Rocky Point Cantina Update 2018 – What Happened After Bar Rescue

Rocky Point Cantina before Bar Rescue

Rocky Point Cantina in Tempe, Arizona, first opened its doors in 2010 and was the retirement investment of Fran and Mary Massimiano for their sons Jason and Scott. Thanks to inexperience Scott’s work as the general manager of the bar was a disaster right from the get-go, and younger brother Jason did his best to keep the place from sinking.

Mary and Fram Massimiano

Scott made good use of his authority to hire a new bartender in the form of family friend Anthony, although the two often locked horns with loud outbursts. Also, given Rocky Point Cantina’s close proximity to Arizona State University, Scott hired local metal bands to attract the college crowd but he only opened the bar whenever a gig was scheduled and this decision only attracted chaos instead of profit. The rowdy congregation repelled patrons as they were too scared to enter a place teeming with aggression.

With profits on the red and Fran and Mary’s retirement savings down the drain, a call for help was made to Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue before Rocky Point Cantina goes hasta la vista.

Rocky Point Cantina on Bar Rescue

For the recon Taffer sent in three female students from Arizona State University into the bar to get the customer perspective. Jason was in the premises getting his hands dirty while Scott was missing in action, and he was met with a profanity-laced verbal lashing when he asked his big brother for help. The girls ordered cocktails that tasted like juice instead of booze and they were surprised to hear that Rocky Point Cantina doesn’t serve draft beer even when there’s a tap on the counter. Also the widespread filth on the counters and the kitchen equipment only meant disaster when the health inspector suddenly made a visit. The band’s performance for that night was too loud and the girls couldn’t even talk to each other due to the ear-piercing auditory nightmare.


The old exterior

After the recon Taffer then sent his experts namely mixologist Russell Davis and chef Tiffany Derry while he watched through the surveillance cameras. Davis confronted Anthony and dispelled the latter’s claims of being the ‘best bartender in the world’ by showing the patrons how disgusting things were behind the counter, not to mention his lackluster mixing skills. In the kitchen Derry met with the two brothers and Scott defended his laziness by saying that he was not a kitchen person. The expert chef uncovered numerous health code violations and improper food storage practices that spoke volumes about Scott’s mismanagement. Anthony and the brothers spent all night cleaning every nook and cranny as it was their only way of showing that they deserved the rescue.

Taffer and the experts returned the next day and found everything spotless. During the staff meeting Anthony was given one more chance to prove himself as Fran and Mary expressed regret at his turn to laziness. Scott walked out as he couldn’t bear the disappointed gazes of his parents, but later he came back and decided to stick around for the bar. Taffer’s first assignment for him was to clean up the wasteland of a bathroom the establishment had. Davis subjected Anthony to a bartending boot camp while Derry taught Jason the basics of cooking with his father. That night Taffer subjected Rocky Point Cantina to determine the bar’s weak links.

The first mistake popped out early in the form of a missing cash register which bogged down transactions to a crawl. The next problem was the island bar which was not being used for reasons unknown thus clogging down the main bar with congestion. The kitchen whipped out food at a snail’s pace and Mary was just as equally cumbersome. Anthony and Scott were overwhelmed at the bar area and an avalanche of orders sent the latter walking away from the firing line to take a breather. After the test Taffer insisted that Scott step down from his managerial throne as he was not capable of running the bar. The Four Peaks Brewing Company general manager Steve Lynch took the mantle and vowed the Massimianos that he will teach them the tricks for maximum profit.

To pave the way for the bar’s new incarnation Derry introduced several dishes that were comprised of small bites perfect for sharing like Cuban sandwiches and skewers. Davis concocted the Graduate and the Diablo Del Sol cocktails, the latter’s name derived from the Spanish translation of Arizona State University’s mascot the Sun Devil. To help bolster the bar’s lax roster Taffer brought in five additional employees.

The new exterior

After the renovation Rocky’s Point Cantina was renamed to Havana Cabana Bar & Grill. Taffer ditched the old bar’s Mexican concept and implemented a new pre-revolutionary Cuban nightlife theme which was unique in the area. The façade was splashed in female-oriented colors that dispelled the bar’s former reputation of being unfriendly to the ladies. The new décor and paint helped breathe new life into the bar’s dull interior, and the island bar was resurrected with a shiny coat of paint and flatscreen television sets. The back bar was outfitted with colorful shelves, a tap system that consistently poured beer at 32 degrees, and the new POS system ensured that the staff won’t have problems with transactions anymore. Finally the devastated female bathroom was given a cleanup and a pink makeover.

During the grand reopening Lynch guided Scott on how to be an effective manager. Things went on smoothly until Anthony decided to bail out after cracking under pressure. With one last problem out of the way and a rescued bar, Taffer left Havana Cabana Bar & Grill on calmer shores.

Rocky Point Cantina Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update

Things did not go well for the bar after the rescue.

Turns out Bar Rescue failed to obtain the necessary permits needed for some of the improvements they made to the bar, although they told the owners that they did secure these requirements prior to the modifications. Also some people reported that Havana Cabana went back to their old ways after the cameras left with heavy metal bands being lined up for gigs although the bar failed to secure a live entertainment permit, not to mention that they never had the said permit either back in the days of Rocky Point Cantina.

The rescue also roused the attention of the city which led to the unraveling of modifications made way back in 2010 without permits, plus a safety inspection uncovered more problems both old and new. Proper assessment and maintenance to comply with the code requirements demanded expenses that cost thousands of dollars.

Five months after the episode Havana Cabana closed down its doors for good. The building has been demolished and the place is now a vacant lot.


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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. 5 months? How sad for those parents who put it all on the line for their sons. I don’t get these people who risk EVERYTHING and put relatives in charge who have no idea on how to run a business such as this. There is no room for mis-steps and laziness like Scott exhibited. What a shame.

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