Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bar Rescue - The Hot Rock Bar & Grille (Sandbar Grill) Update

Photo - Spike TV
On tonight's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Coconut Grove, Florida to try to rescue the Sandbar Grill.  The bar is co-owned by Albert and Matt, and Albert is too concerned with his fantasy football team to pay attention to his bar.  The bar was thriving but the local government made some changes in 2010 that impacted the bar.   The bar is supposedly losing $7,000 a month and is two months away from closing.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Sandbar Grill was renamed to The Hot Rock Bar & Grille, which had a Korean BBQ theme.  The bar quickly changed the name back to Sandbar Grill and also put back up some old decorations.  Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Sandbar Grill since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar:



Positive Reviews:
  • "The food was very good and seemed a little less expensive than some other swankier looking places not far away. Great service and it seemed to have a local following which is always a good sign."
  • "After the awful Bar Rescue remodel, which switched the name and concept to a Korean BBQ joint called HotRocks, Sandbar is back to normal. Some of the best fish tacos in Miami, cold beer and huge TVs -- great place to catch a game!" 
  • "After coming here a few times since that show was taped (but has never been aired as of this writing), this place is still pretty much the same Sandbar Grill we've all known and loved...most everything is still the same or has been brought back since the show was filmed...Including the oversized wooden lifeguard seat.  Even the speakers with decades of dust on them are still hanging in the same spot, and sadly, the restrooms which really did need attention, never got any love"
  • "Love it. Best bar in cocowalk. Drinks were strong and reasonably priced. Staff was amazing and on point."

Negative Reviews:
  • "This place use to be a coconut give staple. Stopped by today after not being here for a couple years. Wow has it dropped off. Drinks, food, service, everything was subpar."
  • "The most frustrating part of this so-called renovation: the bathrooms are still among the most disgusting in Coconut Grove!! How can a TV show come in and give it a makeover but leave the broken doors and sticky floors the same? I won't get over this for awhile."
  • "I'm not sure whose idea it was to have Jon Taffer come in and rip the soul out of Sandbar, but whoever thought that was a great idea should be excommunicated, if not put to sleep. A resounding Fuck You to Bar Rescue and another epic Fuck You to Jon Taffer" 
  • "The Sandbar was once a fun bar where I'd go to hangout, drink & party after kickball. Unfortunately, thanks to #BarRescue, that place full of fun memories is gone. The decor has been replaced with a poor imitation of an upscale bar which is not reflective of the area surrounding it..I wasn't impressed with the renovation or changes to the menu." 
*Reviews from Tripadvisor, Yelp


Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue makeover happened in November of 2014.
  • Here are 3 preview videos of the episode from the Spike TV website - Video 1 (Intro), Video 2 (Shut it down), Video 3(Recon)
  • There are two Sandbar Grill Facebook pages.  Here is one and the other.
  • Here is the Sandbar Grill website and menu, and they still have the lava rock on the menu as well as $9.25 cocktails.
  • The Sandbar Grill appears to be a franchise as there are multiple locations (Link).
  • Here are the Facebook pages of Albert (owner), Matt (owner).
  • Albert changed his profile picture to a picture of Jon Taffer next to Shrek, so he obviously isn't a fan of Jon.
  • Sandbar Grill is having a watch party for the episode and are advertising it with the hashtag #UnTaffered.
  •  Albert posted a comment on Facebook that said, "Show is a scam but karaoke has been going on for years. They didn't touch the bathrooms but that project is coming this summer."
  • The Sandbar Grill put took down the Bar Rescue sign and put up a brand new sign with a shark (pictured right) 
    Bar Rescue Sign - Left, New Sign - Right
  • In a blog post about the bar after the makeover, there were a lot of people commenting about the Bar Rescue makeover being crappy and complaining that they didn't fix the dirty bathrooms. There were also a lot of customer complaints on social media during the makeover.
  • On an Eater article right after the makeover, owner Matt was quoted saying, "We're going to change some of the nights, introduce specialty food nights, get rid of some of the cheap gimmicks."  He also said they were going to focus on a lunch crowd and dinner crowd, but that isn't an effort to get rid of the college kids. 
  • Albert was sued in 2014 by an employee for failing to pay overtime rates over 40 hours a week.  The lawsuit also says Sandbar Grill had gross sales of greater than $500,000 each year from 2010 to 2013, and were expected to exceed $500,000 in 2014 as well. (Link to lawsuit).
  • I tried to figure out how Albert did in his fantasy leagues, but got no response. The update at the end of the show did say he won $3,500 in them.

