Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bar Rescue - LA Brew Co (Los Angeles Brewing Company) Update

On tonight's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Los Angeles, California to try to rescue Los Angeles Brewing Company.  The bar is located in downtown Los Angeles, and is owned by Richard Ramos who is supposedly a million dollars in debt and losing $15,000 a month.  The debts and disagreements caused by owning the bar have triggered a family divide.  Maria Menounos is back again to do recon with Jon Taffer, and the bar ends up serving Jon's spies raw hamburger meat.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Los Angeles Brewing Company's name didn't change much as the signs that Bar Rescue put up now say LABREWCO.  They seem to be going by LA Brew Co, but still have a Los Angeles Brewing Company website and Facebook page.  Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Los Angeles Brewing Company/LA Brew Co. since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar:


Positive Reviews:
  • "This place has so much potential, it is pretty spacious, but needs more attention from the owner. The ladies bathroom was nice but dirty. There are dead spaces throughout the place with stuff mounted on each other. The drapery needs cleaning or updating..  More attention to small details will make such a big difference to the ambiance.. Overall I had a great time. I will try Saturday night again.. You should too!!"


Negative Reviews:
  • "Place is super weak. Cool atmosphere but beer selection is wack. Went there and all the local beers were gone. LA brewery company with no LA brews???? Doesn't make sense to me either lol."
  • " Lures you in with the promise of 15% off, good food and great ambience, then you get there and find out they lied about the discount, food is typical bar food, and it's empty for the most part or too damn loud to hear yourself think when its busy....You know the bathrooms are bad when your own shoes don't even want to flush the toilet."
  • "Even after gaining unwanted fame on a bar rescue reality show, this bar falls short of everything. Menu, drink selection, staff and ambience belong in the confederate south. Its only a matter of time that rent and hipster reviews will give this bar a proper burial."
  • "Bartenders were on the super-slow clueless tip. Not really sure what was up with them. They ignored half the bar customers waiting for drinks, not realizing who had been waiting and who just got there. Poor bartending IMO. C'mon now!"
  • "This is the worst bar ever...The food sucks, the service sucks and the beer sucks.So disappointing."
  • "We came here because of the name, thinking about BEER, well we were very disappointed they only have one of their own on tab, they won't take the 15% coupon that yelp offers, and on top of that any other craft beer is double the price!!! This is the first time I have ever paid 8 -9 dollars for a local beer!! They don't have a menu for drinks, so if you are concerned about the bill, I'll suggest you ask for prices before ordering."
  • "I don't know if they're terribly understaffed, lazy, or just horrible at what they do, but the service was painfully slow, if they acknowledge you at all."
  • " the worst part was, even though they listed about a ton of beers on draft, each one my husband asked for was unavailable.  it got to the point that my husband just asked, "why don't you just tell me what you do have?"
  • "Tons of beers on tap, every one I wanted was OUT. Had to ask for napkins and silverware, then the waiter just brought one roll up! The beer list consisted of a sloppily hand written, unorganized, no prices listed jumble on an envelope!!...Not wasting my time or money coming back here that's for sure!"
  • "Two letters for the new LABC....BS. Food, service, atmosphere have all taken a dive. Don't bother trying to redeem 15% off by checking in as the new managers will not honor it. BOYCOTT!!!..Never coming here again"
  • "First off, how are you a beer bar and don't have a flippin beer menu?...The wings sucked ass. Seriously?! How do you serve BLEEDING CHICKEN WINGS!!!! Yep, never the hell coming here again!! I advise you to stay the hell away!!!"
  • "Oh, the most disappointing thing is their "Check-in and receive 15% off". You can't. Reason? They're actually not "LA Brewing Company" but "LA Brew Co" so the check-in offer doesn't work since it's a "different" company at the same address."

Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue makeover happened in December of 2014.
  • Here are two preview videos (Video 1 - Intro, Video 2 - Recon) of the episode from the Spike TV website.
  • Here is the Los Angeles Brewing Company Facebook Page and Twitter. In all of the recent promotion photos, they are using the LABREWCO symbol designed by Bar Rescue.
  • Here is the Los Angeles Brewing Company/LABrewCo website.
  • There were too many negative reviews to post here, so if you are interested in reading through more, here are the Yelp Reviews.
  • It looks like they are still having problems with properly cooking the food.  Here is a picture of a bloody chicken wing from a Yelp review.
  • Here is a negative Yelp review about owner Richard Ramos claiming he doesn't pay the employees and owns a Bentley.
  • Here is Richard's Facebook page.
  • Owner Richard Ramos also owns a company called Architectural Glazing Systems according to his LinkedIn.  Here is the Facebook page for that company, which has pictures of Richard. 


