Binge-watching the Memphis episodes of Bar Rescue + Sunday news

I took the day totally off yesterday. Dealing with some health issues and badly needing to give my body a day to rest. With Halloween revelers out in force and no Halloween costume, it just seemed like the right day to do it. I discovered that one of my all-time favorite shows, Bar Rescue, had a one-day pass where you can watch unlimited episodes.

Bar Rescue is hosted by service industry expert John Taffer. He locates bars that were once busy and profitable but which have fallen upon hard times. He works with the owners and staff (often yelling at them) to mend personal disagreements and identify the bar’s problems. It’s really interesting to watch. You learn about things like food costs. You also learn that a lot of bars waste more beer/liquor than they sell due to poorly run beer taps and due to employees giving away shots. Taffer redesigns the bar to incorporate a concept that fits the surrounding area. He’ll bring in a mixologist to create a drink menu and train the staff. He’ll also bring in a chef to create a menu the kitchen manager and cooks can handle.

About a year and a half ago, Taffer’s people started putting out feelers to basically every Memphis-area bar, looking for rescues. He found three and the episodes are now online. A sports bar out in Arlington, now named The Legacy Bar & Grill (season 6 episode 1), was renamed as parents patched up differences with their son and prepared to hand on the business to the next generation. Season 6 Episode 2 comes to Downtown Memphis, where the owner of Havana Mix was having trouble attracting business to its adjacent cocktail bar. Taffer got the owner’s son, the bar manager, to stop spending so much time in the humidor, realizing that a drink sold was generally more profitable (and a much quicker sell) than a cigar sold. The chef worked with kitchen staff to come up with dishes with Cuban flair. The place got a slight rename, Robusto by Havana Mix.

The third Memphis-area episode, Season 6 Episode 5, was described as a “failing Mississippi dive bar” and I thought, it’s probably somewhere down near Clarksville. However, when the show started, I thought, “Wait a minute! I ate there!” It was the former Joe’s Thirsty Lizard in Horn Lake, right around the corner from the ACBL where I worked. Once I saw the “before” state of the kitchen – and learned that my food was likely cooked by a guy named Dirty Red – I regretted my lunch decision there. They cleaned it up real nice though, giving it a new concept called The Iron Horse that fit the area well.

On to the news…

NF brings the Perception Tour to the Mud Island Amphitheatre tonight at 7:30.

The Daily Memphian has a photo gallery of the Komen Race for the Cure that happened in Downtown Memphis yesterday morning.

There’s Pop-up Jazz in Court Square with Kelley Hurt & Chris Parker tonight from 5 to 7 PM. Food trucks will be there, and you can bring your own lawn chairs and picnic baskets. It should be a beautiful day to be outside – after a couple of weeks of below-normal temperatures, we’re looking at a high in the upper 70s along with sunshine this afternoon.

Musical celebration One Memphis will bring people from all walks of life together at Handy Park today at 4.

Time to get out and enjoy this day! What a great day for the Sunday of RiverArtsFest. Back tomorrow with more news.