Zanzibar / Solids and Stripes - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Zanzibar Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Zanzibar in Denver, Colorado.

Zanzibar is owned by Ami Benari.

After completing his service in the Israeli army, Ami immigrated to Denver, Colorado.

He opened Zanzibar in 2009.

Zanzibar quickly cashed in by being one of the first bars in downtown Denver.

Zanzibar was making around $38,000 per month in the beginning.

But in 2011, a near-fatal car accident kept Ami away from the bar and supervising his staff.

This led the staff causing the customers to stay away with their behaviour.

Ami says they didn’t do right by him.

They gave him receipts of $15,000 and Ami says the business is lost.

Six months ago, Ami returned to the bar.

He fired the old staff and tried to do whatever he could to bring back the customers.

Ami says he is losing $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

He won’t be able to stay in business after six more months.

Ami now runs his staff with an iron fist and has invested $250,000 into this bar.

Denver Colorado’s downtown district is home to 14,000 college students who populate three universities.

New restaurants have flourished by creating lively party atmospheres that appeal to a young crowd.

Jon brings in Smirnoff master bartender Jenny Costa and expert chef Chef Duffy.

Ami is outside the front of the bar yelling out, “Free beer! Free dates!” as they arrive.

Jon brings in two recent college graduates, Nick and Camio for tonight’s recon.

Zanzibar is a 6,200-square-foot pool hall featuring ten pool tables and a J-shaped bar.

They have eight beers on tap and a full kitchen.

Nick is having a hard time getting service.

There is a customer who is wasted and he’s hitting on Camio.

They gave the drunk customer another beer.

The bartenders are overpouring.

Nobody is paying for their drinks and Ami keeps giving out free drinks.

The cook is serving food with his gloves on still and there is no glove change or hand wash.

The cook coughs into his gloves and then goes back to cooking food.

Jon is grossed out and decides that now is the right time to walk into the bar.

Jon says that overserving is going to change right now.

He scolds the staff for allowing the customers to get so wasted that they can’t walk home or are passed out.

Jon says that everything in the kitchen has to be thrown away because of cross-contamination.

Jon says that until this place is safe, he can’t work here.

Ami says that cook Dave will not be going home until you can eat off the floors in this kitchen.

He also says that if Jon complains about it again, then Dave is fired.

Dave says that if he loses this job, then he loses everything.

Dave says that in 2009, he had a brain aneurism that caused him to lose his trucking job.

He says that if he loses this job, then he doesn’t know what is going to happen.

Ami and Dave scrubbed and cleaned the kitchen all night long.

Jon says that it smells and looks a lot better.

Jon has a meeting with the staff and asks what they do.

Sarah says she is a manager but isn’t the official manager.

It’s very clear that Ami doesn’t listen to his staff.

Jon tells Sarah that she is officially the manager of this bar.

He scolds Ami for offering free sex to the customers.

On Friday, they gave away $960.76 worth of alcohol and Saturday.

They gave away $1596.91 worth of alcohol.

Ami gets angry and goes in the back to throw glass plates at the wall.

Ami doesn’t listen to his staff when they try to tell him about the issues this bar has.

Jon brings in his experts.

Jenny works on improving their pouring techniques.

She blindfolds them to help them get used to pouring properly.

Chef Duffy makes Dave cook the top three dishes this bar has.

Jon says he wants ticket time to be twelve minutes for tonight’s stress test.

Zanzibar opens up for stress test.

Jon brings in the target audience and the bartenders are overpouring still.

They are also very unorganized and are struggling to find where food orders go.

Jon says that Ami never set Dave up for success.

Ami is doing magic tricks.

They don’t have anyone to go get the dirty glasses and run out of clean glasses.

Jon says that Ami is the biggest disaster of all.

Jon shuts the bar down for the night.

He tells the customers to come back in three days when they open after remodel.

Jon meets with the staff after the stress test.

Jon tells Ami that he is most disappointed in him and he is struggling to take criticism.

They start yelling at each other as Ami refuses to see that he is the problem.

Ami insults Chef Duffy by calling him “Fat boy.”

Ami then goes on to try to hit Jon and pushes him around.

Jon tells the staff goodnight and walks out of the bar.

Jon says he’s not sure if he can rescue this bar.

The next morning, Ami and the staff have a meeting.

Jon comes in with his experts.

Jon says that he has a responsibility to rescue this bar but he will not allow his team to be insulted.

Jon tells Ami to apologize or else he’s leaving.

Ami apologizes to chef Duffy and Jenny but says he has nothing to say to Jon.

Jon has a one-on-one with Ami.

They clear things up, and Ami realizes that Jon is not the bad guy here.

Chef Duffy came up with a ten-minute express menu that they will be adding to the new concept.

Jenny adds six different cocktails to the new menu including The Break and The Hustler.

Jon meets with the staff to go over how they want their bar to be.

Ami finally agrees with his staff.

Jon meets with Ami to discuss the new concept.

The next night, Jon bring the staff to come see their new bar.

Zanzibar is now called Solids and Stripes – Badass Billiards.

The inside of this bar looks amazing.

Jon installed a POS system.

Solids and Stripes opens up for the first time since remodel.

On relaunch, the customers love the new concept, and the staff is working together well.

The food and drinks are a big hit with the customers.

Jon shakes Ami’s hand and says that his work is done.

Jon says that he is really proud of this rescue.

What Happened Next at Zanzibar?

Six weeks later, sales went up by almost 50%.

Ami says he will be forever grateful for Jon’s help.

Owner Ami changed the name from Solids and Stripes back to Zanzibar.

Jon returned to the bar a year later.

He wasn't happy they hadn't kept the new name.

Ari had added more gaming tables and the free pool is back.

They have kept most of Jons changes and added a few new items to the menu.

Zanzibar is open.

Reviews are good.

Patrons praise the pool tables and complaints are of bartenders favoring friends for service and tables.

Click for more Bar Rescues

Previous episode - The Brixton

Next episode - The Kasbah

This post was last updated in February 2024.

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