Bullpen Bar/Oak Tavern – Episode 421

Air Date: June 28, 2015
Season 4, Episode 21 – Take Me Out of the Bar Game
Location: Sparks, NV
Description: Before he’s able to save a bar from spiraling out of control, Jon Taffer is forced to navigate a turbulent partnership between an ex-pilot and his ex-girlfriend that’s neither business nor pleasure.

The Story
In 2013, Dan Serafini, a retired Major League Baseball pitcher, decided to add bar owner to his résumé by taking over the Bullpen Bar in Aspen Glen. Dan changed the name and theme, turning it into a sports bar.

The bar was a rousing success from the moment its doors reopened. Due to the bar’s success, Dan was able to step back and spend more time with his new wife, Erin. Dan hired family friends, Tara and Wynter, to help tend to the customers. This decision was a huge mistake, causing his profits to decrease significantly.

According to Yelp reviews, some of the issues that led to the bar’s downfall include:
• Bad lighting
• Smoky atmosphere due to broken smoke ventilator
• Horrible customer service
• Not family friendly
• Drunken employees

Now, Dan is in debt to the tune of approximately, $300,000. Desperate for a miracle to save his bar Dan made a call to Bar Rescue.

The Recon
During the recon, it was obvious to Jon and his team that Dan’s staff treated the bar like it was their personal liquor cabinet. In fact bartender Jessica blew a .021 when Jon administered a Breathalyzer test; that’s three times the legal limit.

During the stress test, all four bartenders were tested for drink production. Unfortunately, one of Dan’s family friends, Wynter, was fired for her lackluster performance. In a surprising twist of events, Jessica turned out to be the fastest bartender.

In order to make the bar successful, Jon changed the look, came up with a new business model, and changed its name to Oak Tavern. Additional changes include:
• Uniforms for the employees
• Added seating
• A redesigned bar
• New policies e.g. the bar is now non-smoking until 9pm in an attempt to make it more family friendly

Updates
The re-launch was a great success and six weeks later, Dan says that the bar has increased its sales by 70%. In addition, Jessica is now sober when at work and has tripled her sales.

Yelp Reviews
• “Hands down, the best burger I have ever had. I don’t think anything could have made it better.
Let’s talk about the pork infused ground beef patty that was juicy to the last bite, with Tri-tip steak on top making it the perfect meat blends! Crunchy lettuce, delicious tomato, crisp red onion, smothered with 2 slices of provolone on the softest gluten-free bun I have ever had. Beyond description, beyond words! I needed to buy this Burger dinner before enjoying this glorious moment! Add Metro Deli Jalapeño Cheddar chips on the side with pepperoncinis that pop in your mouth, and a Burbon Buck to wash it all down, perfecto! The atmosphere tops it all off, the Chef comes out to meet you in person, the waitresses are very pleasant and never let your drink hit bottom and getting the pleasure of shaking hands with the owners and management, really makes the whole night! When, not if, but when you get the chance, enjoy this great Tavern!” – Danielle B.
• “Definitely the best cocktails I have had in the Reno/Sparks area. I was lucky enough to visit this bar back in April (right after re-opening and before the show aired). When it comes to drinks, I love creativity. I was able to try both ones on the menu and ones that weren’t on the menu. A bartender that can suggest more than a vodka cranberry when I am not sure what I want is pretty awesome in my book. I sadly don’t remember the bartender’s name but he was awesome! It wasn’t too crazy when we went on a Friday night, but sadly we missed the kitchen being open (Hopefully next time we make it during the day to try some food). The bar is also in a perfect location that’s quieter and easier to access than downtown. Can’t wait to return!” – Kate P.

Featured cocktail: S’mores Martini

Due to the residents in the area love for outdoor sports, ace mixologist Phis Willis created a cocktail that paid homage to this activity. The recipe is as follows:

What you need:
1 oz. Chocolate liqueur
2 oz. Marshmallow vodka
1 oz. Creme de Cacao
1 oz. Chocolate, melted
2 oz. Cream or half & half
3 Marshmallows
1 Graham cracker

What to do:
1. Use your hands to crush the graham cracker into a small bowl
2. Place the chocolate into a second small bowl and microwave until melted
3. Dip the rim of the martini glass into the chocolate
4. Dip the chocolate covered rim into the graham cracker pieces. Let the martini glass sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes
5. Add the chocolate liqueur, marshmallow vodka, cream, and crème de cacao into a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice
6. Shake the mixture thoroughly and pour into the prepared martini glass
7. Skewer the marshmallows and hold them over an open flame until the ends get toasted.
8. Thread the toasted marshmallows onto a cocktail pick and use them to garnish the drink