Y-Not III before Bar Rescue
Y-Not III is the third branch of the highly-popular Y-Not chain of bars in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ran by the DePalma family. Tony DePalma opened the first Y-Not way back in 1970 followed by another branch a year later. His daughter Monica joined the bar business and opened her own establishment named Monicas while his son Nick helmed Y-Not III.
Unfortunately, Nick had zero experience in running a bar and Y-Not III became the weakest link in the trio. Desperation drove Nick to host stage shows in the bar, from burlesque to highly-inappropriate acts, but none of these methods attracted clientele. Problems caused by Nick’s lack of leadership also turned the bartenders into uninspired workers and a huge interior space was underutilized.
The downward spiral caused Y-Not III to lose around $65 grand a year with barely any income flowing into the coffers. With the DePalma legacy at stake Nick reached out to Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help.
Y-Not III on Bar Rescue
Y-Not III looked like a house from the outside with a single signage and no other decor. The interior was spacious yet it wasnt put to good use and most of the furniture were neglected. Monica revealed to Taffer that Nick inherited the bar in this condition and he didn’t even lift a finger in doing necessary repairs or replacements. The bar had no stock of Smirnoff (a very popular brand in the area), the whiskey shots they served were too plain and lacked creativity, and the Milwaukee dice game on the counter effectively gave away free booze to winning patrons.
The upstairs bar was like a totally different world with male patrons lying on the counters and having body shots, and Tony only watched them in utter amusement. His lack of management skills was evident when he chose to walk out of the bar instead of reprimanding the rowdy customers. When Taffer confronted Nick in the staff meeting the owner had nothing to say when he was asked what he would do to save Y-Not III. Nick not only received money from his father, he also never paid rent and borrowed cash and products from Monica. An irate Taffer then mentioned that Nick only took nine years to tarnish the Y-Not name which was well-preserved for over five decades.
The next day Taffer returned with expert bartender Mia Mastroianni to kickstart the rescue. Mastroianni provided the bar with a couple of Smirnoff bottles and taught bartenders a couple of cocktails that used the said premium liquor. Nick’s mixing skills were found to be lacking when the expert bartender tested his capabilities and it seemed that he wasn’t willing to exert effort to actually learn the ropes. Taffer met with Tony and the loving father was unable to show his son some tough love even if it was for the bar’s sake. During the stress test Nick was assigned as a barback and he was clueless as to what he was supposed to do. The bartenders were able to whip out excellent cocktails in record time which was a stark contrast to Nick’s sluggish pace. Later on Nick was promoted as a bartender but he was still as slow as a sleepy turtle, outskilled by his very own employees.
After the test Nick was asked to give up the keys to Y-Not III and he assigned his cousin / bartender Angelica as the new general manager while he took a step away from the bar. Taffer had Y-Not III renovated into Nick’s House with a fresh batch of colors on the facade and a signage that screamed “70’s party bar” and with an association to the Y-Not’s extensive legacy. The bar’s interior was given a new splash of bright paint and, to properly reflect the new name, the place was fitted with living and dining rooms as if it was indeed a house. A new POS system was outfitted behind the counter and an Orange Door entertainment system provided not only music but also trivia games that catered to all ages.
During the grand reopening night the flock of thirsty patrons loved Nick’s House and Nick handed the keys to Angelica, thus relieving him of a heavy burden. Now Nick was more relaxed knowing that his family’s legacy was safe in capable hands.
Y-Not III Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update
Six weeks later Nick’s House enjoyed a 200% increase in sales while under Angelica’s leadership.
The reviews on Yelp after the rescue were mixed. Patrons criticized the bar’s gloomy overall atmosphere, inconsistent customer service, and some have mentioned that Nick’s House was barely populated by clientele. The 70’s theme was met with ambivalence as well. On Facebook there were comments stating that the bar sold some of the items installed by Bar Rescue and that there wasn’t much improvement after the cameras left.
On April 30, 2016, the bar posted an event on its Facebook page which served as a farewell party. Angelica commented that the bar was already put up for sale even before the start of the rescue and that the upgrades they had from the show boosted the establishment’s price tag.
Real estate investment firm Spectrum Holdings bought Nick’s Place and introduced it to the wrecking ball last July 2016. The place was left vacant and there were plans of putting a sculpture garden there.