Thursday, June 13, 2024

Undisputed Update for 2024 – What Happened After Bar Rescue

Undisputed before Bar Rescue

In 2009 former boxers Brian O’Shea and Miguel Torres each forked out $50 grand to open Undisputed Sports Bar & Grill. The boxing-themed bar lived up to its name as the locals of Yonkers, Manhattan crowded into the place and brought a good amount of income into the owners’ pockets.

bar rescue undisputed owners
Brian O’Shea and Miguel Torres

O’Shea was confident that Undisputed’s success was permanent as he drank and danced with the patrons, and when his pals came to visit he gave them shots on the house. The bar’s standards and security deteriorated over time and patrons were forced to seek out safer and more decent establishments, and the employees also lost their drive to work.

With a hundred grand in debt, a declining bar, and a friendship about to turn into a brutal boxing match, O’Shea and Torres decided to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue before Undisputed gets TKO’d.

Undisputed on Bar Rescue

Taffer deployed three men for the recon on Undisputed. They were served warm beer and undercooked chicken wings, and O’Shea was being his obnoxious and intoxicated self during that night. Taffer then entered the bar and confronted the drunken owner while his experts bartender Russell Davis and chef Aaron McCargo inspected their areas of expertise. Davis uncovered the bar’s deceptive act of pouring cheap booze into expensive bottles, and McCargo revealed the bad quality of food in the kitchen thanks to improper storage practices and the incorrect temperature of the fridge. The revelations obviously pissed off the patrons which stirred an air of violence, causing them to attack the Bar Rescue crew until the authorities arrived.

bar rescue undisputed old exterior
The old exterior

The next day Taffer returned and once again witnessed O’Shea’s fury when the co-owner was confronted by the staff regarding his attitude in the bar. A former employee gave her testimony regarding how unsafe Undisputed was due to O’Shea’s habit of letting virtually anybody into the premises without even considering security. Taffer was equally incensed as he reminded the co-owner that his crew was like family to him and how they were viciously attacked last night while O’Shea just drank in a corner without a care in the world. Once things were finally sorted out the experts began their work in training the staff.

McCargo taught the cook how to blanch chicken wings, or immersing them in hot oil for a couple of minutes to make the skin crispy and the insides juicy and not overcooked. Davis introduced simple cocktails and sharpened the speed and consistency of the bartenders, and during this part he found out that the staff was capable of working cohesively. Prior to the start of the stress test Taffer brought in three security personnel to help keep things in order when the bar got packed.

The patrons for the test were composed of young professionals and their overwhelming numbers swamped the employees of Undisputed. The lack of a system resulted in confusion and delivery of orders to the wrong tables, and some patrons complained about the presence of glass shards in their drinks which forced the bartenders to completely empty and replace their stock of ice. Taffer noticed that the employees had heart and their true potential was only hampered.

After the test Taffer and the experts laid out the blueprint for Undisputed’s new concept. The bar needed to impart a cosmopolitan Manhattan feel and focus on a sophisticated audience as none of the nearby establishments had that kind of theme. Fresh food choices and flavorful cocktails were integral to this new incarnation, coupled by beefier security so patrons will have nothing to fear when they enter the premises. Taffer then brought the staff in a nearby boxing ring where the two owners unleashed their frustrations through an intense round of the sweet science, and the taste of punches to the face helped the two repair their relationship.

bar rescue undisputed new exterior
The new exterior

The renovation turned Undisputed Sports Bar & Grill to SO/YO Craft Bar which stood for South Yonkers. Contemporary colors like yellow and blue were splashed on the façade and the bar’s dress code was now indicated on the door. The interior was given a classier look with cozy new furniture and soft lighting on the brick walls. Behind the counter three new POS systems were installed, plus a new draft beer system ensured that pours were always in the correct temperature. In the kitchen a new refrigeration system worth $90,000 kept the food from spoiling.

Torres and O’Shea worked well like brothers along with the employees during the grand reopening night and the customers loved the items and the comfortable ambiance of SO/YO Craft Bar. Taffer and his experts left the premises after rescuing both bar and a fractured friendship.

Undisputed Now in 2024 – The After Bar Rescue Update

Things seemed to look up after Jon Taffer’s visit. Sales were up and everything seemed to be going well.

That didn’t last long, however. Within a few months, things had reverted back to the way they were. Sales were down by 60% and less than stellar reviews began coming in on Yelp. Not only did their leniency toward the dress code come under fire, but many customers also criticized their poor service.

According to Torres, “[…] there was no way [they] would be able to stay open” if they kept the system that they were using (the new one that Taffer had implemented). So they ditched the changes and went back to their originals ways—the ones that they’d used prior to being on the show.

And for a short while, that seemed to help. However, they still got their fair share of “rowdy” patrons. At one point, it got so bad that they were getting fined by local officers on a weekly basis. Between July 2015 and April 2016 alone, they received 65 visits by the police, 17 of which resulted in felony charges.

To make matters worse, there was a shooting right outside the bar in August 2015. They were also closed by the health department for a violation of the sanitary code a month later. While they eventually managed to reopen, they were still receiving fines for frequent violations of the regulations.

Fast forward to 2016 and the bar was put up for sale by the owners. According to online records, the asking price was $150,000, however, they received no offers. It’s unknown whether or not they were able to sell it in the end but as of 2022, the bar is no longer open. By the time they’d closed, their reviews had dropped to the 3-star range, which wasn’t surprising given the fact that they were receiving constant violations.

kala an mul bar
Undisputed Sports Bar and Grill was replaced by Kala ‘an Mul after it closed down

If you were to search up their address online, you’ll find that there’s now a new bar called Kala’un Mul in their old location. What’s interesting, though, is that according to Google, they’re permanently closed. Recent reviews mention the same thing—that they’re no longer open. From the looks of it, however, they’d already been operating for a few years.

Will a new bar be opening sometime soon or maybe even in 2024? It’s hard to say. With that said, one thing is for sure—the Undisputed SO/YO Craft Beer Bar won’t be returning anytime soon.

Anthony Coyle
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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