Conclusion:

After the Bar Rescue makeover, The Hot Rock Bar & Grille quickly changed their name back to the Sandbar Grill.  The owners and customers didn't seem happy with the makeover and have been outspoken about the Bar Rescue changes.  The bar has also brought back a lot of their old decorations that Jon Taffer removed, installed a new sign, and has plans to renovate the bathrooms in the summer.  Sandbar has kept some of the changes and still serves the Bar Rescue cocktails and a menu item with the hot rock.

The reviews of Sandbar Grill since the Bar Rescue makeover are mixed, with people complaining about the Bar Rescue changes, and the filthy bathrooms.  The positive reviews are mostly people who say they have always loved the bar.

It seems like the reviews were not too bad before the makeover and people commented how the place was always packed, so who knows if it was actually in need of a rescue.  They seem to have money available for a new sign and planned bathroom renovations in the summer.  Perhaps they were hoping for a free makeover and it didn't go exactly as they wanted.


*To see how all of the bars from Bar Rescue are doing, go to the Bar Rescue Update page, and also Like us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter to stay up to date with all things involving Bar Rescue.

44 comments:

  1. The new concept won't last. Fantasy football and being clueless are too alluring. Kegs look great in their Keg Koosies, but the restrooms? Piss fast, crabs swim upstream.

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  2. So basically this bar didn't need to be rescued according to all those loyal customers. The owners just wanted advertising and a free makeover, which they didn't end up liking and are using to their advantage anyway through a "Come on over and make fun of how shitty Bar Rescue is!" gimmick.

    Also I love how the idiot customers are blaming Bar Rescue for the disgusting bathrooms. Yeah, it's really stupid that the show didn't fix that issue, but who let it get that way in the first place? The idiot owners who apparently were not in financial trouble and therefore had no excuse. And this is the bar these people choose to defend? Yeah, sounds like a great place.

    And FYI Albert you dumbfuck, if your intent was to insult Jon Taffer and bring into question his reputation, you should have picked a more appropriate character to compare him to than the beloved protagonist of a children's movie.

    Shitty "rescue," sleezy owners, stupid customers. Gotta love it.

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  3. It seems on point for Florida trash to like drinking in a shit stain bar. The rescue looked better than the crappy seaside flop it looked like. The locals loved it...... of course they did...it's florida ,white trash, meth chic...

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  4. That Albert looked like a classic short-guy jock-sniffer. Why Bar Rescue doesn't make these owners sign a binding contract with financial penalties if they violate them is beyond me at this point.

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  5. Those makeovers are not free, I was told by a bar owner it's either a loan for the entire price or give up 25% ownership.

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  6. Wrong. I know the owner of the bar they did in Sherman Oaks... 100% free, that's why everything is sponsored.

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  7. As soon as I saw Albert's attitude, I knew he wouldn't keep the changes. Now I see from the update above, that I was right.

    Well, so much for the time spent there, it was just wasted on this place.

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  8. It's kind of sad john comes in to help these people and they go back to there old ways some times it's hard to believe this show at all I know it's reality TV but for someone to come in and help you and try to make you money then you go back to your old shitty ways what's the fucking point

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  9. This is the first episode where I wondered if the mark actually conned the con men.

    I mean, could Albert really be THAT stupid? He owned at bar successfully for years before the city changed the regulations to kill the late night crowd. A truly incompetent owner (which BR has had) wouldn't have lasted a year, no matter how much the bar sold itself to drunk frat boys. And why would Matt, who has experience in the business, throw his money into a business that anyone who understands the business would immediately see that the Albert was an idiot? Most of the Yelp! comments have been generally positive for years (though many were grads re-living their drunken college memories). Plus, for a bar that was so broke-ass it was about to close, that obviously expensive new Sandbar sign sure went up pretty fast after Taffer left. As well as the costly promise to renovate the bathrooms BR didn't (how could this show ignore bad bathrooms?). And does South Florida have these people called "Health Inspectors"? Am I to believe a bar with food in that bad of shape wouldn't have been shut down by the city long before Taffer showed up?

    As for the changes? The name was AWFUL! The sign looked like I could have designed it on my 1995 Dell computer, and the interior looked like it was designed to be a set for a daytime soap opera. A Korean BBQ theme as unique? The Asian trend has been passe in the major cities for over two years. And South Florida isn't some backwater area in east Nebraska.

    I think that Albert and Matt made the bar look a lot worse than it really was in order to play Taffer/BR for some free equipment and publicity. Honestly, I'd have more respect for them if that was the case.

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  10. He lied to you just like they lie to Taffer about what they know . . . Get Real.

