Bar Rescue - Downey's Irish Pub - CLOSED

Downey's Irish Pub Bar Rescue

In this episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer visits Downey’s Irish Pub in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Downey’s Irish Pub is owned by Domenic Centofanti.

In 2002, Domenic ditched his flourishing career as one of Philadelphia’s most prominent chefs to buy Downey’s.

Downey’s is one of Philadelphia’s most celebrated Irish pubs.

Downey’s was frequented by the town’s most rich and famous.

When Domenic took over, he promised the bar’s founder and retiring owner, Jack Downey, that he would preserve the bar’s Irish essence.

In his first year owning this bar, Downey’s took around $2 million, averaging about $40,000 to $45,000 a week.

But then, tragedy struck and Domenic suffered the tragic loss of his brother.

As a result he fell into a deep depression and he took Downey’s down with him.

Domenic is nearly $3 million in debt and him and Downey’s are on the verge of collapse.

Out of money and out of hope, Domenic makes a call for help to Bar Rescue.

The center city district of Philadelphia houses some of the United States’ most notable landmarks.

This includes Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

Tourists and locals alike flock to center city for daytime sight-seeing and then stay in the area for a night on the town.

However, only a few visitors ever stop at Downey’s Irish Pub.

Downey’s is just months away from closing for good.

Jon has called in Keith Raimondi to help figure out why Downey’s is failing.

Jon tells Keith that he wants him to do the recon for tonight.

Downey’s is a 2,500-square-foot Irish pub with a rectangular bar in the front, and a dining area and display kitchen in the back.

Keith says this bar is gross.

It’s cluttered and clearly hasn’t been cleaned properly lately.

Keith asks about their Irish whiskey.

They have only four Irish whiskies, which Keith thinks isn’t enough.

Keith orders a pasta dish and when it arrives the pasta is gross.

The customers around Keith orders oysters, which they returned and refused to pay for.

Domenic doesn’t do anything about this complaint.

Keith gets curious and decided to go into the bathrooms to see what they are like.

The bathrooms are a mess and there are napkins everywhere.

Keith says it also has a very strange smell.

He heads out to inform Jon about what he has witnessed.

Keith tells Jon everything he has seen in the bar.

Jon heads into Downey’s to meet with Domenic and discuss what is going on.

He takes Domenic to the kitchen to talk and looks through the kitchen.

They have a bucket they keep dirty pans in and it has old food in it as well.

They have a trash room, which is overflowing.

Jon tells Domenic that he has to manage the business, not let the business manage him.

There is a dead mouse in this kitchen.

Jon tells Domenic that he wants him to close the bar right now.

Domenic says that it’s hard to listen to people talking down to him in this way.

The next day, Jon has brought in retired health inspector Ed Warnick.

Jon hopes he can help open Domenic’s eyes to how unsanitary conditions at Downey’s have become.

The bar is disgusting and Domenic is not taking responsibility for it.

Domenic is defending how his bar is disgusting.

Jon says that if Domenic had a dime for every excuse he came up with, Jon wouldn’t need to be there.

Jon meets with the staff and asks them how they feel about this bar.

The staff say that they are embarrassed to say they work there.

One bartender says that they haven’t had a schedule in six months.

Jon meets with Domenic to discuss how he plans to make this bar successful.

Jon brings in Keith Raimondi for the bar.

For the kitchen, Jon brings in executive chef Brian Duffy.

Keith shows the bartenders different types of whisky.

He also goes over the difference between Irish whiskey and other types of whiskies.

Chef Duffy tries Downey’s signature dishes.

Chef Duffy says they have to relearn these recipes.

The experts meet with Jon to discuss what they discovered.

The staff tries and enjoys the reinvented Irish dishes.

Jon wants to make sure the staff understands the level they have to perform at now.

Downey’s opens up for the soft opening.

The bartending staff struggles to keep up with the rush of customers who have filled the bar.

Drinks are taking two and a half minutes to make.

The wait staff is pushing the new Irish dishes.

In the kitchen, the cooks struggle to keep up with the orders.

Customers are finding that their food isn’t being cooked properly.

Domenic is aware of the problem but lets the staff fend for themselves.

One of the customers got extremely over served.

Jon confronts Domenic about this.

Domenic is on his phone a lot so Chef Duffy takes it away from him.

Instead of stepping up, Domenic gives up.

The next day Jon has asked Domenic to meet him at Downey’s to get to the root of his withdrawn attitude.

Domenic admits that ever since his brother died, things went downhill.

Jon takes Domenic to the patio to further motivate him.

Jon says his days of junk is over.

Domenic throws the old chairs out in the road.

Jon begins construction on Downey’s.

The next evening, Jon meets with the staff to show them their new bar.

Jon kept the original name of the bar.

They head inside to see all of the changes.

Domenic says it looks beautiful and he is speechless.

Jon got them new menus and fixed the walk-in cooler.

He had the bathroom brought back to life.

There is a brand-new stove in the kitchen.

Jon says that now it’s time for the relaunch.

Domenic has a pep talk with his staff before they open.

Downey’s opens up for the first time since remodel.

On relaunch, the bar is full within minutes.

The customers love the new whiskey drinks.

The new Irish menu items are a hit.

The inspector approves of this bar.

Jon shakes Domenic’s hand and says that his work here is done.


What Happened Next at Downey's Irish Pub?

Thirty days after the relaunch, Downey’s is thriving.

Revenues have increased by 15%.

People are happier, they drink more and they eat more.

Domenic is a new man.

There is a written schedule for the staff hanging up on the wall.

Downey's Irish Pub closed in March 2016 after going into foreclosure.

They also owed the state $80,000 in taxes.

An application to demolish the building was made in 2021.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Angels Sports Bar / Racks Billiards and Bourbon

Next episode - The Abbey Pub

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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