Bar Rescue - Royal Oaks - OPEN

Bar Rescue - Royal Oaks


On this episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer visits Royal Oaks in Youngstown, Ohio. The bar has some heritage, it was the first bar to receive a liquor licence after Prohibition ended. Owners and brothers John and Louie Kennedy bought the bar in 2000 and business was booming due to the loyal customer base.  

The owners made $500,000 profit in their first year as owners. As the economy fell into recession in 2008, work in the area fell and the population left the area in search of jobs and many local businesses closed. They started losing $5000 a month and their relationship became strained. 

Jon arrives at the bar with the local mayor John, they immediately notice that the building looks unsafe and there is a lot of clutter outside. They view the owners on the cameras and Louie is using vulgar language in front of customers! For the recon, Jon sends in some local ladies to the bar. They are shocked at the decor of adult toys on the walls and legs from mannequins on the ceiling. 

Despite the bar supposedly having a top of the range beer cooling system they are served warm beer with a thick layer of foam.  The bar has a kitchen but the food is prepared offsite at the cooks home and reheated. This is illegal in the state as the kitchen would not be subject to a health inspection. 

Jon sends in his spies to the bar but due to the behaviour from the brother the spies leave. Infuriated by their behaviour Jon storms into the bar to confront the owners.  John is drunk and Louie laughs at Jon whilst he is shouting at them. Jon walks out of the bar as he is not getting through the owners.

Jon returns the next morning with experts Gerry and Kevin. John apologises to Jon and admits he was wrong whereas Louie defends his bizarre decor around the bar.  The brothers agree to work together to improve the bar.

The experts introduce a new mead cocktail and Kevin teaches the kitchen to marinade and barbecue chicken. For the stress test John is to be in the kitchen and Louie is to work the bar and floor. The stress test is a disaster, service is slow and Louie is not pushing the new cocktail and is focusing on beer and shots sales. John excels in the kitchen but was let down by the service on the floor. 

The next day more changes are introduced with a new smoker, two new cocktails and brisket will be added to the menu. Jon sits down with the owners in order to change Louie's behaviour and he reluctantly agrees to the changes to the decor.

The renovations are revealed and Jon reveals that he isn't going to change the name of the bar.  Instead he has renovated both the inside and outside of the bar. He has also installed an ice machine and a new system so they are able to serve a cold beer.

For relaunch evening, the bar is packed and despite a few hitches the relaunch is a success. 



What Happened Next?

Royal Oaks is open. Both Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews are mostly positive. 

The owners discussed bringing back the old decor but decided to stay with Jons changes. They have however restored their previous menu. After the show they would have a wait for tables and after the hype died down they are still busy. 

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