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  11. I used to work around the corner and have been to Sandbar many times. Here's what I know: everything Taffer said was true. I used to bartend down there and the college crowd was insane, but the now area is completely different. Right across the street from Sandbar now are new upscale places and one serves ceviche. There is a shopping plaza a block away with major chain restaurants and retailers.

    I've eaten there and the food was OK. I never thought it was that great, but people always raved about it, especially the fish tacos - but then they would sell those for 2-for-1. I would never order a mix drink there unless it was a gin and tonic, but even then I never expected much. The kitchen and bar were really that grimy. Even the college kids now are going for higher end concepts like Greenstreet Cafe a few blocks away, which is like a lounge concept with a moderate to high priced menu - they are always full.

    All in all as I said Taffer was on the money as far as I am concerned. A lot of people including many of my friends weren't happy about the changes, but the new concept looked far more appealing to me.

    Greenstreet Cafe:


    http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/assets_c/2012/03/greenstreetcafe-thumb-550x410.jpg

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  12. It really amazes me how some people just do not want help and when someone comes in to help its like going to the dentist with out using any drugs. you try to help them and they just fight you all the way not to mention trying to blame someone else for all of their problems they had, Personally I think Jon should be more picky about who he helps out and just help those that want the help and who really need it and are happy with the results.

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  13. Really disappointed in owner Matt, because he presented himself as an honest, genuine guy. Clearly he is neither of those things. I am disappointed that he ended up being so disrespectful of the show and Jo.

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  14. These are douche-y University of Miami kids who had some drunken nights in a dive bar. They aren't loyal customers. They're just pissed that their nostalgia was messed with.

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  15. I visited the Sand Bar last knight, hoping to find what came out on TV and it really was a disapointment ...this place should had stay with the make over and the changes you did in help and staff...the cooks do not wear gloves and handle the food with their hands, the kitchen was dirty from the outside, papers all over the floor and the help????..The worst I have seen in my 26 year career as a Bar and Discoteque owner. If they are making money it will be a miracle!!!!! At least that was my first and last time.

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  16. TheGrandIllusionMarch 9, 2015 at 7:00 PM

    I used to go to The Sandbar when I attended Miami. It was a dive then, and it looks like nothing has changed. I recently stopped by The U on my way to Key West and I too was shocked by the changes in the neighborhood. If this business doesn't roll with the changes, it's only a matter of time until they close - Bar Rescue or otherwise. I have great memories from the place, but it seems like a lot of folks only want to talk about 'The Glory Days' and tradition, and don't care about the bar/restaurant's future.

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  17. When Mia said that looking behind the bar made her want to take a shower, I blurted out "Can I watch?"

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  18. I'm curious as to what the liability insurance costs would be when you put a 500 degree plate on a table in front of a clientele that had been drinking for awhile.

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  19. you hit the nail in the coffin. and as for loyal customers, probably Albert and his fantasy football fools. you're right they don't take responsibility for their own actions and this was long before the show ever got involved with them. to be honest I just wish Bar rescue with you a better background check on these businesses that way they won't be pulling your stringsand try to get something for free out of them. I give this place a year before they go under for good.

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  20. Thank you for your uninformed and non insightful post. What bar do you own may I ask? Just so I can come in and pick on your "loyal" customer base. Go back down to mommy's basement, leave this conversation for the adults. Good talk

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  21. Hey, glass house... I'm interested in why you would use an alias, especially when calling someone a "dumb fuck". Must be nice hiding behind the computer. Anyway nice review, coming from one of that places "stupid customers".

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  22. Tony, I KNOW you're ugly, you're probably missing a few teeth (in the front i would imagine), and i'm guessing you live in Georgia? I will take these white trash girls over the ones around yer parts sir.

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  23. Okay i'll show you mine when you show me your place of establiment too now if you excuse me i have my business to tend to while you sit in your mommy's basement and cry like the stupid faggot that you are and troll somewhere else ta-ta

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  24. You blocked me from being able to reply, hmmmm, strange. Anyway... What business is that? Sucking on BBC in the back room of the asian message parlor on 27th? Also i used the line of mommys basement, thanks for plagiarizing... Do you have any original thoughts on this message board or are you going to steal your way to success like you have done you entire life? Oh i know that was a big word, Plagiarism is an act of stealing someone else's work. ta ta, does it suck to be an ugly heffer? also when i end with "good talk" that means i just killed you, no need to reply. Now, good talk...

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  25. HAHAHA, DAMN son. you win... Eric 1 Sheana 0.

