Bar Rescue - The Tailgate / The Shot Exchange - OPEN

The Tailgate Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits The Tailgate in Santa Clarita, California.

The Tailgate is owned by brother and sister Mike and Diane Miller.

They bought the bar in 2003 with their savings and hired their father Pops to be the manager.

It was successful at first making $500,000 a year which led them to hire more staff from their family.

They hired Christine, a cousin and Robert a godson.

They are the biggest problems at the bar.

Everyone wants them fired but Diane does not want to.

This is causing friction between the siblings and their father.

They are $200,000 in debt now and they are all unhappy with how their relationship has deteriorated.

Jon recons the bar with expert mixologist Phil Wills and expert chef Brendan Collins.

The exterior of the bar is bland and boring.

It looks like an actual mechanic’s shed.

The bar is in a great location but the sign facing the street only has only ‘The’ lit up.

Inside, the decor has dollar bills pasted on the ceiling and the walls which looks tacky.

There is money and receipts on a dirty and bloody cutting board in the kitchen.

When it is cleared away the cook Robert cuts lemons on the same board and afterwards he cuts raw chicken.

There is so much dangerous cross contamination taking place.

Connie is Roberts sister and she works security at the bar.

Zusi is the only non-family member on the staff and she is the bartender with the most experience.

A guy gets belligerent, exposes himself and starts fighting.

Pops tries to kick him out but Diane shuts it down.

Connie does nothing about it.

Bartender Christine is paid to offer body shots and things get rowdy.

A customer pulls his shirt off and lays on the bar for a body shot.

Pops stops it and asks Christine to go home.

He tells his children to shut the behaviour down but they do not react and he walks out.

Jon has seen enough and meets Pops outside to hear his frustrations.

They go in the bar together to meet Diane and Mike.

Jon blames all the three for the deterioration of the bar and they all fight in front of Jon, blaming each other.

When asked who should leave the bar, Mike is unable to point fingers.

Robert joins in to defend himself and the bickering continues.

Jon leaves them to talk so they can figure out how to communicate and come to some understanding.

The next day, Jon comes in to meet with the staff and to get how much their family drama is driving away business.

They look at the reviews for the bar on Yelp.

The reviews are poor and Jon is also offended by the menu, which has expletives in the food names.

When the staff are opening up, Diane quiets them and reminds them not to throw family under the bus.

Jon is not impressed but introduces his experts.

Diane apologies for her behaviour of drinking at the bar.

She chastises her family for not having her back when Jon was calling her out as she would not have allowed same happen to them.

Diane gives then some literal balls which infuriates Mike.

He walks out for hours and won’t answer her calls.

The experts inspect the kitchen and bar.

The kitchen is dirty and grimy.

Brendan trains them on making burgers using fresh meat.

Phil trains the staff on dexterity and making drinks with their non-dominant hand.

Zusi shows she has great skills so Phil is not worried about her.

Jon has one more expert, a security specialist Doc to train Connie and assess her skills.

Doc brought in some stunt men to stage a fight to see what she would do but she just stands around.

They see she is not a fit for the role so Jon promises to find something else for her to do.

For the stress test, Pops is coordinating the bar and kitchen.

Diane is front of house while Mike is in the kitchen.

The stress test starts and it becomes clear immediately there is little organisation and no processes.

The bartenders are overwhelmed and Robert is burning food in the kitchen.

Zusi is the only one doing well and food is forgotten because the managers are not working together.

Soon complaints on the food come back as the burger meat is raw in the middle then a grease fire starts in the kitchen.

They struggle to put the grease fire out and it gets worse.

The fire extinguisher they have in the kitchen is not working.

By the time they put the fire out, it is smoky in the bar and kitchen.

Customers are asked to leave and the stress test is over.

Robert is blamed for it as the kitchen being dirty is the reason the fire escalated.

Diane is made to fire Robert, which she does finally.

The next day Jon meets with the three family members.

They figure out a way to work together and it ends with all of them apologising for their wrongs.

The staff are called to join in.

Zusi is made the Bar manager, Connie will become a server and other security will be hired.

Phil trains the staff on some unique and colourful shot recipes for social gatherings.

Brendan trains Pops and Mike on lamb mini burgers that are made to be shared.

The bar is renovated over thirty-six hours and the family is gathered at night to reveal a new bar.

The bar has been renamed to The Shot Exchange - Bar and Grill.

The exterior is more inviting and the windows are clear.

Inside, it has been made warmer and modern with pops of colour.

A new menu with appropriate names and it is a bigger menu with fifty shots, which will be their signature.

The dollar bills are all gone and the money was counted - $1668.

The staff set up for the relaunch and customers are let in.

On relaunch, the orders roll in.

The bar is confidently making drinks and the kitchen is on top of orders.

The bar is packed with customers shoulder to shoulder.

Zusi is reminded to manage the whole bar and they work through the tickets.

There is a dance floor and the customers are loving the music.


What Happened Next at The Tailgate / The Shot Exchange?

Two months later, it is revealed the family drama has stopped.

Robert has not been back to the bar.

A cook was hired who had no family ties.

The Tailgate / The Shot Exchange is open.

The bar was sold to new owners in March 2015.

Reviews are very mixed with both praise and complaints for the bar staff, drinks and food.


Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - Scoreboard / Agave Junction Cantina

Next episode - Bryant's Ice House / Wildcatter Saloon

This post was last updated in September 2021.

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