The Dugout / Press Box - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Bar Rescue The Dugout

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits The Dugout at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

The Dugout is owned by Ed Cressy.

He was a landlord to the Dugout but the owners defaulted in rent and were unable to pay.

He evicted them and took over the business in 2011.

It was a business that he never planned to have.

The bar follows the seasons of the stadium close by and the staff and customers leave once it is over.

Emily is a bartender at the bar and she is not happy with how Ed runs it so they clash often.

Ed is overwhelmed by the workload and drinks a lot.

He is known for creating promotions and weird marketing drives that do not work.

They are currently in the off season at the stadium.

The bar is $30,000 in debt and is losing $5,000 a month.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Phil Wills and expert chef Ryan Scott.

They notice the area has a lot of foot traffic but the bar does not stand out on the street.

They see the owner fight with Emily on the video footage and see the interior of the bar looks nothing like a sports bar.

Jon fills the experts in about the bar.

There are four bartenders with one of them working as a shot girl.

Jon has a sportswriter and a companion act as spies and recon the bar.

They order a Long Island iced tea and a shandy.

Jon, his experts and even the spies notice the big jug of Ed’s signature cocktail named ‘Hot Pussy’.

Emily explains the drink and Jon and his experts are not impressed with the concoction.

The spies ask for a burger but are told it is only available on game days.

Instead they order mac and cheese and a ranch salad.

In the kitchen, they see unsanitary cooking practices, cross-contamination and flies in the kitchen and bar.

Jon has his experts go in to stop the food service and then inspect the bar.

Ryan shows Ed, who is still cooking, the grease and food build up on the fryer and he does not seem to care.

At the bar, Phil has a bartender make a long island fishbowl.

It tastes horrible and the bartender says they have no recipes or training.

Ed serves the meal he prepared and is confronted by Phil.

He comes across as uncaring when told what is wrong with the bar.

Jon is unimpressed by Ed’s passive nature and goes in to try and get him to show some remorse over the poor practices.

The kitchen is shut down and Ryan is asked to throw out all the food stored there.

Ed is still unapologetic and flips off Jon as he leaves.

He is only sad about all of the food that was thrown out.

The next day, Jon has a meeting with staff and the flies are still present.

Jon meets a new member of staff, Mike, who cooks parttime with the bar and is Ed’s nephew.

Ed reveals he is the numbers guy and he never wanted to run the business but was forced to.

Emily tackles him on how he does not do anything practical for the bar and he does not listen to anyone’s ideas.

She reveals she tried out for the managerial position for over a year but never got compensated.

She believes that any help given to him will be wasted.

Jon is not happy by all that he has heard and with Ed’s attitude so he says he is not committing to redoing the bar yet.

He decides that he will have his experts in to train them.

The stress test will determine whether he stays and helps the bar.

The experts do a walk through the bar and the staff have cleaned since the first meeting.

The first thing Phil does is throw out the concoction at the bar to the applause of the bartenders.

In the kitchen, no cleaning was done and Ed casually tells Ryan he did not bother.

He also put the food thrown out back in the freezer to take home.

Ed has his nephew help clean and he complains he was ambushed by his uncle.

The bar staff have never been trained and Phil has a test for them and there are varying responses.

Phil tells them that due to their proximity to the stadium they have codes to follow including the use of plastic cups.

He also says they should be making simple drinks that can go out fast.

They are trained on making a whiskey ginger and Ed is tested on making the drink.

He begins to appreciate how much skill it takes to make the drinks.

The kitchen is moderately clean and Ryan trains them on making a Chicago style hotdog, something quick and easy.

Ed is over the training before he starts and is not complimentary of the hotdog made.

Ryan reminds him it is not about what he likes but what the customer likes.

For the stress test, Ed is tasked in greeting the guests as they come in with a smile.

Ed starts drinking just before the doors open and Phil confronts him for not taking it all seriously.

The doors are opened for the stress test and customers are let in.

Orders are sent to the kitchen and Mike is doing his best making the meals.

No one is running the food out so Ed is forced to take on the role of food runner.

He does not know where any food is going and the bar staff seem confused as well.

The bartenders are doing well but Ed is clueless.

Jon shuts down the bar mainly because Ed is the weakest link and refused to smile.

The next day, Phil is complimentary with the bar staff.

He says their skills are good so he trains them on making a bulk cocktail drink for game day.

Ed is not happy with that as he complains his staff never sold his concoction.

He questions why they should have another cocktail that could be dumped out.

Emily once again tells of her fears of Ed throwing out any new thing they gain from the rescue.

He confirms it saying things should be kept simple.

Ed checks out saying he is done.

Jon comes in and gets Ed to talk to him.

The staff are tired of Ed and a bartender walks out.

Ed eventually leaves and Jon is left with the difficult decision of honouring his commitment to building a new bar.

He advises the staff to start looking for new work elsewhere just in case he can’t rescue the bar.

The bar is renovated quickly, and Jon reveals the new bar to the staff only as Ed was not invited.

The bar has been renamed to The Press Box and has a cleaner entrance.

The inside is modelled after a Wrigley field press box with vintage charm and warm lighting.

Ed shows up to the unveiling of the bar and he is drunk.

Jon says he cannot endorse him and leaves while the staff all quit on Ed.

Ed invites customers in for free drinks but the relaunch is not happening.

Ed cusses Jon out and is ungrateful for the remodel.

He continues to drink from the new bar.

What Happened Next at The Dugout ?

Six weeks later sales are unconfirmed.

Emily and another bartender moved on to other local bars.

The other two returned to the Press Box.

The Pussy shot is back too.

They did not keep the new name for the bar and reverted to The Dugout.

They created a new space upstairs that they named Press Box

Ed was very vocal to the press about his experiences on the show, branding it a nightmare.

He undid all of the changes to the decor, closing the bar for a number of days.

In July 2020, a video appeared online alledging that they were breaking state and city reopening guidelines.

An investigation was launched by the city into some of the allegations including breaches of opening after 11pm and social distancing.

The Dugout is open.

Reviews are mixed with both praise and complaints about bartenders and the drinks.

This post was last updated in March 2022.

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