Bar Rescue - Sand Dollar / Bar 702 - CLOSED

Bar Rescue Sand Dollar

In this episode of Bar Rescue Jon Taffer visits Sand Dollar in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sand Dollar opened in 1976 as a blues and betting bar.

The bar was popular in the 70s due to live performances by the likes of Eric Clapton and BB King.

In 2006 Blues music is no longer popular and the bar closed.

It remained closed until Lisa Guerena borrowed money from friend Dr Paul Wilkes to buy the bar in 2012.

They had a previous relationship but now they are business partners and joint owners.

They host live Blues shows but it only attracts the older crowd.

Lisa is in debt and only makes money in the bar by working behind the bar.

The staff feel that she is neglecting managing the bar.

They also think that she fails to see Paul driving away female customers.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Jen J and professional gamer Anthony Curtis.

Outside the bar they cannot tell if it is a bar or its famous background.

Jon breaks down the history of the bar and has his wife spy on the bar and its services along with her friend.

They think that the bar is run down, disgusting and old.

The bar is empty and no one is listening to the blues band playing.

Paul is playing pool, while of the 14 slot machines only 2 are being played which is a missed revenue opportunity.

Nicole and her friend order a screwdriver and a lemon drop, which they proceed to make in a plastic cup.

They lazily serve a cranberry and vodka instead of a screwdriver and the alcohol is too strong.

Paul notices Nicole when she complains about her drink.

Nicole asks to order some food and is told that they don't serve food at the bar.

After ordering a disappointing drink in a plastic cup Paul encourages Nicole to order something else and give them a second chance.

She orders a Sex on the Beach cocktail and he makes an inappropriate comments asking for some bags of sand before telling her he has no filter.

Paul next asks Erica if she has kids and if not does she want one.

Paul proceeds to hit on Jon Taffer’s wife and her friend and gets offensive very quickly.

He starts making comments on private parts and one of them relieving him with their hands.

He puts his hands on Jon’s wife to see her arm and makes comments about her private parts.

Unsurprisingly Jon loses it and storms into the bar to confront him on the behaviour towards his wife.

He calls out Paul for being disrespectful and leaves with his wife saying he is not interested in rescuing the bar.

Jon decides to meet with Paul and Lisa the next day where Paul apologies to Nicole for his behaviour.

He goes on to describe his connections to Lisa and why he wants her and the bar to succeed and Jon is touched by this.

Jon meets with the staff just afterwards and they are called out on not knowing how to make the basic drinks they had asked for the night before.

Lisa is called out for spending too much time working rather than managing the bar.

They are unhappy when she argues that her staff do not care about the business.

The staff start exchanging words and Jon leaves them to talk between themselves.

Lisa speaks to them and they believe she does not trust them to do their job which she does not agree with and gets defensive.

They later go back to Jon and say all is well.

Jon introduces his experts and they inspect the bar and give feedback on the lack of gaming machines.

Jon points out the bar has fluorescent lighting and that it is bad for bars.

They inspect the bar area and find bar rot, layers of dirt, unidentified splatters and a live cockroach is found.

Lisa admits that roaches are found from time to time at the bar.

Jenny tests the bar staff on basic drinks and no one knows what is in them.

Jenny trains them on making a lemon drop.

Afterwards, they fumble through recreating the drink.

She tasks them to memorize the drinks and have a system of storing drinks.

Anthony teaches the owners on ensuring players keep playing and the connection to selling drinks behind the bar.

For the stress test Lisa is not allowed behind the bar but asked to manage the bar instead.

A blues band has been invited to play that night.

The stress test starts and the bar is packed, Lisa has a cow bell in the bar and hits it every time service is bad and drinks are made incorrectly.

Soon she is tired of ringing as so many things go wrong with service and the drink making.

Paulie makes so many mistakes behind the bar that he is made to help as a server and help run food.

Lisa notices her bartenders are struggling and she gets behind the bar once again and misses managing the game table.

The gamers complain of the games being hard to win and start leaving.

The blues band takes the stage and the customers are not impressed with the music.

The stress test ends horribly and Jon tells them Blues is not something that works for them.

The next morning, the Sand Dollar sign is taken down and Lisa is emotional about it.

Anthony recommends they pay out more on the machines as the more customers win.

The more that they win the more that they spend at the bar.

Jon points out the lack of a food menu is also a problem.

The staff are trained again on cocktails that are served in beer mugs which will be their unique selling point.

The staff continue practicing and Paulie improves greatly, impressing Jen.

The bar is renovated for over a day and in the night a brand-new bar is revealed.

The bar will now be called Bar 702, which is inspired by the area code of Las Vegas.

The exterior is bolder and eye-catching.

Inside is fun and colourful with an upscale look and a suspect line up wall photobooth for novelty mug shots.

There is a tribute wall for the Sand Dollar showcasing Vegas History.

The place was professionally cleaned as it was so filthy.

A window has been added between their bar and the restaurant next door to deliver food to their customers.

Orders can be placed through phones or tablets.

Thundergroup provided the new hard plastic drinkware that look like glasses.

They have a glass washing system and a local band has been booked to play that night.

The set up and open the bar to customers for the relaunch night.

On relaunch night, the patrons love the new space, the photobooth, the new cocktails, the food window and Paulie is doing great.

A gamer came back and he is happy with the change in pay outs.

Lisa jumps behind the bar to help and Jon is disappointed.

She decides to swap a server and a bartender so they can meet up with the crowd.

The band performs and it is not a blues band and the young clientele are responding positively to the new music.

Jon takes a mugshot before leaving.


What Happened Next at Sand Dollar / Bar 702?

Six weeks later it is revealed that there a lot of local traffic.

Lots of bands want to play at the venue.

Spending on the video poker machines increased by 33% and they are seeing a profit.

Bar 702 was sold to a new owner in May 2014.

Brooke Alexander bought the bar after opening a string of successful bars in Chicago and had always wanted to open in Vegas.

In November 2019, The Sand Dollar was renamed to The Miracle on Spring Mountain with a holiday theme with holiday cocktails.

Paul Wilkes filed a lawsuit that claimed Jon had attacked him, throwing a drink in his face and punching him.

The case was settled in arbitration.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Stand Up Scottsdale

Next episode - Cashmere / Duel Ultra Nightclub

This post was last updated in April 2021.

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