Caribe Night Club before Bar Rescue
In 2004 Juan Pablo “J.P.” Martinez and his wife Edith flew out of the Dominican Republic and relocated to San Diego, California so J.P. could help his brother run Caribe Night Club. Three years later J.P. was given full control of the nightclub and, despite his lack of experience, it still flourished and raked in $90,000 on a monthly basis.
In 2012 J.P.’s mother passed away. The nightclub owner slipped into depression and lost focus on managing Caribe. Standards quickly went down the drain as sanitation problems became synonymous with the nightclub. Eventually, J.P.’s priorities shifted from being an owner to a customer. He drank with the patrons and his constant inebriation drove Edith to the boiling point. She gave him an ultimatum: straighten up or he’ll find himself without a wife.
With Caribe Night Club down to $300 grand worth of debt, and with her family on the line, Edith reached out to Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help.
Caribe Night Club on Bar Rescue
Edith met with Taffer in his car outside the bar. She revealed that she threw away her medical career just to fly with J.P. to San Diego and work in the nightclub’s kitchen. She also told the Bar Rescue host that J.P. was too preoccupied with work that he virtually neglected his wife. Taffer noted that the nightclub’s signage was unprofessional and even Edith herself agreed that it was not very eye-catching. The interior of the bar looked absolutely bland as Edith stated that it was updated eight years ago. Also, despite being a Caribbean bar, the place lacked mojitos, made poor margaritas, and their kitchen was not even operational. J.P. was at the premises, drinking shots with the patrons and flirting with the women. He even went as far as pointing to the women that there was no ring in his ring finger, while Edith watched in Taffer’s vehicle.
Edith brought a surprise of her own: gift-wrapped divorce papers. Taffer and Edith entered Caribe and confronted J.P. while he was busy flirting with the ladies. Edith then handed her “anniversary gift” to her husband (who also forgot what occasion it was). Edith then stormed out of the nightclub and J.P. followed her, although he was more concerned about being embarrassed in front of the patrons. He also defended his earlier “ring finger” statement by saying that he was a businessman. Distraught, Edith left him and Taffer promised her that the rescue will commence but it was for her and her daughters.
The next day Taffer returned to the nightclub with mixologist Mia Mastroianni and Latin chef Anthony Lamas. Miroslava, one of the bartenders, volunteered to be Edith’s replacement in the kitchen as the latter didn’t return to Caribe. Taffer was extremely vocal regarding his feelings towards the “scumbag” owner and even the employees themselves no longer had respect for their boss.
Taffer and Mastroianni inspected the bar area and saw not only the filth on the counters, but also the dozens of dead fruit flies inside the bottles of booze. J.P. insisted that the insects inside the bottles were planted by Taffer’s people. After the staff members cleaned up the bar, Mastroianni began training the bartenders. She taught them how to pour properly by following the beat of the bachata, a Dominican Republic social dance, and how to make a mojito. In the kitchen, Lamas taught Miroslava how to make chicharrones as she still lacked experience for more challenging dishes. Taffer sat with J.P. who was now humbled as he realized that he needed the help of Bar Rescue. He also apologized to Edith who suddenly appeared, and she told him that she’ll give him another chance if he straightened up.
During the stress test, J.P. was leading the cavalry while Edith watched him like a hawk. The owner showed massive improvement and worked hard with his employees. Temptation came in the form of a trio of beautiful ladies who tried to pressure J.P. into taking a shot with them. Unfortunately for the women, J.P. was able to resist their siren song, much to Edith’s delight. After the test J.P. earned praise from Taffer and the employees now sang praises to their superior.
The renovation turned Caribe Night Club into La Luz Ultra Lounge. The name was derived from J.P.’s mother (Lucia) and daughter (Lucelis). It also meant “The Light” in English. The exterior didn’t look that different from Caribe, only had a new signage and a fresh coat of paint on some parts. The interior now looked way better with the bland gray walls splashed in brown, while relaxing and soft colors of pink, red, and black were dominant. The ultralounge was set in a separate room that’s splashed in white and with energetic dance lights so the guests can have an area for partying, and an area for relaxation.
Caribe Night Club Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update
La Luz Ultra Lounge is still open in 2017.
Their Yelp page only has two reviews for this year. As for their Facebook page, the feedback was mostly positive. Praise went to the dance floors, the hookah, and the food. Some pointed out that there was no security in the bar, along with the intermittent negative feedback about customer service.
The bar features events like salsa and bachata dance lessons, contests, and live music. They also host VIP nights with different genres for each of the rooms. Last May 27 they celebrated their second year anniversary with special guest, bachata sensation Braulio Rodriguez.