Bar Rescue - The Hooch / Proving Ground Bar and Grill - CLOSED

The Hooch Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits The Hooch in Deerborn Heights, Michigan.

The Hooch is owned by Ron and Chandra Philips.

They bought the bar in 2003 and the first five years were successful.

They were making $20,000 a month but with the downturn of the economy people moved away from the neighbourhood.

They are $350,000 in debt and Ron had to take a second job so the bar can stay afloat.

Under all of the pressure Chandra has become disrespectful to the staff and they in turn lost interest in doing their jobs.

The bar has also lost its identity as the bartenders show plenty of skin and people believe it is a lingerie bar.

The grill is directly behind the bar the bartenders cook on.

They had a fire incident recently.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Lisamarie Joyce and expert chef Keith Breedlove.

The exterior is promising but they have a poor sign with bad branding.

It is unclear where the entrance to the bar is.

Jon fills them in on the bar and its operation.

They see Chandra being derogatory of her staff.

Amanda is the manager, Cynthia is the bartender and Roach is the Barback.

Jon shows footage of Chandra swearing and mouthing off and bartenders working naked behind the bar.

Jon gets two local ladies with huge social media following to act as spies at the bar.

They order some burgers and some hooch cocktails.

The bartenders use the wrong tools and use their hands as covering.

The specialty cocktail is just vodka and juice and the spies are disappointed.

The kitchen is cross contaminating raw beef with the bottom of the fridge and some cheese.

The food is served and it starts failing over almost immediately.

It is not fresh and the meal tastes off.

Jon and the experts are in disbelief of how vulgar Chandra is with her staff.

Jon has had enough and goes in to confront Chandra.

Chandra tries to explain she wants to toughen them up but Jon says she is setting the bar low.

The staff say they do not like the language she uses but have to bear it.

The next day Jon comes in with his experts.

They need someone in charge of the kitchen and they choose Roach to be in charge.

Jon tells them the insulting environment will never let them sell fancy drinks.

Chandra turns an innocent joke into a sexual joke.

Jon confronts her and warns her once again not to insult her staff.

They inspect the bar and find a broken mini fridge.

The walk-in in the kitchen has bad food, it is dirty and there is mould growing in it.

Grease is leaking from the fryer and Chandra claims not to have seen it.

There is mould at the bar too.

The staff are made to clean the bar all day before their training starts.

Keith trains Roach and Chandra on making some simple Tots.

Lisamarie has the bar staff do a challenge where they have to memorise drinks to make and deliver.

They need to remember at least 8 orders.

For the stress test Chandra is tasked with keeping her mouth clean.

The bartenders have to remember orders while Roach needs to do well.

People are left waiting up to forty-five minutes for drinks with food coming out faster.

Chandra disappears as she is being pulled in all directions.

Cynthia is doing well making ten drinks at once and the bartenders are doing very well.

They run out of glassware quite quickly and then the bar gets flooded because the floor drain is clogged.

Glass falls into the ice bin and they have to bin the ice.

Chandra is proactive and starts selling shots while the ice well is cleaned.

Customers then notice there is mould in the drinks which could be coming from the ice or the bins.

The bar is shut down due to this.

Jon says Chandra has a good team but she is not a good leader.

She is reprimanded until she is humble.

Chandra admits the bar is her dream and she wants it to work.

The next day the Jon has his team get started on the bar because of all the problems.

He meets Chandra in an offsite location where training will also take place.

Jon talks with Chandra about her personality and she is intentionally defensive as she pushes people away.

Jon tells her to think of her family and she should sell the bar in six months if she cannot stop taking her husband’s money.

Chandra talks with the staff and relationships are mended.

Keith trains Roach on a new signature burger.

Mia trains the bartenders on new signature cocktails based on moonshine.

The bar is renovated and the staff are gathered late afternoon to unveil their new bar.

The bar has been renamed to Proving Ground Bar and Grill.

The colours have been changed and the exterior is cleaner with a sign to the entrance.

Inside is cooler with white and blues.

There are car parts used as decoration with many places looking like a garage.

Jon explains the Detroit car industry was the inspiration for the bar.

There are three new workstations with three 2Touch POS systems.

The ice machine is working, the kitchen area has a hood and the staff have mechanic uniforms.

They set up quickly as the bar is ready to open for relaunch.

On relaunch, customers are let in and the bartenders are more confident.

They are faster at serving drinks correctly and are leaving the customers satisfied.

Chandra is helping out at both the bar and in the kitchen.

Ron is astounded at the change in the bar and how well they are doing.

Roach is doing great at the kitchen with the burgers.

There are girls are in the bar and they are drinking.


What Happened Next at The Hooch / Proving Ground Bar and Grill?

Ten weeks later it is revealed they grossed $22,692 in sales.

Chandra went back to her demeaning behaviour.

Cynthia quit the bar after losing some of her shifts.

Chandra deleted the Facebook page for the bar after a number of negative reviews were posted.

The Hooch / Proving Ground Bar and Grill closed in May 2016.

The bar closed after Chandra ran out of money and the bar was sold.

Chandra appears to have blamed Bar Rescue for the closure.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Filling Station Pub

Next episode - The Arena

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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