Just blocks from my house a reality show called Bar Rescue has commandeered the Piratz Tavern, a local bar with a pirate theme. I had only been to the Piratz Tavern once in my 4 year in Silver Spring and that was on a lark after with an entire wedding party still dressed in formal attire. Piratz Tavern didn't seem to be doing well based on what I heard from friends, yelp reviews give it 2.5 starzzz, and I never paid it much attention. Of course until Bar Rescue came and took over the bar. I'm not the only one interested as my favorite local bloggers Thayer Ave and Silver Spring Singular also are covering the story. The Piratz theme has been sacked and the new name appears to be Corporate Bar and Grill, see the local blog stories for pictures.
I will start this post by saying that I have now only watched one episode of Bar Rescue and spent less than an hours research on it but I thought I would report my findings. It's a blog post about a reality show that rescues bars so take everything with a grain of salt and a slice of lime.
The goal of this study was to see how successful the show Bar Rescue is at turning a failing bar into a beloved bar.
The theory. By injecting a large amount of money into a bar. Providing some buzz and some improvement in technique that bars could be rescued.
Sample Selection Bias. Ideally the bars would have been randomly selected from a pool of similar bars and we could compare to a control group. That didn't happen the though the goal is to entertain not evaluate the Bar Rescuers. One problem with a show called bar rescue is that any bar featured would likely be in need of rescuing therefore we would expect some bars to fails. However, it could also be that the show picks bars in placed likely to succeed so we might not be able to compare the selected bar to those not being rescued. Since I'm not trying to publish this study in an academic journal I'm not going to worry about it but will acknowledge the problem.
Data Sources: So far Bar Rescue has had 10 episodes featuring 10 bars. I used the name of the bars in google searches to find the following information. If the bar was still open and it's current Yelp Reviews. I used Yelp since it seems to be the largest source of these types of reviews and Yelp reviews do show economic impacts.
Results: Of the 10 bars featured last season 7 are still open. I determined this by checking yelp and checking bar webpage or facecbook pages for updates in the last month. It appears the bars featured in episodes 102, 104, and 105 (see data source) are now closed. Of the 7 still open bars 6 have 3 or 3.5 stars on Yelp and none of those 6 has consistently great recent reviews after the show. The seventh bar The Bone in Framingham, MA has four stars on Yelp and some pretty good recent ratings.
Conclusions: The best case scenario is The Bone a four star Yelp bar. For comparison Silver Spring has two four star yelp bars (Jackie's Side Bar and Quarry House), which are also my two favorite local bars (not that my ratings matter). I'm doubtful, we will get the best case scenario. Since The Bone tweaked the concept they had while the change from Piratz Tavern to Corporate Bar seems bigger change. In short I think if Corporate Bar and Grill survives we are likely to see a 3 to 3.5 star bar, which does serve it's purpose McGinty's is a 3 star Yelp bar and it serves its purpose and a fine pint too. So good luck to owners!