Bar Rescue - Jack's Ale House / Jack’s Fire Department - OPEN

Jack's Ale House Bar Rescue

In this episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer visits Jack’s Ale House in Sunnyside, New York.

Jack’s Ale House is owned by firefighting brothers Brian and Jimmy McGowan.

They inherited their father’s bar, the Firewater Inn in 2003.

Jimmy says that his dad was doing about $8,000 to $10,000 a week in sales.

In 2011, they decided to shut the bar down to renovate it.

To help fund this renovation, Jimmy and Brian brought in their older Brother John.

John says that after the renovation was started, it was a total disaster.

It took a year and a half to renovate the bar.

By the time the bar reopened as Jack’s Ale House, the market had turned to younger and wealthier individuals, leaving them with no customers.

Now, the financial pressures threaten to tear the family apart.

They are $400,000 in debt and are only six months away from closing for good.

The brothers are all on different pages in terms of fixing the bar or selling it.

Helene, their mother really wants Jon’s help.

The McGowan brothers have agreed to make a call for help to Bar Rescue.

For the bar, Jon brings in expert bartender Russell Davis.

For the kitchen, Jon brings in renowned chef Vic Vegas.

Jon says that the bar is very bland on the outside and nobody would be able to notice this bar at night.

This bar has a deck but it’s not being used.

The brothers are constantly arguing in front of customers.

Jon says they are losing $10,000 a month.

Jon brings in the Tubrindy brothers for tonight’s recon.

Jon says he did a rescue for them as well.

The Tubrindy brothers brought friends with them too.

This bar is a 2,200-square-foot space with two speed wells and one POS.

They order a Harvey Wallbanger but the bartenders have no clue what it is.

They also don’t know how to make a Cosmo.

The cook only has on one glove and they are microwaving quesadillas.

The owners aren’t paying attention to who has paid and who hasn’t.

The owners are acting like customers that you would throw out of the bar.

Jon decides it is time to enter the bar, and he walks in.

Christine is a bartender and Jimmy’s wife.

She says that Jimmy doesn’t follow through on what he’s supposed to do.

She says this bar should be a gold mine and making serious money.

The brothers are yelling and cursing at each other.

Jon leaves the bar.

John says that sometimes you have to cut your losses and the only way to get rid of this is by selling the building.

Jon says they will come back in the morning and see if he can get through to them.

The next morning, Jon says that he is incredibly frustrated with these three brothers.

He says that since he is a New Yorker himself this rescue means something to him.

He meets with the staff to discuss what the problem is.

Christine says that Jimmy never takes her seriously and that she is so done.

She says they don’t have an emotional connection anymore.

Jon asks Jimmy what he’s going to fight for.

Jimmy says he’s going to fight for this starting now.

Jon says that if he can fix the losses then he can fix the family.

Jon brings in his experts and introduces them to the staff.

Jon says the patio could bring in a lot of money so he wants to see how the staff can handle it during stress test.

Russel shows them when to ask customers if they want another drink.

He says that if they ask customers if they want another drink, chances are higher that they’ll want another one.

Russel shows them the basic drinks like a Harvey Wallbanger.

He makes the bartenders try to make one themselves.

Vic shows the cook that you need to wear not one but two gloves at all times when handling food.

Jon is making Brian manage the floor, Jimmy the bar and John the kitchen.

Jon wants to see them work together and not scream at each other.

The bar opens up for stress test.

Customers are waiting 15 minutes without even being acknowledged by the staff.

Kitchen is at 17 minute ticket time, which is about 5 minutes behind where it should be.

The bar is getting very chaotic and Jimmy is getting angry.

Now, the kitchen is up to 20 minutes for quesadillas.

Jimmy is drinking behind the bar.

Jon says if he takes one more drink, he will fire him in front of everyone.

Jimmy gets defensive.

After they close for stress test, and Jon meets with the staff to discuss what happened.

Jon says they will talk this out with Jimmy tomorrow.

The next morning, Jon meets with the brothers.

Jimmy admits that he’s overwhelmed.

He says he’s working three jobs has kids and is still failing.

Jon brings in their mom and she prepared something to tell her sons.

Russel shows them what a culinary torch is and how they use it to make cocktails.

He shows them drinks that will be added to the new menu, including the Fireload and the Family Rekindle.

Vic shows them recipes that will be added to the new menu including the Jacked-Up Grilled Cheese challenge.

This challenge will make things fun for those who are daring.

If they finish the whole thing without drinking milk, they win a t-shirt.

Jon discusses the concept for the new bar.

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

Jack’s Ale House has been renamed and is now called Jack’s Fire Department.

The bar looks incredible inside and out.

The patio looks incredible and is useable now.

There is a draft beer system and a POS system out on the patio.

Jon installed a game called Whip Out Your Hose by the urinals.

Jack’s Fire Department opens up for the first time since remodel.

On relaunch, both the customers and the staff are so excited to be in this bar.

The brothers and staff attitudes are much better.

Christine says that Jimmy was more supportive tonight and that she hopes it stays this way.

Jon hugs the brothers and says that his work is done.


What Happened Next at Jack's Ale House / Jack’s Fire Department?

Six weeks later, sales have tripled.

John has no intention of selling the bar.

Jimmy and Christine are happy in their marriage.

The Tubridy's returned to the bar in an episode of Back to the Bar and they had kept all of the changes.

Jimmy still gets stressed but is able to keep it under wraps and not explode.

Jack's Ale House / Jack’s Fire Department is open.

Reviews are mostly positive with a few complaints on service.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Laguna Lounge / Tres Cuartos / Laguna Shots Bar

Next episode - Lickety Split / 2nd State Lounge

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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