Thursday, September 29, 2022

Brix Wine Bar Update – What Happened After Bar Rescue

Brix Wine Bar before Bar Rescue

In 2005, Rick Reich moved with his family to California where he opened Brix Wine Bar. The wine bar was Reich’s lifelong dream, and during its heyday it raked in a huge amount of profit.

Rick and Sharon Reich

Unfortunately, Reich was severely lacking when it comes to managing the bar. Instead he dedicated much of his time in entertaining customers as if the bar was a huge stage. Brix also lacked proper systems which ensured an agonizingly slow service, and eventually the bar ran out of supplies and other basic customer needs. The bar’s poor service and lack of organization became notorious, and clientele were forced to go somewhere else for their fill of wine.

Brix failed to make profit and instead accumulated around $180 grand worth of debt. Reich poured in his money in an attempt to keep the bar afloat but to no avail. With no other choice left, Reich decided to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help before Brix pours its last drop of wine.

Brix Wine Bar on Bar Rescue

The old exterior

From the outside, Brix had two conflicting signs. The first one read “Wine and Gourmet Experience” while the other had” Brix Brews & NY Deli”. For the recon, Taffer summons actress Maria Menounos and her partner Kevin Undergaro as the two have a taste for good wine. The spies were welcomed by a bartender who did not even know the prices of the bar’s wines. The interior also had coasters and signs that did not fit an “upscale” bar such as “da pissah” which was Reich’s term for the bathroom. Reich continuously served wine to the pair without even charging them a cent, and he was easily swayed into opening up to eight bottles. Taffer entered Brix and confronted Reich about his actions, and the latter lacked necessary knowledge about his bar. He didn’t even know how much money he’s lost in the past few months, or how much his drinks cost.

The next day Taffer returned to Brix and revealed the staggering losses of the bar during the past two days. Out of $7,500 worth of wine that was poured, only $3,000 went into the coffers. The employees then admitted that they don’t know the prices of the wines on their shelves which was wrought by Reich’s inability to set priorities. Taffer then brought his experts namely culinary master Chef Pink and sommelier Matthew Kaner. Taffer ordered Reich to act like a manager and stop acting as if the limelight was always on him, but the owner was unable to accept this and instead chose to walk out.  Reich’s wife Sharon managed to have him come back to Brix as a humbled man who finally conceded to Taffer’s instructions.

Behiind the bar, Kaner explained the concept of oxidation which occurs when a wine bottle is uncorked. Oxygen enters the wine and fuses with the bacteria that thrives in grapes, and this union converts the alcohol into acetic acid and causes the drink to taste like vinegar. It only takes up to three days before an opened bottle becomes undrinkable. To help increase profitability, Kaner introduced wine cocktails to the bartenders which also gives Brix a new beverage option. In the kitchen, Chef Pink introduced Vietnamese fried chicken which has a lower food cost and has a taste that complements wine.

During the stress test, Reich and Sharon worked with the bartenders in serving drinks. As the draft beer system was on the other side of the room, the bartenders had to leave the bar area deserted just to get a glass of cold one.  The bar also had two POS systems but only one worked throughout the test, thus crippling service even further. The kitchen was not as busy as the bar area as literally nobody ordered any food, not until Taffer himself took some customer orders. Still the kitchen didn’t get any tickets for the food orders due to an unplugged ticketing system. Once they plugged in the machine, the swarm of tickets poured in and orders quickly overwhelmed the kitchen staff.

After the test Taffer arranged for an offsite training in order to renovate Brix.  He first sat with the couple and promised that there will be new systems that will help the new bar become profitable. Kenner introduced wine cocktails that were designed to appeal to the younger demographic such as The PCH Spritzer and The Berry Currant. Chef Pink introduced new meat options for the menu like salami.

The new exterior

36 hours later Brix was renovated into Pacific Coast Wine Bar. The exterior now truly looked upscale with just one signage and a fresh coat of paint. The interior was given a total makeover with red walls, shiny new counters, and a sliding door that led into the next room decked with wine bottles. Stone decors on the walls complemented the fabrics that hung on the windows, and the white tables made the purple color of wine even more noticeable. A six tap draft beer system was installed on the bar area so bartenders won’t have to walk far just to get a glass, and four POS systems now ensured a smooth process in the entire bar.

Brix Wine Bar Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update

Pacific Coast Wine Bar is still open in 2017 but the bar went back to being Brix around three weeks after the renovation. Reich explained that the name change cost him quite a fortune as a majority of his customers were beer drinkers and they didn’t really like the bar’s focus on wine.

Brix Sunset Beach

Reich admitted that the show’s makeover somehow did wonders for Brix, and that it helped him see who among his workers were slacking off. Reich also opened a second bar named Brix at the Shore in Long Beach which was renowned for their pastrami. He admitted that the first location experienced a drop in profit as he didn’t pay much attention to it when he focused on the Long Beach bar.

Reviews were mostly positive on Facebook and Yelp. People praised the food and drink, the ambiance, and the live music. Some of the negative reviews were aimed at the intermittent quality of customer service. Also, it seems that the new management Reich brought in for Brix is the one replying to some of the comments on Yelp.

Brix maintains a very active Facebook page where you’ll see posts about upcoming events like live music and pub quizzes. You can visit the page by clicking here.  If you want to check out the Facebook page of Brix at the Shore then click here. You can also visit their official websites at http://brixsunsetbeach.com/ and http://brixattheshore.com/to-go/.

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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