses for the business. After the meeting McCargo familiarized the kitchen staff with the new menu that focused on barbecue, while Bran introduced bourbon and whiskey inspired drinks to the bartenders. After an entire day of training Taffer subjected Win Place or Show to a stress test that night to see if the employees can handle the pressure.

As the drink orders piled up the bartenders tried their best to keep up despite finding it hard to memorize the new cocktails. Tracy was not doing very well behind the counter which forced Taffer to swap her with Courtney who was working on the floor, and even with the change in position Tracy was still not doing a good job which cost the bar a couple of disgruntled customers walking out. The kitchen staff was also swamped with orders and Rogers himself helped expedite things by serving meals to customers. Garcia on the other hand busied himself by talking to the patrons. Taffer ended the test prematurely as customers began to leave in droves.

The following morning the employees were greeted with a cloth draped over the bar’s signage with the words Top Secret written on it. Taffer explained that he wanted to rouse curiosity from the passing traffic before the grand reopening. Afterwards McCargo spent the whole day training the kitchen staff with a focus on improving their serving time. Bran incorporated his speed techniques to the bartenders which replaced the incorrect way of pouring they’ve been doing for the past few years. Taffer confronted the owners and Garcia asked for a release from the business as his heart was truly into rock and roll. Amber, one of the bartenders, invested money into the bar and effectively replaced Garcia as a co-owner.

The new facade

While Taffer’s team worked on renovating the bar, Amber and Rogers visited the radio station 96 Rock and promoted the upcoming new incarnation of Win Place or Show. Later on Taffer finally revealed the new identity of the bar which was now America Live Bar & BBQ. Inside they were greeted with a host of new furniture, billiard tables, and a revamped stage. A TouchTunes jukebox was installed, complete with karaoke and photobooth capabilities, and a SmartBar folding bar to help ease the pressure on the bartenders. To boost serving efficiency Taffer installed two POS systems and tap systems on the bar area, and in the kitchen every corner was scrubbed free of grease. A pair of sound baffles were hung on the walls to alleviate the problem in acoustics that plagued the bar earlier.

At nightfall Rogers welcomed a deluge of customers and the employees were more than capable of handling a huge wave of orders with ease. The new food and drink were warmly received by the patrons, and a performance from rock band Halestorm highlighted the night.

Win Place or Show Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update

A few months after the rescue America Live reportedly had a 25% increase in sales and the stage was frequented by bands.

However around June or July 2012 the bar closed down with Rogers stating that “legal reasons” prevent him from talking about the issue. Shortly afterwards the bar’s now-defunct Facebook page posted a status, thanking the supporters and mentioning “members of the community” who apparently were the cause of America Live’s closure. As the episode was scheduled on September 16, the bar closed down its doors before they were even aired.

Buzzard Bay Pub

In the online forum Ohio Chatter a member mentioned that America Live still had some catching up to do with their rent. The landlord of the building they were in talked to another person who wanted the place for another bar business, and eventually Rogers and the America Live personnel were locked out of their establishment. Apparently this new bar also did not last long and left the place as well.

In 2014 Buzzard Bay Pub opened on America Live’s place and stayed there for two years. Based on comments on the pub’s Facebook page it seems that they’re also closing down.

Anthony Coyle
I write about anything and everything that catches my fancy, but mostly I try to provide the answers to the questions our readers ask every day. I'm also the guy who's always glued to an LCD screen of some sort.


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