‘Bar Rescue’ Host Jon Taffer Reveals Five Series Secrets, From the Show’s Initial Rejection to Walking Away Before the Remodel Is Done

“Bar Rescue” is one of Paramount Network’s flagship shows, with industry expert and host Jon Taffer attempting to save flailing watering holes across the country. While his common sense advice and industry knowledge make running a successful tavern business seem achievable even for home audiences, the show’s whirlwind filming schedule allows Taffer’s team to record an incredible amount of material at a breakneck pace.

After 13 years, nine seasons and an average of 1.3 million viewers, “Bar Rescue” will celebrate its 250th episode, airing June 30. Ahead of the milestone, Taffer opened up about what the audience doesn’t see — from the scope of the crew and aftercare to what the importance of the bar industry could mean for all Americans.

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The production team is much bigger than it appears

While Taffer always brings on experts like mixologists and chefs to work with the restaurant, the “Bar Rescue” team is much larger than viewers see in each episode.

“We have about 57 crew members on set,” Taffer says. “When we add the pre-team, our casting team and our post-team, we run about 102 or so total in the production. We have three or four cameras on joysticks and ‘robo-cams’ on the property. We have four shoulder cameras, each with its audio guy. We travel with four big semis. We have a trailer that we travel with, so we don’t have to set up video villages when we pull in. It takes us about 12 hours to load in and about eight hours to load out. It’s a significant production.”

“Bar Rescue” wasn’t an immediate yes

Taffer’s pitch for the show wasn’t initially met with an open mind. “One time I heard, ‘Jon, you will never be on television. You’re too old, you’re not good looking enough. It’ll never happen,’” Taffer says. “So, I’m driving out of the gates, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna shoot my own sizzle reel.’ So I went, I shot my sizzle reel, sent it to four production companies, and I got four-out-of-four offers. I signed with 3 Ball Productions, and there was a company that sold 12 black roses in a coffin-shaped box. I sent it to my friend at the company that passed, and the show premiered less than a year later.”

Taffer has walked away from three businesses

“I have walked away twice and not remodeled,” he says. “I also walked away one time after I did remodel. I took the employees with me and threw the keys at the owner. We’ve had a few of those incidents.”

If any of the owners have alcohol issues that come to light on the show, Taffer provides help

After every one of those episodes, Taffer gave the person in need a support system. “To me, it’s not about the bar — it’s about the family. So, we always leave them with a counselor and some type of backup to help them get through. It doesn’t always work, but at least I leave them with that resource.”

Taffer believes that rejuvenating failing bars can push society into a more civil place

“After the pandemic, connection is more important than ever,” he says. “With the divisiveness in our society, I think we all need to look into each other’s eyes more, communicate more and be in the same room together. And when these things get better is when we’re together, not when we’re all apart.”

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