Corner Pocket II / The Gateway Pub and Grill - Bar Rescue Update - Open or Closed?

Corner Pocket II Bar Rescue

In this Bar Rescue episode, Jon Taffer visits Corner Pocket II in Hickory, North Carolina.

Corner Pocket II is owned by Carlos Walker.

He is a former college football player and bought the bar in 2009.

When he bought it, he knew it was a fixer upper.

He ran into a lot of problems and it clashed with his duties as a single father.

He only had enough money to buy the bar but not enough to rebrand.

His solution was to simply add II to the name of the bar.

Former school teacher Candy manages the bar for him.

The bar is struggling to make money with so many maintenance issues.

He is in debt and still losing money every week.

Jon surveys the bar with expert mixologist Nick Ortega and expert chef Vic Vegas.

He gives them the lowdown on the bar and its owner and how he could not change the name when he got it.

They see the kitchen is in a state with a blackened grill.

They see fruit flies in the bar and a cockroach in the kitchen.

Jon and Vic go in to stop the service based on what they have seen.

They confront the staff and the customers are disgusted leaving their food and drinks.

Vic inspects the kitchen and finds mouldy cheese with no date and bugs in the flour.

Candy is ashamed of on seeing the cluttered bar and dirty bar tools.

She complains she is not a kitchen manager so she cannot control the kitchen and the owner is absent.

Jon tells them to clean the bar and kitchen thoroughly that night and he will call in exterminators.

Candy is upset she is being made the scapegoat as she cleans.

The next day, all the staff were together and Carlos the owner makes an appearance.

None of the staff know when they had last seen Carlos and Jon tells him what he saw the night before.

None of the staff have gotten any guidance on their roles or grown in their knowledge and skills.

Candy is tearful throughout and it moves Jon.

Carlos and Candy want to do better for the business.

The experts are brought in and introduced to the staff.

Nick takes the staff through making a Figur-ita drink.

Vic takes them into making a southern hot chicken sandwich.

For the stress test Jon tells them what is expected of them.

Carlos lets in customers and they have only 3 drinks on the menu.

They start off making mistakes at the bar.

Candy is helping where she can on the floor.

The kitchen process has changed and Tammie the cook is swarmed.

Candy helps her put a few prepped dishes together and take them out.

Some orders have no table numbers and they need to crosscheck what is going where.

Tables have incomplete orders and some orders go to the wrong tables.

They are too behind to catch up and they shut down service.

Jon meets with his experts to plan what the bar needs to do to stand out.

There is a lot of competition around them and not a lot of disposable income from the community.

The next day, Nick trains them on some new drinks including a Carolina Manhattan.

Jon sits with Carlos and Candy to discuss the way forward.

He encourages Candy to step up and gets Carlos to commit to give her the appropriate support she needs.

The Bar Rescue team works long hours and by night all the staff are gathered.

The bar is unveiled with a new exterior that is eye catching with new branding.

The bar has been renamed to The Gateway Pub and Grill.

Inside has been upgraded with matching tables and chairs, a booth area and a warm ambience that is inviting.

They have new Skytab systems, a Bluezone device, a Pathspot device and a fumigation service with monthly checkups.

There is also new bar tools and a subscription to Partender.

Candy is given a new Chef’s jacket.

The staff quickly prepare and Carlos lets everyone in.

On relaunch, the locals love the changes to the bar and order from the new menu.

The bartenders are doing great with less than 2 minutes until drinks are served.

The kitchen is at 8 minute ticket times.

The customers love the service and say they will come back.

Carlos is happy the bar has a lot of energy.

He sees that his presence has motivated the staff.

What Happened Next at Corner Pocket II / The Gateway Pub and Grill?

Two months later, customers love the new look of the bar.

The new menu items are selling well.

Carlos is checking on the bar more frequently to help Candy out.

They have kept the new name.

Corner Pocket II / The Gateway Pub and Grille is open.

Reviews are mostly positive, some of the negative reviews appear to be based on the episode rather than genuine visits.

This post was last updated in June 2023.

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