Bar Rescue - Mandala Lounge / 38th Floor Bar - CLOSED

Mandala Lounge Bar Rescue

In this episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer visits Mandala Lounge in San Mateo, California.

Mandala Lounge is owned by Greg Hawkins, who opened the bar in 2007.

Greg says that his bar was successful right away because they were the only bar offering a custom cocktail.

Owning a bar has been Greg’s dream since he began his career in the nightclub business.

However, the initial success of the bar didn’t last very long.

Due to the economy crashing, Greg’s bar went from doing over $60,000 a month to taking just $24,000 a month.

Since then, he hasn’t been able to pull Mandala Lounge out of this hole.

As the bar began to fall apart, he began taking his anger out on the staff.

With losing $5,000 a month and being weeks away from closing for good, Greg makes a call to Bar Rescue.

Jon says he was told this bar is an upscale martini bar with the intent to bring in women.

Jon brings in expert mixologist Mia Mastroianni.

Mia says that the bar is not welcoming or inviting, and certainly not upscale.

Greg’s bar is pink on the inside.

Jon says that it’s been proven that pink causes a person’s appetite to go away, therefore causing people to eat and drink less.

Mia says that the patio is unutilized space.

Jon says Greg is very degrading.

The glass broke when they tried to take the pour spout out.

They married two liquor bottles, which Jon says is illegal.

Jon brings in three locals for tonight’s recon.

Greg has drinks that are a whiskey and vodka mix, which Jon says is not a good combination.

Greg is very sexist with the way he talks about why he doesn’t have women bartenders.

Mia says that Greg is living in the 1950s.

Jon says that Greg is arrogant with failure.

Jon decides that now is the time to go into the bar.

Jon asks Greg what his concept was and Greg says upscale but still a neighborhood bar.

Jon asks him why there are no women working there.

Greg says he hasn’t met a woman who can bartend as fast as men.

He then goes on to make a ton of crappy excuses as to why there aren’t women working for him.

Jon brings in Mia and Greg is stuttering because he realizes he messed up with his words.

He has Mia make a drink at the bar, to prove that Greg was wrong.

Jon says the concept, the interior, the way Greg treats his staff and his attitude towards women are all wrong.

Jon asks him what is right at the bar.

He says that Greg is all talk and then he asks him what he’s got as a bartender.

Jon has Greg and Mia make five drinks to see who can make it fast enough.

Right away, Greg is knocking stuff over behind the bar.

Mia finishes first with the cocktails because she made them all at once instead of doing them one at a time.

Jon says that Greg’s head is up his a** and the staff agrees.

Jon says to get his attitude together and he will be here in the morning to help.

The staff is amused that Jon didn’t give in to Greg’s arrogance.

The next morning, Jon has the staff let out their frustrations and what they don’t like about Greg.

Greg doesn’t seem to like being told about his flaws because he doesn’t think anything he does is wrong.

Greg is a textbook narcissist and he’ll also transfer liquor from one bottle to another.

Jon says it’s illegal to do that because the cheaper liquor could be poured into a more expensive bottle, which could rip off customers.

Jon brings in Mia to start training.

Mia says there’s a lot she wants to say after last night.

She says she wants to hear two things from Greg, “Mia is better than me and you deserve my respect.”

Greg says that to her and they get to work.

Mia says that the reason a bottle broke last night was because the pour spouts needed to be cleaned.

Mia shows them a tool called the V-Rod to help them get the pour spouts off the bottle.

She shows them a cocktail with flavored whiskey.

Mia says that for tonight they should be averaging 30-seconds a cocktail.

Jon says Greg’s attitude is better but he wants to see if his arrogance will spike during the stress test.

The bar is now open for the stress test.

The bartenders are trying very hard but are struggling.

The bar is packed so Greg suggests that some people go out to the patio, but the patio has nothing going on.

The more Mia would correct Doug, the more he would mess up.

Doug has made eight drinks but hasn’t collected money for any of them.

Jon says if Doug doesn’t fix it, he will fire him.

The patio seems to be very pathetic and boring.

Greg fires Doug and says there’s room for improvement.

Greg says Doug is a thief and a liability.

Mia says that Angelo is the only one who had that passion to serve great drinks.

Mia says that Greg did okay tonight.

Tomorrow they will do more training and will start renovation of the bar.

Mia says that whiskey is the way to go for this bar.

Jon wants to hire a female bartender for relaunch.

Mia shows Greg and the staff a few drinks such as the Gold Rush and the Golden Date.

Jon says that they started badly and Greg says he doesn’t want to go back to that.

Jon wants to help Greg and his dad fix their relationship.

They have a nice talk and it seems as if Greg and his dad have come to an understanding.

Jon and his construction crew begin the renovation.

The bar opens up for relaunch.

The bar has been renamed and is now called 38th Floor Bar.

The bar looks amazing on the inside, almost as if you’re on the 38th floor in a building.

The patio is completely transformed and it looks beautiful.

The windows have a webcam system so they can pull up many different cities.

Jon hired a female bartender.

There are 200 people standing outside so they decide to open up now.

Greg’s dad says that Jon was 100% successful in transforming the bar.

Greg’s wife says that Jon has brought back the person that she married.

On relaunch, Mia thinks the bartenders are doing great.

Everyone is grateful for Jon’s help.

Greg says he hasn’t had this much fun at the bar in a long time.


What Happened Next at Mandala Lounge / 38th Floor Bar?

Six weeks later, sales are up by 40%.

Greg promoted Angelo to manager.

He has now hired two female bartenders.

Mandala Lounge / 38th Floor Bar closed in April 2016.

Greg recognised that Bar Rescue and the changes were good for the bar.

The show wasn't enough to combat declining sales and their debts.

Greg planned to have a career in law enforcement.

Reviews after the episode were mostly positive.


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This post was last updated in September 2021.

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