Black Light District before Bar Rescue
In 2012 Dave Franich decided to switch gears from being a construction worker to a bar owner. Lucky for him a local dive bar named Max Steiners was in the market although its asking price of $110,000 was too steep, causing Franich to recruit his good friend Gabe Lopez as an investor. Franich steered the bar’s direction towards punk rock and named it Black Light District Rock & Roll Lounge.
However the concept failed to attract the local demographic as Black Light only appealed to the fans of the genre. The ear-piercing noise gathered complaints instead of profits and Franich looked down on those who didn’t enjoy the loud blasts. He also didn’t help his employees and instead focused on the music and entertainment aspect of Black Light as he lacked knowledge in terms of bar operations. This misaligned focus eventually led to problems in equipment and sanitation that were never taken care of.
Black Light struggled to make money and the dire financial situation will eventually put employees out of work and Lopez’s investments down the drain. With time running out Franich decided to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help.
Black Light District on Bar Rescue
Black Light District’s outdoor signage lacked indication of the bar’s music genre, while the sign on the bar’s side that was supposed to say “cocktails” only said “ails” due to neglect. The interior had torn stools, filth on the corners, and a questionable scent lingered in the air. When the punk rock band played live music the volume of the sound system was jacked up way too high to compensate for the worn out speakers, making the performance an intolerable auditory nightmare and a risk of permanent ear damage to those inside.
Some of the liquor bottles on the bar had inconsistent pour spouts attached, while some had none at all. This led to almost $4,100 worth of losses in a week due to overpouring. Black Light had no food items due to the lack of a kitchen and some of the bartenders were optimistic that Franich might decide to include one in the future. Bacteria and flies settled in the drains beneath the counters and the appalling scent during recon came from a dead mouse underneath the cash register.
While the employees busied themselves at work Franich loitered behind the counter and made remarks towards patrons like calling Taffer’s recon spies “kooks”. The owner was very adamant when it came to the talk of changing the bar’s concept and had absolutely no respect towards those who didn’t share his views on punk rock, even if it was punk rocker and recon spy Joe Escalante. He was so into punk rock that he was willing to let Taffer walk out just to preserve the concept even if it meant reds on his income.
During the stress test the bartenders struggled with overpouring and more than a dozen cocktails were wasted due to this. Taffer brought in a band to perform that night and when the music blared Franich became inattentive towards his duties behind the counter. Only the owner enjoyed the music as the bad acoustics caused several patrons to walk out of Black Light. On a positive note the bartenders eventually picked up the pace and were able to whip out decent drinks. After the stress test Lopez and the employees all shared the same negative sentiments towards Franich. He took those words as criticism and told the employees that they should appreciate the effort he exerted during that night.
Expert bartender Phil Wills was the ideal man for the rescue as he had experience in bartending and the live music business. The disgusting revelations he uncovered in the bar area forced Taffer to have the place cleaned up by Franich alone. Wills provided the bar with new pour spouts and taught the bartenders how to properly pour by counting. He also came up with simple cocktails namely The LBC Crown and The Royal Vandal which were easy to make as the new music venue concept demanded drinks that were made quickly. Franich was quick to judge these new drinks, insisting that the clientele preferred hard liquor and not Taffer’s “mixed-freakin’ drink”.
Black Light’s stage was set in a corner which was a bad position as an excessive amount of soundwaves were reflected by the dense materials of the walls. Taffer installed low density foam pads on the walls as these materials reflected only 20% of sound which effectively reduced reverberation and improved sound quality. The back wall was installed with black lights and splashed in fluorescent paint to make the area stand out.
Taffer sat one on one with Franich in an attempt to get the owner on the same beat. Franich said that he wasn’t supportive of the changes as he wanted a kitchen despite again lacking knowledge on how to run one. He was too blinded with negativity that he failed to see the potential of Taffer’s changes.
Of course no transformation took place as Franich told Taffer to go home. Black Light was already halfway through renovations with some of the changes already installed and the walls inside and outside adorned with a fresh new coat of paint.
Franich explained that the bar only wanted the needed upgrades from the rescue and that Taffer didn’t know what he was talking about. The Bar Rescue host bid his farewell to the employees who were waiting outside and told them that Franich planned to revert all the changes once the show was done. Taffer fulfilled his wishes by having the show’s crew return to the bar and take away everything they installed.
Black Light District Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update
Black Light District is still open but with a huge amount of negative reviews on their Facebook and Yelp pages. Whoever managed the page responded to some of the one-star feedbacks, calling the commentors fans of “John Crapper” and posting their pictures on the comments. On August 2016 an employee named Sarah wrote on a Facebook post that the owner believed Bar Rescue paid her to leave Black Light, but in reality she was just tired fighting for the bar.
The bar seemed to welcome other genres as they featured reggae night last December 2015 and a hip-hop show a month later. They also seem to have partnered with Gordo’s Rockin Tacos as the bar recently hosted a taco party and mentioned Gordo’s on their website.
The bar maintains a very active Facebook page where they post upcoming performances and events. You can visit it by clicking here. You can also visit their official website at http://blacklightdistrictlbc.com/index.html.