Gipsy / SBLV - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Gipsy Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Gipsy in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gipsy is owned by Paul San Filipo, who bought the legendary gay nightclub in 1993.

It was immediately popular and made up to $160,000 a month.

As the first gay nightclub in Las Vegas it was popular until more competition opened in the late 90s.

The club is stuck in the past and customers no longer come to the club.

Paul is now in debt and drinks to cover up his disappointment.

The work environment is toxic and he leaves the bar for days and weeks to fend for itself.

The club now has a $400,000 fine for failing to pay live entertainment taxes and is in $2,000,000 of debt.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Rachel Ford.

They see the bar exterior is very dated and run down.

Jon has footage of customer feedback and it is not good.

Jon introduces the staff and the owner.

Jon has invited Daniel and Joe, experts in the Las Vegas Nightlife industry to visit as his spies.

They sit at the bar and order a gin martini and they are served in a plastic cup.

They order whiskey sours and they are also served in a plastic cup too.

There is no vermouth so the drinks are bad.

Paul keeps calling his bartender Brandon from across the bar.

He is being degrading towards the staff and is insulting them.

Paul breaks a glass by throwing it at the manager.

Jon goes in to confront the inebriated Paul.

Paul says his staff deserved all the abuse.

Jon tries to correct him but Paul is confrontational.

Paul’s display does not stop when Jon leaves the bar.

He is forced out of the bar and into a taxi to go home.

The next day, Jon comes in and Paul is sober.

They sit and Jon gets Paul to promise not to drink while he is fixing the bar and apologise to the staff.

Jon meets with the rest of the staff.

Paul finds it hard to keep a straight face as he apologises.

The staff say his behaviour was uncalled for and they want him to go back to being driven.

Jon brings in his expert and Rachel inspects the bar.

They find lots of dirty tools, produce and spaces around the bar.

The staff are made to clean the bar before they start training.

Rachel trains them on making a gin martini, serving it in a martini glass.

They do a team work exercise where they interlock their arms and try and make a whiskey sour together.

Jon has a surprise and brings in the spies from Angel Entertainment.

Amie will bartend at the bar for the beginning of the stress test so the staff can watch them operate.

The stress test starts and the bartenders are seamless, making drinks quickly to the delight of customers.

Amie complains of the service behind the bar area.

The new bartenders are pulled while Brandon and Justin are behind the bar.

They are too slow and take up to ten minutes to make a drink leaving customers waiting twenty minutes.

They are nervous and flustered.

They are making drinks incorrectly and dropping tools.

Rubio and Gerry do a lot better than the previous two with Rubio doing great.

Paul is happy talking to the guests.

The show starts and the bar closed down, which is bad for business.

Jon commends the bar staff for their performance that night.

He points out all the things that went wrong and he decides to pull the drag show.

The next day, the sign is being taken down.

Paul is not happy but Jon lets them know they should focus on the future.

They meet inside the bar.

Jon explains he wants to create an immersive show with three stages that will be three minutes long so as not to stop service.

Bartenders will also get to perform during the intervals.

Jon brings in one more expert, choreographer Dominique Kelley.

Dominique starts her training first with a group number.

Rachel introduces new cocktails inspired by the beach and Florida.

The renovation has started at the bar so Paul calls to meet with Jon to defend Brandon’s spot.

Jon decides to give him a second chance to prove himself.

After thirty-six hours the bar is renovated and the staff are gathered.

As the reveal is about to happen Paul interrupts to let Brandon go.

Brandon leaves disappointed and Jon is shocked at the display but continues with the reveal.

The bar has been renamed and is now called SBLV Ultra Lounge.

This stands for South Beach Las Vegas and is inspired by the 1950s and Florida.

The exterior is bright and eye-catching.

Inside is warmer and upscale with colours.

Paul finds it horrible and is not excited about the changes.

He leaves before Jon can explain the changes.

There are new furnishings and the old seats have been reupholstered.

The sound system has been updated.

There is a service bar area big enough to work in.

The staff all love the changes and the space.

The manager is the one who opens the bar for the relaunch.

On relaunch, the bartenders are doing well and drinks are made quickly and are well made.

The customers love it all and the shows start to the delight of the customers who keep ordering drinks.

Jon congratulates the manager on the night and leaves.

Paul never came back that night.

What Happened Next at Gipsy?

It is later revealed that Paul came back two days later and closed SBLV.

Three months later, the club is still closed and he is still in debt.

Paul moved the staff to another bar that he owned across the road.

In January 2014, Paul announced that he would be stripping out the entire interior of the club.

He planned to remodel and open as a day and ultralounge.

This was stalled when the county wanted more land for an adjacent expansion.

The land they wanted was where Paul was digging out a pool for the nightclub.

There have also been issues with contractors and various lawsuits and litigation that paused the remodel.

In 2020, the building was demolished with the plans to rebuild from scratch after the costs to remodel were found to be higher than rebuilding.

Brandon branded the episode a sham on Facebook claiming that parts were scripted and set up.

This post was last updated in February 2022.

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