Bar Rescue - Laguna Lounge / Tres Cuartos / Laguna Shots Bar - CLOSED

Laguna Lounge Bar Rescue

In this episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer visits Laguna Lounge in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Laguna Lounge is owned by lifelong DJ Ivan Arroyo.

He decided it was time to bring his DJ experience and Puerto Rican background to the New Jersey nightlife.

Ivan bought the bar in 2008.

He runs the bar with his two sons, Josh and Jeremiah.

Ivan focused all of his attention on being a DJ and as a result bar sales dropped.

Things took a turn for the worse in 2013 when Ivan and his wife got divorced.

Ivan says that his bar cost him his marriage.

In response to the divorce, Ivan began lashing out at his staff.

Jeremiah says that him and his brother can’t stand this place anymore.

Josh says he wants to run the business and he has a lot of ideas.

Josh has a degree in business and Ivan isn’t supportive of his ideas.

Ivan is now $50,000 in debt and made a call for help to Bar Rescue.

Jersey City is home to a huge Puerto Rican population, yet Laguna Lounge fails to attract them to the bar.

For the bar, Jon brings in expert mixologist Lisamarie Joyce.

For the kitchen, Jon brings in expert chef Anthony Lamas.

Jon says that 42% of Jersey City is Hispanic and 40% of this market are between 25 to 40 years old.

Jon brings in four locals that fit into that demographic for recon tonight.

Laguna Lounge is a 1,600-square-foot space with a small kitchen.

There are three distinct rooms, a bar with one speed well, a dance floor and a pool table.

The recon team sits down at the bar.

One of the girls orders a piña colada but they don’t have it.

Lisamarie says that they just can’t call themselves a Puerto Rican bar.

Jon notices that there is a holster for a soda gun but the soda gun is no longer there.

The soda that they do use is in a can and it’s not cold.

Warm sodas can instantly ruin a drink.

Ivan’s mother is in the kitchen, reheating food she already made at home.

She’s also putting food in to oil that isn’t hot yet so it’s just going to soak up the oil instead of cooking it.

Ivan takes a shot and then gives free shots to everyone in the bar.

Jon goes into Laguna Lounge.

Jon scolds Ivan for how he treats his staff.

He makes Ivan apologize to the bartender for yelling at her.

Jon makes Ivan close the bar for the night because he wants to have a staff meeting.

Jon explains why he gets angry and why what Ivan does is wrong.

Josh, Jeremiah, and Ivan sit to have a discussion as a family.

The next morning, Jon meets with the staff for another meeting.

Ivan admits that he has anger management problems.

Jon says that people will spend 60% more in a well-themed environment.

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

Jon says that for tonight’s stress test, he wants to see Ivan be an owner.

He says that he sucks as a DJ and an owner.

It is revealed that Jeremiah is in culinary school.

Jon sees great potential in both Josh and Jeremiah.

Jon put in new equipment to help them to be able to serve the right menu.

Lisamarie shows them how to make a piña colada.

She talks about how teamwork needs to improve.

She makes them make the drinks together, to help them learn how to work as a team.

She says that if there is underpouring or overpouring, the drinks will get dumped.

Anthony shows them how to properly make an empanada.

Laguna Lounge opens up for stress test.

The bartenders are moving a little slow because they don’t really know what they’re doing.

There are five employees back there, yet customers aren’t getting their drinks in a reasonable time.

Jon says that this bar is the most disorganized he’s ever seen.

Ivan isn’t helping out and he’s just standing around.

Jeremiah is a little lost in the kitchen.

Jon is buying people empanadas.

The bar is a huge mess and plates are taking forever to be prepared.

The customers say that this bar was not properly managed and that this bar won’t succeed like this.

Jon makes them close the bar for the night.

It’s very clear that this bar isn’t organized at all.

Lisamarie says that it’s going to take a lot of work to get this bar where it needs to be.

Anthony says that Jeremiah wants to work but they weren’t getting any tickets in the kitchen.

He also says that the system and lack of organization failed them.

The next morning, Jon says that if Ivan doesn’t show up, he is not helping this bar.

Ivan said last night that he doesn’t have to show up to the parade this morning.

Ivan did show up, though despite what he said.

Lisamarie shows them drinks that will be added to the new menu such as the Old San Juan Margarita.

Anthony shows Jeremiah a recipe called shrimp ceviche.

Jon explains them about what Partender is.

He confronts them about how they refilled bottles and poured cheap vodka into a high-end branded bottle.

Jon asks Ivan to give him something to hold onto that makes him a man.

Ivan pours out the cheap liquor.

Jon begins construction on the bar.

Later on, Jon brings the staff back to show them their new bar.

Laguna Lounge has been renamed and is now called Tres Cuartos.

This bar looks absolutely gorgeous and the staff loves the new bar.

The bar has two complete work stations.

Jon installed four Revention POS systems.

Tres Cuartos opens for the first time since remodel.

On relaunch, the staff are so excited to begin working in the bar.

The bartenders have control over the drink orders.

Customers look very pleased with their food and drinks.

The bartenders are working together very well.

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

Jon says that Ivan needs to lead this bar and then they’ll be successful.


What Happened Next at Laguna Lounge / Tres Cuartos?

Six weeks later, drink sales are up by 20%, and food sales are up by 100%.

Ivan is still treating the staff with respect.

Tres Cuartos is becoming known as the Latin hotspot in The Heights.

Ivan didn't keep the name that Jon gave them and renamed the bar to Laguna Lounge.

Ivan renamed the bar again to Laguna Shots Bar.

Laguna Lounge / Tres Cuartos / Laguna Shots Bar closed in August 2017 so that owner Ivan was able to focus on his music career.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Rhythm and Brews / 5th and Vine

Next episode - Jack's Ale House / Jack’s Fire Department

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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