The Bridge Lounge before Bar Rescue
In 2003, the late Bill Cladakis had a vision of becoming a bar owner. So when The Bridge Lounge, a local fisherman’s bar, went up for sale, Bill jumped at the chance of making his dream come true. Manny Cladakis, his son, said that his father saw it as a dream for retirement. Wife and widow Harriet Cladakis agrees. When the bar opened, it was an immediate success. In 2007, Bill was ecstatic to learn that his only son, Manny, had left New York to help him run the bar. Manny enjoyed the break from working at a hospital, and this was exciting and different. It was something not organized, formalized, everything that he had done for the past 12 or 13 years.
The Bridge Lounge was a local hometown bar, and they had a lot of fisherman and deckhands who would come in and unwind. They were making well over $12,000 to $13,000 gross a month, but everything changed. In 2010, the entire area was hit by a devastating blow which led to the demise of the local sponge industry. They took a big hit when the BP Oil Spill affected a lot of the businesses, namely theirs. The fishermen lost their jobs, and as a result of all the guys moving away and finding new jobs, the business lost 75% of its income and clientele. It has been very difficult to keep the bar afloat. In April of 2015, Bill passed away, and Manny was left to run the bar on his own.
At the time of his father’s passing, Manny knew he had to step up, slo he decided to make his good friend, Gary, his manager. Gary opens and closes for him, and does whatever it takes to keep the business running. The rest of the family did not agree with Manny’s decision to bring Gayr onboard. Some of Manny’s family members believe that Gary is here to take advantage, and that he simply sits on a bar stool and collects his paycheck. Harriet believes that if Gary did things better, the business would be better. Now with Manny at the helm, struggling to keep his father’s legacy alive, his mother Harriet is left to cover the $4,000 a month losses with her retirement fund. Harriet wants to keep going because of her husband’s dream. Now facing the threat of losing his father’s legacy, Manny has reached out to Bar Rescue and Jon Taffer for help.
The Bridge Lounge on Bar Rescue
Outside of The Bridge Lounge, Anna Cladakis, Manny’s sister, and Jon Daly, a professional golfer married to Anna Cladakis, enter the car with Jon. Jon says that the Bridge Lounge is a great little piece of property, but they have to make it work by getting everyone on the same page. Anna says that the bar was bought for $750,000, and Jon says that the bar was something he absolutely loved going to. Jon points out the first thing, which is the sign. The sign is faded and the light bulbs are burnt out all over the place. Anna’s father’s legacy is faded and falling apart. When you look at the place, it’s a small little bar, contained in the number one Greek area in the country. It is also the sponge capital of the world.
The BP Oil Spill indeed had a huge impact, as the Bridge Lounge is a local blue collar neighborhood bar and should be packed. A lot of the losses are coming out of Harriet’s pension and two rental properties, and Jon Daly says that it is simply a money pit. Inside the bar, Manny works behind the bar. Gary sits at a table, doing nothing. One of the bartenders ask why Gary isn’t doing any work and points out that Manny is running around like a dog. In the car, Jon Daly says that Gary is namely Manny’s friend and a manager second. Nobody trusts him, and he has no experience. Manny looks stressed and Anna points out that he doesn’t like conflict. He leans on Gary for conflicts, and Gary tries to point out that he was a manager for 14 years. Crissy, Manny and Anna’s sister, gets into a big fight with Gary and asks him for details on his managerial experience. Gary just says he can’t remember any of it.
The customers all look completely uncomfortable, but Manny is the voice of reason and begs for the two to focus on the customers. Jon asks for more details, since nobody acts like that out of the gate. They used to sit as a little family, but since Gary showed up, they haven’t actually sit as a family. Jon knows he can get the truth out of Gary, but first, he sends in his two spies, Brody and Rose from a local bar. The two spies enter the 1,900 square foot space, grossing $28 per square foot in sales, $122 less than the required break even point of $150 per square foot. The two enter and seat themselves at the bar.
Rose asks for a menu, and the bar does not have any food or even a kitchen. One of the drinks is a “spring crush” and Brody orders a screwdriver. The drinks are horrible, and the screwdriver tastes like pineapple. The juice actually expired today, and Jon says that expired juice is one of the most foul things ever. Rose’s drink is strong, and when she asks what it was, the bartender says “island punch.” None of the drinks were good, and even a little “vomit-esque.” Shortly after the spies receive their drinks, one of the bartenders again picks a fight with Gary.
When Gary came in, within the next week, the floor was gutted entirely. Anna asked Manny what was happening, but Manny said that Gary had the idea to start a project of remodeling. The bar is a testament when you run out of money, as they are stuck in the middle. The back bar is built with two-by-fours and has never even been painted, and the floor is full of plywood and sheetrock. Crissy asks again why Gary hasn’t fixed the floor, and a big blowout fight starts. Anna says that she’s worked up and will take a lot to slow her down, and Jon storms into the bar to both stop the fight and set things right.
The Bridge Lounge Now in 2018- The After ‘Bar Rescue’ Update
The Bridge Lounge is a curious case – it is a very small and very local bar, so why the appearance on bar Rescue? The bar has been thriving since its filming in early 2016, and reviews are positive for the bar since. Prior to the episode of Bar Rescue, no reviews could be found at all for the bar. The bar has an average 3 star review on Facebook and an even-worse average 2.5 star review on Yelp, across 82 and 20 reviews respectively. Most of the people have praised the renovations of the bar, which have made things far more comfortable, but a lot of criticism comes from allowing the patrons of the bar to openly smoke inside. The food is not that great, according to numerous reviews, but those looking for a little darker bar seem to love it.
The Cladakis family appears to be a bit of a dysfunctional one; Anna Cladakis, Manny’s sister, had a baby with Outback Steakhouse founder Chris Sullivan. She currently receives $7,500 a month in child support, which will last until the child is 18 in 2023. Crissy Cladakis sued her parents, including Manny, for $95,000 that she was not paid for her management services. She also filed for bankruptcy in 2011.