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‘Bar Rescue’ transforms Oasis Hookah Bar to TaZa Nightclub on Spike

Jon Taffer host and mastermind behind Bar Rescue
Jon Taffer host and mastermind behind Bar Rescue
"Photo courtesy of Spike, used with permission”

On tonight's Spike episode of “Bar Rescue,” creator Jon Taffer visited Oasis Hookah Bar in Omaha, Neb. on this episode titled, “I Smell a Rat.”

In 2012, recent college graduate, Jesse Hill sunk $50,000 to the investment of his dream, after his fraternity brothers introduced him to the hookah. It was legal to smoke, and he fell in love with it. When it first opened, they brought in about $30,000 a month, then Jesse hired Corrie to manage the place, and it has been going downhill ever since. He prefers to stay in his office, while the quality of service has declined. Now $100,000 in debt, Jesse has agreed to call in Jon Taffer and his staff of “Bar Rescue.”

Jon and his crew of mixologist Joe Brooke and hookah expert John Naddour sat outside the indistinguishable place that fails to draw on the population of Omaha. The sign blends in with the building and is not inviting at all. They were surprised that anyone even found the place.

Jon sent in a local couple to do his recon, Jack & Abbie. Abbie works in the Old Market area where mixology bars are thriving. They ordered a drink that was poured from a plastic lemonade container, and the guess it, that it was sitting there for days. They ordered a hookah, one peach and one blueberry. The hookah took a long time to arrive, and the pipe was dirty. When Abbie went into the ladies’ room, she changed her mind, because it was a disgrace. When he tasted his drink, Jack ran into the bathroom to vomit, as the drink was so bad, but the toilet did not flush, and it just sat there. Meanwhile, Jesse sat in his office with one of his staff playing games.

After seeing enough, Jon and the guys went in like gangbusters. He and his crew checked out the place, and there was nothing redeeming about the entire operation. Jon then asked what smelled like death in the place. Jesse told him that they saw a rat the other day and put down poison. Obviously, it ate it and died somewhere, but they have no idea where. Jon followed the smell and found it in about a minute, but the staff had no idea where it came from. All he did was move a sofa, and it was right there on the floor.

When Jon and his crew walked out, he told them to close the place down and clean it up. So Jesse called a staff meeting and blamed everyone but himself. As they tried to throw the blame back on him, it was a standoff. However, they stayed and cleaned the place.

When Jon and the guys arrived the next morning, it was clean. Then Jon asked the staff about the problems. He showed a video of Corrie, so drunk on Saturday night; she had to be carried out of the place, and she is the manager. Joe then tested the bartenders to see how well they can make drinks and pour properly. Brandon impressed Joe, and from the scenes of the surveillance cameras, he is the best employee there.

When John attempted to see how well the staff set up the hookah, Corrie was angry and walked out. That night, the stress test occurred, and a crowd was outside waiting to come in. When the drinks were ordered, Brandon was doing an awesome job, but Corrie could not set up the hookahs properly and when asked anything, her standard answer was “I don’t know.”

After the night ended, and both John and Jon pointed out Corrie’s incompetence, Jesse fired her. Jon then promoted Brandon to manager and Nick to bar back. The next day, Jon told Jesse that hookah just did not work in Omaha, and that the theme should be changed. Jesse was adamant not to give up on the hookah, but Jon told him that this was his personal love, not the demographic. Although Jesse did not want to see his dream go up in smoke, he realized that Jon is the expert and the place could do so much better with Jon driving the bus, and the entire staff agreed.

As the transformation began, Jesse was enjoying the change and embraced it, rather than evaded it. The next day, when they waited outside to see the new facelift and name, they were all thrilled with the theme. TaZa Nightclub was the new name, and the exterior was now inviting and welcoming. Inside, they were mesmerized by the beautiful changes and knew immediately how much the conversion would bring in revenue.

The crowd outside was an indication of the new clientele that would soon be gracing their establishment. Jesse now looked like the owner as he welcomed the awaiting throng to his new nightclub. It all fell into place, as Jon and Jesse hugged as Jon’s job was done.

Eight weeks, after the relaunch, the liquor sales have increased by 30%, Jesse hired two new bartenders to keep up with business, and Corrie has found a new full-time job, all thanks to Jon and his staff at "Bar Rescue."

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