Just a few miles from famous military installation, Fort Bragg, or in military parlance, 22 klicks (kilometers.) Cliques is a bar that is failing according to owner and former Marine, Todd Harr, who called in Jon Taffer and his staff for help. When Todd was deployed overseas in 2011, the staff took over and the party never ended until he returned six weeks later to find his bar in the trenches. Now losing $4,000 a month, and $140,000 in debt and the end is near.
As Jon and his crew of whiskey master Peter O’Connor and private celebrity chef Nick Liberato, observed the goings on, Jon explained who everyone was. Jameson the bartender used to go with Lizzie, who is also a bartender. Now they hate each other and when he walks past her, she belts him in the balls, adding to the bad vibes of the place. Jon sends in three spies; Mack is a tactical instructor; Paul is currently a sergeant and his girl Sam, who works at the base at Fort Bragg.
As the spies waited for their food, they waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, nachos took 25 minutes to get to the table. Unacceptable.
They spotted a punching bag machine, that Jon hated. These things promote violence and as they watched, someone hit it so hard, they ripped open their hand and blood was all over. That machine will have to go.
Jon finally came in to talk to Todd. He thanked him for his service and told him that he was hired by the Navy when they lost their funding for clubs. Todd stopped him in midstream and did not want to hear his resume. He asked him what the significance of the name Cliques was. He replied that there was no significance. Jon told him it was more of an attraction to women than military men. Todd pooh-poohed Jon’s rhetoric and came off as a know-it-all. However, he called Jon because he is losing his bar. Lose the attitude, Todd!
He brought the crew in to meet with the staff. Peter showed them the dirt and roaches in the beer cooler. They checked the kitchen and there were roaches in the food. Jon will send in an exterminating company and will not return until the place is bug-free. Todd said he has had his ass chewed by professional ass-chewers and Jon Taffer will not break him.
When Jon returned, the exterminator told him that he found fourteen colonies of cockroaches. They carry hundreds of diseases because Todd is irresponsible. Todd then yelled at his employees, as Jon demanded that he apologize to them for making them work in a dirty place. He would not apologize and blamed them for the roach infestation. Jon was livid, and asked Lizzie what was wrong in the bar. She said that Todd could be mean at times. When Todd interjected, Jon told him to shut up and listen, that he was now responsible and then asked him how his running the place was going?
He asked Jameson if he and Lizzie had dated, and he semi-denied it. Peter confronted the untrained bar staff, who did not know how to make cocktails.
While Nick was in the kitchen, Todd was bucking his every suggestion. Nick knew that the stress test was going to be rough, and backed off for now. When Nick questioned a portion size of the alligator, Todd was proven wrong, but still had an attitude. Nick was there to help, but his help went unappreciated.
At the bar, Jameson was visibly shaken, and when Todd took a bartender off the bar, Jon chewed him out. Kim, the manager did nothing but add to the confusion. Finally, when half the bar still did not have a drink, Jon announced to the crowd that he would whip the place into shape in three days and asked if they would all come back then. The entire crowd gave a resounding yes, then they left.
Jon continued to blame Todd, because it was his fault. He is the leader and deserves the blame. Now when Jon gets done knocking him down, he will start to build him back up. When Jon met with Todd alone, he did not yell and Todd was a bit more humble. He asked Todd what happened while he was away, and Todd told him it was party-time. When he returned, finding out how badly the place was run, he railed on his employees instead of fixing it. Todd finally took blame for the debacle the night before, and his humility was a welcome sight. Jon told him about Spike-TV’s Hire a Veteran program and brought in two veterans to work at the bar. Crystal will work in the kitchen, and Duane will be working in the front of the house.
Peter changed the cocktails around to appeal to the military clientele. Jon then surprised, Todd, Kim and Lizzie by sending them to George A. Dickel & Co. distillery in Tullahoma, Tennessee to learn more about the drinks they will be making and selling. They saw the 6-step process for making this whisky. The mash, adding yeast, fermentation, distillation, cold-charcoal filtration and then the final step, is the aging process. What an experience!
As they stood outside their bar, Jon unveiled the new name; 22 Klicks, representing in military parlance, the distance from the bar to Fort Bragg. The inside of the place was military all the way. Photos on the wall showed Todd at 19 years of age in his uniform, even a make-shift tank looking like it crashed through one wall, as a great meeting spot. The large American flag donned another wall, the lighting and everything else was so ingenious, that the staff was in total awe of the design.
One month after Jon left; the "Bar Rescue" staff reported that sales were up 50% and Todd’s former military clientele have returned to the bar and Todd will have paid off his $140,000 debt by the end of the year.
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