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  26. I agree. All these owners taking the free remodel and bringing back the old name & putting up the old sign are making Jon Taffer look like a chump. He is too cool for that--his producers do have to come up with owners who will keep the changes

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  27. Matt's changed his profile picture twice more, now he's seen wearing a shirt saying something like "assume i'm never wrong", what a complete tool this moron is.

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  28. There was nothing wrong with the new name or interior, it looked a hell of a lot better then the dated dive bar look it had before.

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  29. Uh...you do realize you're using an alias and hiding behind a computer while calling others stupid...right?

    People in glass houses........you know the rest.

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  30. I didn't call him stupid, I was simply pointing out he called himself stupid. He was / is one of this places customers, I ascertained this information simoly by reading his post, imagine that, stupid...

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  31. You're an idiot. First of all, posting as a guest named "Jim" isn't identifying yourself. Second of all, you didn't disprove or even address any of my points. Third of all, I don't know why you think I am one of the Sandbar Grill's customers. I have no interest in going to a place with disgusting bathrooms and lying owners. So all in all, your post is pointless and has no value.

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  32. When your a failing business the "loyal customers" are the last people on earth you should listen to.

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  33. Just have to look at the cutting boards to know this is a shithole.

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  34. I just watched the Afterbuzz TV post-show on this episode, and it sounds like they switched it out almost as fast as the Piratz Tavern people did. I don't think they burned the sign, though.

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  35. To be fair, it looks like Albert is the one with the hate-on for Taffer, not Matt.

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  36. wow so hostile !! you must buy andrew...... right ? that place was a dive bar period. the local government screwd their hours basically right ? tafer was right . how can you keep a " sandbar " theme going when the college crowd is GONE ? i guarantee in some way you are involved with that bar..... your comment is just to ...... i dunno its like your taking it personal... hmmmmm

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  37. You can't fix stupid.

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  38. Matt and Albert are both great guys, Sandbar is a Grove institution and a great place for drinks and Apps.......... Albert spends a ton of time on assisting children in need for charities noone seams to mention that. I am a fan of Taffer but he missed the mark on that "Rescue" should have stuck with a beach theme and 100% should have addressed the bathrooms. Love these guys and I am honored to consider them friends !!!

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  39. Aprile WilliamsMay 1, 2015 at 4:05 AM

    why do they waste all this on these owners who just change it back or close I wish someone would just come makeover my kitchen

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  40. @eric .. D#CKBREATH .. You don't need to own a bar to recognize loser regulars that kill business


    The fact is that too many former frat boys want to own a bar just so they can justify their drinking habit ..

    They don't know S about running a bar and end up abusing the people that do work for them.


    That's not even addressing how poorly they treat the few customers they end up having before the bar closes their doors for good.

    NEXT !!

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  41. In my experience, if the restaurant/bar's bathrooms are filthy, then I'm not going in, no matter how good the food might be. The reason: restaurant bathrooms are relatively easy to clean, compared to a restaurant kitchen. If the owner or manager keeps bathrooms that are dirty and gross, then you can just imagine how unsanitary the kitchen is.

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  42. Having watched the episode and researching on what happened after that, the "negative" reviews post rescue sound more like they're really coming from Albert himself. It's possible that there are a few really stupid college kiddies speaking on his behalf but I'd say it's mostly Albert and his sock puppets. Also, let's not forget that Albert never wanted any changes despite the fact that demographic changes called for the bar to undergo fundamental changes. It was Matt and only Matt who called. Having said all that, Matt could have easily walked away from ownership and let the idiot Albert go to hell but he foolishly decided to stay again. You can't expect seriously stubborn owners with severe issues such as Albert to change overnight. Also, I'm starting to question Taffer going way too much into renovating when the fact is that changing building material and/or adding equipment won't change a thing unless the owners, management, and employees themselves change. Is it too much to ask Taffer to hold off on renovating and first focus on progress from the owners, management, and employees themselves? I mean, check to see how progress is coming along for the next 6 weeks and then follow up with an off on renovation including name change.

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  43. "being clueless" . . .. so true

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  44. I found the complaints Taffer made about the fajitas presentation showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the presentation. I have worked in kitchens where they did a similar process. The iron plates are kept very hot. The meat is typically kept with a supply of cooked meat and the sauteed green peppers/onions are kept ready. When an order is placed and the other items are close to being ready to go out, the ingredients are combined on the hot plate and a very watery beef bullion mixture is squirted on the plates. It is this mixture that causes the steaming "smoke" effect and additionally keeps the meat juicy. The steam, sizzle and aromatic smoke make for a very dramatic presentation and frankly cause other patrons to want the same. This item has a very quick prep time and for those restaurants that sell a large number of these, they can serve a large number of people in a very short time frame.

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