Undisputed before Bar Rescue
In 2009 former boxers Brian O’Shea and Miguel Torres each forked out $50 grand to open Undisputed Sports Bar & Grill. The boxing-themed bar lived up to its name as the locals of Yonkers, Manhattan crowded into the place and brought a good amount of income into the owners’ pockets.
O’Shea was confident that Undisputed’s success was permanent as he drank and danced with the patrons, and when his pals came to visit he gave them shots on the house. The bar’s standards and security deteriorated over time and patrons were forced to seek out safer and more decent establishments, and the employees also lost their drive to work.
With a hundred grand in debt, a declining bar, and a friendship about to turn into a brutal boxing match, O’Shea and Torres decided to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue before Undisputed gets TKO’d.
Undisputed on Bar Rescue
Taffer deployed three men for the recon on Undisputed. They were served warm beer and undercooked chicken wings, and O’Shea was being his obnoxious and intoxicated self during that night. Taffer then entered the bar and confronted the drunken owner while his experts bartender Russell Davis and chef Aaron McCargo inspected their areas of expertise. Davis uncovered the bar’s deceptive act of pouring cheap booze into expensive bottles, and McCargo revealed the bad quality of food in the kitchen thanks to improper storage practices and the incorrect temperature of the fridge. The revelations obviously pissed off the patrons which stirred an air of violence, causing them to attack the Bar Rescue crew until the authorities arrived.
The next day Taffer returned and once again witnessed O’Shea’s fury when the co-owner was confronted by the staff regarding his attitude in the bar. A former employee gave her testimony regarding how unsafe Undisputed was due to O’Shea’s habit of letting virtually anybody into the premises without even considering security. Taffer was equally incensed as he reminded the co-owner that his crew was like family to him and how they were viciously attacked last night while O’Shea just drank in a corner without a care in the world. Once things were finally sorted out the experts began their work in training the staff.
McCargo taught the cook how to blanch chicken wings, or immersing them in hot oil for a couple of minutes to make the skin crispy and the insides juicy and not overcooked. Davis introduced simple cocktails and sharpened the speed and consistency of the bartenders, and during this part he found out that the staff was capable of working cohesively. Prior to the start of the stress test Taffer brought in three security personnel to help keep things in order when the bar got packed.
The patrons for the test were composed of young professionals and their overwhelming numbers swamped the employees of Undisputed. The lack of a system resulted in confusion and delivery of orders to the wrong tables, and some patrons complained about the presence of glass shards in their drinks which forced the bartenders to completely empty and replace their stock of ice. Taffer noticed that the employees had heart and their true potential was only hampered.
After the test Taffer and the experts laid out the blueprint for Undisputed’s new concept. The bar needed to impart a cosmopolitan Manhattan feel and focus on a sophisticated audience as none of the nearby establishments had that kind of theme. Fresh food choices and flavorful cocktails were integral to this new incarnation, coupled by beefier security so patrons will have nothing to fear when they enter the premises. Taffer then brought the staff in a nearby boxing ring where the two owners unleashed their frustrations through an intense round of the sweet science, and the taste of punches to the face helped the two repair their relationship.
The renovation turned Undisputed Sports Bar & Grill to SO/YO Craft Bar which stood for South Yonkers. Contemporary colors like yellow and blue were splashed on the façade and the bar’s dress code was now indicated on the door. The interior was given a classier look with cozy new furniture and soft lighting on the brick walls. Behind the counter three new POS systems were installed, plus a new draft beer system ensured that pours were always in the correct temperature. In the kitchen a new refrigeration system worth $90,000 kept the food from spoiling.
Torres and O’Shea worked well like brothers along with the employees during the grand reopening night and the customers loved the items and the comfortable ambiance of SO/YO Craft Bar. Taffer and his experts left the premises after rescuing both bar and a fractured friendship.
Undisputed Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update
A month after the episode SO/YO Craft Bar’s sales plummeted as the bar’s focus on young professionals didn’t go well in the long run. The efforts of Bar Rescue only helped for a couple of weeks at best.
SO/YO Craft Bar had a good number of positive reviews on Facebook while things were a bit more ambivalent on Yelp. Criticisms targeted the bar’s leniency towards the dress code and the occasional poor customer service. On August 02, 2015 a man was shot right outside the bar, and an hour later another man was shot a few blocks away.
A month later the bar was closed after an apparent violation of the sanitary code of NY State. They reopened shortly afterwards and received complaints towards bad food and drink. Torres admitted that they were repeatedly getting fined for frequent violations of the regulations.
On January 2016 the bar was put up for sale. An article on Hamlethub reported SO/YO Craft Bar’s return to the old ways with brawls and a redacted dress code. In July the owners talked about the bar’s selling price which was at $150,000. An article on lohud mentioned that SO/YO had 65 police visits from July 2015 to April 2016, and on March 12, 2016 the bar had 110 patrons which was way past its legal capacity of 49.