Cashmere Before Bar Rescue
In 2009 entrepreneur Brandon Klintworth turned his sights towards owning a bar after experiencing success with his landscaping company. He forked $210,000 and started martini nightclub Cashmere in Raleigh, North Carolina. Locals poured in the new club and Klintworth’s earnings spiked to $60 grand a month.
Soon enough competition popped out all over the place and the patrons flocked to these newer haunts, forcing Klintworth to hire his friend James Iadanza, a.k.a. DJ Blue Steel, in hopes of recharging the bar’s lost spark. Unfortunately Iadanza turned Cashmere into his personal playground, exhibiting obnoxious behavior and antagonizing the employees, not to mention bringing in his friends to party with him.
With Cashmere down in debt and jeopardized by an immature friend-turned-manager, Klintworth called for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help.
Cashmere on Bar Rescue
Despite being situated in the busy neighborhood of Glenwood South, Cashmere lacked any crowds when Taffer performed his outside surveillance. Accompanied by his experts namely bartender Joe Brooke and service expert Jessie Barnes, Taffer noted that there was nothing outside that could attract people into the bar.
Taffer sent in two couples for the inside recon and immediately notice Iadanza sitting on the counter and drinking with friends. Chelsea, one of the bartenders, was just frozen in place behind the counter and did not even do her job. The kitchen behind the bar area was not put to good use and only served as storage. Iadanza was becoming increasingly obnoxious as the night went on, and when he did his job as a DJ he took off his shirt and only played according to his personal preference and not what the crowd wanted.
When Taffer confronted Klintworth about his friend’s actions the owner only defended Iadanza, and the latter claimed that he was “capable” of changing his ways. Iadanza took Taffer’s words as a challenge and told the Bar Rescue host that he can prove himself.
The following day Taffer returned with his experts plus chef Nick Liberato. The experts inspected Cashmere and found mostly filth in every nook and cranny, even had particles swirling inside the liquor bottles, while in the storage area Liberato counted one too many cockroaches running around. When Taffer noticed that the liquor bottles had scotch tape on the stickers he tested the proof of the drinks with a hydrometer, and Klintworth himself then admitted that bartenders refilled premium liquor bottles with cheap booze. The illegal act was done under the instruction of Iadanza who thought that it could save the bar money, oblivious to the fact that it could also cost Cashmere its liquor license. Klintworth confronted Iadanza and the latter vowed to stop acting like a manchild.
Brooke met with the bartenders and Chelsea was extremely lacking in the basics of making a martini no thanks to mismanagement. At the back Liberato introduced three simple dishes that complement a glass of martini, and on the floor Barnes trained the servers with the do’s and don’ts of proper serving. That night Taffer filled the bar to the brim with a stress test to assess the capabilities of the owners and the employees.
Brooke hovered behind the bartenders armed with an airhorn which he blew whenever they made a mistake. One of the servers named Leda was not practicing what Barnes taught her and mostly slacked off. Iadanza tried to help behind the bar but he was more of a hindrance thanks to his inexperience, and later on he was around the place as he juggled multiple responsibilities. On a positive note the cook Samir was doing a good job in the kitchen.
The morning after the stress test Iadanza was missing in action along with Leda, and Klintworth fired them both for the sake of the bar. Brooke and Taffer came up with a new drink menu composed of cocktails that have a minimal amount of ingredients to hasten serving times. Chelsea still had slipups but it was evident that she had a good working attitude. The kitchen was provided with new equipment so Samir could efficiently whip out excellent dishes. Taffer revealed his blueprints to Klintworth which included a “double deep butt funnel” and two DJ tables.
After the renovation Cashmere was renamed to Dual Ultra Nightclub, the name derived from having dual DJ tables and Taffer’s concept of Dualing deejays. From the outside you can now see the insides of the bar thanks to the windows and the lighting system that flickered with different colors. The sound systems were decked with better speakers, glassware replaced with virtually indestructible counterparts, walls adorned with artwork, and the double deep butt funnel leading to the dance floor increased the chances of patrons interacting with each other.
The grand reopening night showed how energetic Dual could be with two DJs duking it out in a showcase of killer mixes. The employees moved cohesively and Klintworth did his duties as a manager, and this good display of teamwork plus the great food and drink ensured that patrons had nothing but big smiles and commendations for Dual.
Taffer left the bar rescued and Klintworth in a better state without his friend.
Cashmere Now in 2023 – The After Bar Rescue Update
Cashmere was initially known for its unique blend of music and energetic nightlife. However, it had been struggling with financial difficulties and operational inefficiencies before appearing on Bar Rescue.
With Taffer’s help, they were able to make significant changes in the nightclub’s design, management, and overall operations. Along with these changes, the club was also renamed as “The Dragon Room” to give it a fresh identity.
However, despite the major overhaul and the national exposure from Bar Rescue, Cashmere’s fortunes did not dramatically improve. For one thing, the new changes did not generate the desired impact on its customer base and revenues, which meant the bar continued to struggle with management issues and financial instability.
To add to these woes, there were several negative customer reviews about the quality of service and the overall atmosphere at the nightclub.
In fact, just a few months after its appearance on Bar Rescue, Cashmere (known then as The Dragon Room) closed down permanently. The reasons behind its closure were not explicitly confirmed but it is believed that the recurrent financial problems and inadequate management practices led to its downfall.
As of 2023, there is a new bar at their old Raleigh location.
If anything, the story of Cashmere serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by businesses in the hospitality industry. Even with external assistance and a comprehensive overhaul, success is not guaranteed unless there’s a consistent focus on effective management, customer service, and financial stability.