Bar Rescue - Kiva Lounge and Bar / The Morgue - CLOSED

Bar Rescue Eliphino

In this Episode of Bar Rescue Jon Taffer visits Kiva Lounge and Bar in San Marcos, Texas.

Kiva Lounge and Bar is owned by best friends from college, Miles and Henry.

They were in a band that wasn’t successful so they bought Kiva for $150,000 hoping to further their musical dreams.

They figured since the square the bar was located gets a lot for foot traffic, they would be instantly successful.

Their lack of experience shows now the bar has very few customers.

Miles now drinks a lot at the bar and is too generous with his friends, giving away free drinks.

Meanwhile, Henry is hardly ever at the bar which is now losing $5000 a month.

The bar is in disrepair and the finances are in turmoil with bounced cheques to staff and vendors.

Female patrons who have been to the bar say they would never go back.

Jon recons the bar in the daytime with expert mixologist Ashley Clark and expert chef Vic Vegas.

They see the area is a college town and there is very stiff competition with bars on every street, at every turn.

They decide to recon the bar from across the street.

Jon fills in his companions on the state of the bar and the owners.

They meet Spencer the general manger, bartenders Tara and Ed and Chris the cook.

They see Chris wipe his head with a towel which he uses to wipe his hands.

He then puts this beside another towel he uses for cooking.

He picks up French fries with his bare hands to prepare a meal.

Jon sends in his spies, two college girls which are supposed to be the demographic of the bar.

They order a daiquiri and a cosmo.

The bartender doesn’t know how to make either of the drinks.

When they are served there are particles floating in the drink as the glass wasn’t cleaned properly!

Chris delivers the food into the bar himself with his stained shirt.

The girls order their meals and Jon is timing how long it takes for them to receive it.

After 4 mins the ticket is still on the table and cooking has not even started.

In the kitchen, Chris cross contaminates the food he prepares using his sweaty, unwashed hands and uses a dirty stove.

At this point Jon has had enough and goes into the bar to confront the owners.

It is clear that they are present but not paying attention to all shortcomings of the bar.

He takes the owners to the kitchen and tells them what has been happening.

They laugh and say that Chris should use gloves.

The general manger says he just hired Chris.

He refuses to be held accountable for the activities in the kitchen and walks out.

Jon wants a commitment from the owners but Henry is still laughing and drinking at the bar.

Henry is made to clean the kitchen and it is suggested Chris be fired.

However, as he wasn’t trained on the job, he was given a grace of a day with training and if he doesn’t step up he will be fired.

The next day, Jon comes in and talks to the staff.

It is revealed the owners barely have enough to make payroll that week.

The owners should be blamed for Chris’s behaviour since they never trained him.

The staff say they are not as well known in the square and the promotions have been inconsistent.

Jon reveals the area is not cut out for expensive drinks and it is up to the bar to cater to the crowd.

There is a Bevinco report and $492 was lost by overpouring the previous Saturday.

Jon asks for one of the owners to be the responsible party for the bar and Miles is put forward by Henry.

Jon introduces his experts who will train the staff.

Ashley takes the bar staff through making basic cocktails focusing on pour counts and speed.

Vic takes the kitchen staff on making a patty melt grilled cheese sandwich.

For the stress test Miles is the leader and Henry is supporting.

The bar staff start off making some mistakes and moving slow making one drink at a time.

It took up to 15 mins for the first drinks to arrive.

Miles is acting as a runner getting the orders in.

In the kitchen, there are hiccups with something as simple as grilled cheese being messed up.

Miles is running around confused.

A customer returned a drink and he gave it to a new customer as his order.

Because the grill is too dirty the sandwiches can’t get done properly so the kitchen has to be shutdown.

Henry starts cleaning the stove.

The bar runs out of glasses so the stress test is shut down.

The next day, the bar staff are trained on easy inexpensive cocktails.

Tara is successfully making a cocktail behind the bar.

In the kitchen, Vic cooks a grilled cheese with a twist on the newly cleaned stove.

Jon sits with the owners to figure out their state of mind.

They resolve to be better partners, have regular meetings and promise to stop drinking at the bar.

The next day, Jon and the staff are gathered for the relaunch.

Both Miles and Henry are dressed more like owners than as bar patrons.

The bar has been renamed as The Morgue, which draws on the history of the building previously having been a morgue.

The outdoor area has been improved with benches for an overflow for the bar.

Inside, the place has been brightened up with more colour.

There is a photobooth by Simple Booth and artwork in the bar.

Sky Quality Signs did the graphics and signs around the bar.

Artic Concepts worked on the beer draft system which can serve over 23 ounces in a beer tower.

There are two Harbour Touch POS systems and an Orange Door Entertainment system.

They have been signed up to Servsafe, which is a sanitation training system.

They also have a subscription to Bevinco for inventory.

There is an LED Menu at the food station and Chris is given a new uniform.

The staff are happy and open for the relaunch.

On relaunch night, the bar staff are working slowly because of nerves so Miles steps in and helps serve drinks.

In the kitchen, tickets come fast and outside the bar there is a line already.

After a while, live music comes on and the customers love all the changes and have a great time.

Jon is cheered by the customers of the bar for his intervention efforts.


What Happened Next at Eliphino / Shattered Bar?

Six weeks later, it is revealed food and drinks sales are rising steadily.

They didn't keep the new name and returned to being called Kiva a few months after Jon visited.

Kiva Lounge and Bar closed in October 2019.

They announced the closure on Facebook.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - The Recovery Room Bar / The Baseline

Next episode - Eliphino / Shattered Bar

This post was last updated in May 2021.

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