Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Brixton Update 2022 – What Happened After Bar Rescue

The Brixton before Bar Rescue

The Brixton was one of the dive bars situated in the renowned Sixth Street of Austin, Texas. Newly married couple Tim and Sara Lupa purchased the punk-themed bar to save it from closing down permanently.

Sara and Tim Lupa

The couple did not change anything in the bar, thinking that their own ways of treating the customers would suffice. Sara relied on her sweetness to the patrons which was countered by her husband’s harsh behavior and a dislike towards many things. Tim’s attitude drove away customers which forced them to choose from the 57 other bars in Sixth Street, and this of course dragged The Brixton to the ground in debt. The growing heap of problems and Tim’s acerbic nature strained the couple’s relationship with the risk of losing both their marriage and their house growing in each passing day.

To save their business from shutting down for good the Lupas decided to call for Bar Rescue and Jon Taffer for help.

The Brixton on Bar Rescue

Taffer and mixologist Peter O’Connor look at The Brixton from the outside and immediately notice that the bar had nothing on its façade to draw customers in. For the recon Taffer sent his friend Clay, a hospitality professional, along with two other people into the bar to get the customer’s perspective.

The old exterior

Tim was the one behind the counter when the trio arrived and they got a taste of his attitude and bartending incompetence. He also shooed away customers who were talking loudly in the bar, leaving the trio as the sole clientele at 8 in the evening. Sara stepped in and made drinks for Clay that actually tasted good, and Tim took offense to his wife’s actions. Taffer then met with the couple and Sara was given the chance to spill everything in her mind to Tim. The man vowed to change his ways although his wife met this with skepticism.

The following day Taffer held a staff meeting and learned that the bar had neither theme nor food items. The staff also expressed their discomfort whenever the Lupas fight on the spot. O’Connor stepped in and tested the capabilities of the bartenders who gave commendable performances while Tim’s mixing ability was extremely lackluster.

At nightfall Taffer mustered hundreds of customers to The Brixton for a stress test. The bartenders were overwhelmed with orders and Tim, not used to such a huge volume of patrons, moved at a snail’s pace and fell behind. Sara, frustrated with her husband’s work, lashed out at Tim and drove him out of the bar but the latter refused to fight back and still tried to help out. Eventually things became too awkward for the customers and most of them were forced to walk out of the bar as Tim and Sara kept butting heads. After the test Taffer reminded the couple of his experience in working with his ex-wife which ended in divorce and suggested that Tim and Sara don’t work together behind the counter. Everyone in the bar agreed to that decision.

O’Connor spent the next day training the bartenders with the new vodka infusions and beer cocktails that will comprise the bar’s new menu. Taffer then discussed the future of the bar which involved changing its name to disassociate it with all the negative reputation it accumulated through the years. Tim was not aboard with the Bar Rescue host when it came to changing the name as he was too attached to The Brixton. Sara and the rest of the employees however were on the same boat with Taffer, and Tim feigned resignation to the plan and was asked to be the first to paint over the signage which he did by drawing a middle finger. Tim walked out, feeling that everyone was against him, but Sara followed him and convinced him to go through with the plans for The Brixton.

To help raise attention towards the bar Tim went to the local radio station 93.7 KLBJ for some promotion and to repair his tarnished image thanks to his past Facebook posts that were not very appropriate for a bar. Taffer then pulled the couple for a meeting with local sculptor Tommy Gregory to discuss the upcoming changes.

The new exterior

Two hours before the relaunch Taffer revealed The Brixton’s fresh new identity which was now Rocket Room 6. The name was inspired by a rocket tattoo on Tim’s arm with the number due to the bar being at Sixth Street. The façade was revamped with a small rocket installed on the roof to serve as a landmark for patrons. Latticework made of recycled wood was attached on the sides of the bar to give it the look and feel of a commercial building. The patio was decked with additional seating and a couple of electric heaters.

Inside a flow pattern connected the interior to the outdoor patio and an automatically-closing door stood between the two areas. The bar area was decked with premium liquor and glass jars that contained the infused vodka. The counter was equipped with a Chill-Rite Frost Rail which was a row of dry ice so patrons can keep their drinks cold by simply placing the mugs or bottles on top of it. The convenience store-looking cooler was replaced with a steel fridge, and a tablet behind the counter is connected to a food truck outside the bar so customers can order some grub and have it delivered straight to their table.

The Lupas welcomed hundreds of customers for the grand reopening night. Tim showed a change in attitude as he took on a managerial role while Sara was still her sweet self while she served drinks to customers. Taffer left the premises packed with smiling patrons, a rescued bar, and a bright future for the couple.

The Brixton Now in 2022 – The After Bar Rescue Update

It was obvious during the episode that Tim wasn’t a fan of renaming the bar. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that he quickly changed the name back to ‘The Brixton’ after Jon Taffer and his crew left the scene. He did, however, keep the other changes such as the new decor as well as the food truck.

And for a while, they seemed to have been doing fairly well. Reviews were mostly positive and many people had taken the time to praise the friendly staff and atmosphere. According to Tim, the changes that they’d implemented had led to a large increase in sales. At one point, they even opened up a second bar.

Unfortunately, that only lasted for a few years. The Brixton eventually closed in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which isn’t surprising given that most people weren’t able to frequent restaurants and bars at the time. As a result, they likely lost a lot of business and given the high cost of rent, it was probably only a matter of time before they folded.

Allegedly, Tim and Sara ended up selling their shares to some of the bar’s other part owners. They then used the funds to open up a new bar called ‘The Low Down Lounge’, which now operates in their old location. As of August 2022, the bar is still open. In fact, they seem to be doing quite well with a 4.5-star rating on Google. Reviews and comments are also positive on their official Facebook page.

As for Tim and Sara, they had teamed up with Kelon Bryant in 2019 to open up a classic cocktail and coffee bar called Velouria in Austin, Texas. From the looks of it, however, they’ve rebranded it to the Little Drink Lounge. At least, that’s what it seems judging from Tim’s Linkedin account. According to his profile, he’s been the ‘guy behind the guy’ at the Little Drinks Lounge since September 2019 so the timeline matches up. There’s also no mention of Velouria so that’s another hint that they’ve changed the name.

Tim Lupa and his wife have opened up a new bar called The Little Drinks Lounge (pictured above)

That’s not all, he’s also the ‘director of general amusement’ at the Drinks Lounge- the couple’s other bar so he has multiple things going on.

Sara, on the other hand, we weren’t able to find much information on. Our best guess, however, is that she’s helping Tim out at the Little Drinks Lounge. She’d opened it up with him in the first place, after all!

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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