Bar Rescue - Headhunters / Metal and Lace - CLOSED

Headhunters Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Headhunters in Austin, Texas.

Headhunters is owned by Steve.

After working as an engineer he opened a fetish tiki bar live venue.

Their uniqueness made then initially successful with them making up to $67,000 a month.

The bands soon moved to newer venues and the bar fell into disrepair further chasing customers away.

The bar is now dirty and they offer extreme fetish shows.

They are not making money and are $250,000 in debt.

Jon recons the bar with his wife Nicole, expert chef Joe Brooke and service expert Jessie Barnes.

The exterior is tattered, looks abandoned and people are going to other bars around them.

Jon plays them video footage of customers/locals talking about the bar and they are not complimentary.

Jon decides to accompany his wife into the bar leaving the experts to see their progress in the car on surveillance.

Nicole immediately noticed a rancid smell in the bar.

Jon sees the dancers dressed inappropriately.

They were too high up on the bar and it was all sleazy.

There is a punk band making a lot of noise.

They are simulating a miscarriage on the stage, which is uncomfortable to watch.

Jon asks about the smell and the bartender confirms there is a cat in the bar and the smell is cat p*ss.

They order a drink and as the bartender is about to pour out of a bottle.

Nicole notices something floating and the bartender tries to hide it but is called back.

There is a cockroach in the liquor bottle.

Nicole is so upset that she was served a drink that she leaves.

The bartender tells him the degree of filth and he meets with the owner, who denies that there are cockroaches.

Steve says he was never told by his staff about the problem.

He says there are roaches all over Austin so his bar is no different.

Steve is defensive and Jon has his experts come in to inspect the place.

Jessie sees mould in the ceiling and Steve says he never noticed it.

Joe sieves the drinks and sees cockroaches and fruit flies in bottles and Jon shows the customers.

Steve is unrepentant and smiles making jokes about it.

Jon decides to fumigate the building that night before they can do anything else.

The next day, the staff meet Jon outside the bar.

He shows them the video of the exterminator working and the bugs scurrying out of hiding places.

A report he made says the place is a health hazard to the public with faecal matter egg casings etc.

The situation has got this bad due to years of neglect.

Steve is still laid back about it and Jon is tough on him.

They go inside and see dead roaches everywhere.

Jon pours Steve a drink and he refuses to drink it.

They are made to pour out all the bottles and clean up the bar.

The bartenders complain they are only paid in tips and they are not paid enough to clean the bar as he wants.

Jon witnesses this and is angry Steve does not pay any of his staff.

In a staff meeting Steve says he offered them to be on payroll but they refused and they argue that it is not true.

Jon takes them to get their papers done so the staff are legitimate employees.

As they are filling their forms Steve discourages them talking about reduced budgets, reduced hours and taxes.

Afterwards he lies to Jon about discouraging them.

Jon is fed up with his back talking.

He decides to only work on the bar for the staff and if they walk-out he will help them find other work.

The staff are left to decide and they decide to stay as they have put in a lot into the bar already.

Joe and Jessie begin training.

Joe teaches them the basics of mixing drinks and they have a lot to take on.

Jessie trains them on service and serving people within 30 seconds.

Jon sits with Steve and he finds out his motivation, which is his father.

He is losing $4000 a month and has personal debts just to keep it all going.

Steve tells the staff he will do better but they do not believe him.

The stress test begins.

The orders come fast as the bar is packed.

The bartenders are slow and the drinks they send out are terrible.

Steve is asked to help with glasses and he goes missing.

He is not managing his staff and the bartenders are overwhelmed.

Chloe soon finds her rhythm and gets fast making multiple drinks.

Steve is still not helping running ingredients or glasses.

A band gets on stage and the sound system is poor quality.

The dancing girls makes the female customers feel uncomfortable.

Afterwards Jon gives the staff feedback and commends them.

Steve is reprimanded for leaving them high and dry.

The next day, Joe trains them on the new cocktails for young and urban customers but still simple enough for the bartenders to pick up.

Jessie trains them on confidence and customer service.

The bar is renovated over 36 hours and the staff are trained offsite.

The staff are gathered at night to unveil the new bar.

It has been designed for the tech companies that surround them while standing out from the other live venue bars in the area.

The bar has been renamed and is now Metal and Lace – a steam punk lounge.

There is a brand-new exterior that is inviting.

The bar concept is steam punk, which is an untapped niche that will make them stand out.

Inside has been refreshed, it is warm and open with gears on the walls.

There is a new sound system with an Orange door entertainment system and a brand-new stage.

The bar has been sealed so no more roaches.

They also have a 2touch POS system and cool new Victorian steam punk uniforms.

They set up and open for the relaunch.

Steve is made to stay behind the bar to support his bartenders when needed.

They are slammed for the relaunch.

Chloe is doing great but Jewel starts slow but gets confident.

The dancers are now dressed better and dancing burlesque style on stage.

There is also a live band and there is no sound feedback.

Steve is sampling the drinks and meeting customers rather than helping but the staff keep it together.

Jon says goodbye to Chloe instead of Steve as he is leaving.

He saying she is the leader and she should take care of the bar.


What Happened Next at Headhunters / Metal and Lace?

Six weeks later, it is revealed Jewel and Chloe have been the managers.

Customers love the new changes.

Steve went back to his old ways.

They are keeping track of their hours but Steve has not filed the paperwork.

He has still has not paid his staff so they are all looking for new jobs.

Headhunters / Metal and Lace closed in April 2014.

They closed as their lease can to an end.

Their tax receipts appear to suggest low sales prior to the closure.

They were reportedly looking for a new premise after their lease ended but have yet to reopen.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Turtle Bay / Spirits on Bourbon

Next episode - TJ Quills / The Annex

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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