Monday, October 3, 2022

Barlow’s Update – What Happened After Bar Rescue

Barlow’s before Bar Rescue

Barlow’s Bar and Grill in Tucker, Georgia, never had a heyday ever since it was purchased by Susan Wood and her ex-husband. In an attempt to attract clientele Wood gave businessman Jon Stovall equal partnership and command of the kitchen. Stovall bought in $30 grand worth of equipment which didn’t help at all as his claims of being an “expert” in the kitchen resulted in the frustration of customers due to an extremely slow service.

Susan Wood and Jon Stovall

Things soured between Wood and Stovall and the owner began to neglect the bar as she gave in to the temptation of partying and drinking with patrons. Her newfound habit diverted her attention away from pertinent matters such as employee theft, workers faking injuries for comp, and patrons beating the hell out of each other inside the bar.

Now with Barlow’s on the verge of bankruptcy with a debt of $102 grand and a partnership turned into a bitter rivalry, Wood and Stovall had decided to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help.

Barlow’s on Bar Rescue

The old exterior

From the outside Barlow’s looked more of a family restaurant than a bar thanks to its bland façade and signage. For the inside recon Taffer sent in three seasoned bartenders to get the customer’s perspective. Both Stovall and Wood were in the premises but they were drinking and giving each other cold stares instead of doing their jobs. The spies were served warm beer and poorly-mixed cocktails, and when asked about barbecue the bartender answered that they only have barbecue sauce. The burger they served dripped in oil and it only took the spy two bites before she gave up on the grub. One of the bartenders named Nikki was obviously inebriated and danced on top of the counter and Wood didn’t even bat an eye.

Taffer entered the premises and, instead of sitting with the two owners, he conversed with them on separate tables. The two gave conflicting details and when Taffer made them confront each other the tensions just flared. Taffer then brought in mixologist Russell Davis to check out the bar area and, aside from the warm beer, the two fish out filth in the shelves beneath the counter. In the kitchen expert chef Tiffany Derry found stagnant water in the storage and an outbreak of mold on some of the walls in the soda room. The troubles in the kitchen greatly contradict Stovall’s claims of being an executive chef and Taffer had to call upon a team of professional cleaners to irradiate the mess.

In the staff meeting the next day Wood revealed that Barlow’s only had a month or two before closing down for good. Taffer pulled out a BevIntel report which showed a loss of $600 worth of booze and around $200 the next night, the massive difference was due to the bartenders finding out that they were being monitored by Bar Rescue. Wood was then forced to fire Nikki to punish the bartender for her thieving ways. In preparation for tonight’s stress test Davis taught the bartenders some of the basics of stirring and shaking while Derry assigned the kitchen staff to individual roles so they could prepare meals assembly-line style.

During the stress test Taffer introduced the concept of putting stickers on erring employees. Both bartenders and kitchen staff were pelted with green and yellow squares on their shirts as the mistakes piled up. Wood moved around like a real manager and Taffer saw a faint glimpse of improvement on the owner, but Stovall had no voice in the kitchen and his authority was barely felt. Smoke filled the kitchen as Stovall forgot to turn the hood fan on during the start of the stress test and he had the gall to defend his actions by saying that he didn’t mind the fumes, oblivious to the welfare of his employees. After the test Taffer replaced Stovall with kitchen staff “Q” as the new manager, and Wood received much praise for her commendable efforts during that night.

For the new drink menu Davis taught the bartenders a few cocktails that were easy to make and had a Southern charm. Derry introduced dishes that were both sophisticated and yet still had a bar feel. Taffer again sat with the owners and assigned Stovall as Wood’s “business advisor” as he was better with the numbers than with the actual operation of Barlow’s.

The new exterior

After the renovation Barlow’s was renamed to The Comeback Sports Bar & Grill. A bright green sign plus the new exterior now made the establishment look like a real bar than a pancake house. Sports-related décor decked the interior and a negative pressure system in the ceiling kept the secondhand smoke away from the non-smoking area without the need of installing a barrier. In the bar area a new beer cooler ensured that every glass of the brew is at the right temperature. At the back a prep station properly sorted the ingredients and Q was given a coat fit for a manager.

The grand reopening welcomed a large number of excited patrons and a huge wave of orders followed suit. The employees were overwhelmed but, true to the name, they made a comeback and served delectable food and drink. Wood and Stovall worked together cohesively and have apparently moved on from their bitter past. Taffer left the premises with both bar and partnership rescued.

Barlow’s Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update

The Comeback is still open today with mixed reviews online. Praise went to the food and the staff. Some of the criticism pointed out the loud music that drowned out the sounds of the television sets, and one Yelp review noted patrons fighting in the bar and the tires of her car slashed.

Nevertheless The Comeback is listed at number 8 in the Yelp list of The Best 10 Bars in Tucker, Georgia, and is also included in the Best Bars & Pubs in Norcross list of TripAdvisor. The Comeback actively host events, pre-game parties, and live music in the establishment.

The bar has a Facebook page but apparently they do not post much, although visitors drop in to write their reviews. Click here to visit it. Also they have no official website but they do have a page on locu.com which you can visit by clicking here.

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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