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On each episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” host Jon Taffer steps into a floundering tavern or nightclub with two sidekicks (usually a mixologist and a chef), “stress-tests” the staff to find the weak links, thrashes the belligerent owner in a verbal showdown and completely remodels and re-brands the establishment. Here’s a typically chaotic clip:
In anticipation of the show’s fourth season, premiering October 6th, we asked Taffer (who also wrote the forthcoming book “Raise the Bar“) a few questions, man-to-man, about bars, booze and, most importantly, ladies.
How did you get into the nightlife and hospitality business?
It wasn’t a plan. I worked at a bar while going to college in Denver for political science.
Political science? That’s basically the opposite of what you do on “Bar Rescue” — you don’t pull any punches.
It’s very real; it’s what I do. They may not like it when I scream and yell, but if I don’t have that no-nonsense attitude, I’m gonna fail. I’m given three days to change everything in this business, and there’s a clock ticking in my head every second of those three days. It’s a daunting task. I feel pressure, man, every minute. I use confrontation as a tool. Let’s argue it out, let’s hug and move on.
You’ve had many confrontations on the show. What’s scarier: an angry bartender or an angry chef?
Honestly, I’m not intimidated by any of them. Nobody intimidates me. My mother was a very powerful and intimidating character. She was very intense, demanding and had high standards. You didn’t f**k around when it came to my mother. If I could deal with her, I could deal with anyone, and I say that affectionately. She was a tough woman.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in a bar?
When we went to Headhunters in Austin, Texas, there was a waitress suspended from the ceiling with hooks in her back. The band that night was called “Miscarriage.” As a part of the act, a woman, pretending to be pregnant, stepped on stage, and one of the band members ripped a bloody doll out of her stomach.
Wow. That had to have turned off female patrons. Speaking of which, as a nightlife guru, do you have any dating advice for our readers?
The important thing is showing your best side. She wants to see your desire to make her happy. You’ve got to find out what she wants, what she’s about. They want to see sensitivity, a guy that has their happiness at heart. Most importantly, you’ve got to respect her integrity. I certainly wouldn’t take her to chicken wings at Hooters, I’ll tell you that.
What are your tips for the ultimate home cocktail lounge?
You have to start with the seven fundamentals: Vodka, scotch, gin, rum, tequila, cognac and American whiskey. Then, for the ladies: Baileys, Kahlua, Triple Sec and a chocolate liqueur. For mixing, a six-pack of small juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, etc.), along with a sweet and sour mix. And finally, some classic cocktail ingredients: Grenadine, Rose’s lime juice and bitters.