Conclusion:

This is probably the most negatively reviewed bar I have seen after a Bar Rescue makeover and there are a ton of negative 1-star reviews.  Some of the complaints include terrible service, terrible food, and being out of a lot of beers on tap.  The bar also seemed to be doing a bait and switch with offering a 15% off deal on Yelp, then not honoring it because they changed names from Los Angeles Brewing Company to LA Brew Co., which angered a lot of people.

There also seems to be some things that do not add up with the owner.  He supposedly drives a Bentley, owns another company, and filed for bankruptcy with another company in 2011.  I am not sure how you can start two new companies and supposedly drive a Bentley after filing for bankruptcy, but I guess there is a way.

UPDATE - 3/25/2015 - LA Brew Co is already listed for sale - Link with more info.


*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.

37 comments:

  1. Their alcohol license has been suspended for not paying sales tax
    http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/LQSdata.asp?ID=61033568

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  2. Taffer spent more on this than any other? Bad idea. You could tell by just watching these people that this was going to continue going awry.

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  3. Do those brew tanks fill themselves???? The staff didn't appear to have any training on how to brew beer. What a joke this brew their own beer concept is.

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  4. On the show hey said it was a computerized brewing system. Perfect - a soulless brewing system for an apparently soulless bar.

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  5. I had a feeling that this was going to be a bad idea for Jon to go forward with the remodel when the owner always looked to have this lost look on his face. The computerized brewer was a bad idea because the staff was obviously lazy and unknowledgable from the beginning.

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  6. This one was painful to watch. So much potential but even the makeover seemed lackluster. Most likely because it was too big it just cost too much, and couldn't be made interesting to me. Double kill because after reading the updates, it's so agonizing to watch ignorance and stupidity continue to run amock, while business ownership dodges taxes, and files bankruptcy to keep driving a Bently

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  7. As a fat person, I wish to state that these inept losers in no way represent the intelligence and industry of fat people.


    Also, was it just me, or is the sight of Maria Menounos gagging kind of sexy?

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  8. Well, after watching the episode and reading the Yelp reviews, I can't say I'm surprised. You could tell they were in it just for the money.

    Actually, I'm surprised they haven't closed down already because the family wanted to sell during the show, but with the suspended license from the ABC board (see post from "The Ugly Truth") time seems to be running out. It's probably going to be sold sooner - rather than later.

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  9. HeII Joe, Maria is smokin' hot!!

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  10. I'd have to agree Taster, the owner did not seem to be very smart or articulate and showed no business sense of urgency. This dumbazz lost 1M on this business venture!!!!

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  11. Yeah - they really should have brought in a manager. No one in there knew the first thing about accounting, ordering, putting together a marketing plan. Running out of house brews probably happened in the first week after Taffer left.

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  12. I live around the corner from this place and I barely even heard they had the bar rescue show come out. The result is still the same, terrible service, worse beer and always empty. DTLA is driven by how you treat the locals as word travels fast.. Friends have given them another shot, but still all bad.

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  13. Can someone tell me how you can obtain the proper licenses from state and federal agencies ,(mainly the A.T.F.) in 3 days. It took us over a year. Magician John did it in three days!! Also beer has to ferment a process that can't begin until brewery is operational and ferment for weeks. Again all ready in 72 hours. Hmm, John Taffer must have a time machine!!! That's good, he can use it to go back in time and cancel this "rescue". What crap!!!!......

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  14. it wasn't ready to go. if you noticed the sign on the wall advertising their beer was covered up with "coming soon".

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  15. LLC's allow the owners limited liability from business losses. He is allowed to pay himself a salary, thus THE BENTLEY, and not lose it when his businesses implode, bankrupt. You think the guys at Enron are hurting? I agree this guy was a piece of shit. Inept, lazy and greedy. "You run the business or the business runs you." Important quote for employer and employee.

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  16. You can brew your own beer without ABC appoval, granted, it is limited quantity. By the time he sells enough, he'd likely have that very license.

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  17. Maybe the laws are different since I opened our brewpub but because we were manufacturing alcohol, (beer), we had to be licensed by the ATF. Because we sold alcohol we had to be licenced by the TABC (Texas). Completely different application process with a lot more regulations and qualifications for the manufacture of alcohol than the sale of alcohol.

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  18. My point was, and I'm in Texas, you are limited to a certain number of kegs. You may be right that, if it is public comsumption you must be federally licensed. But at some point of personal consumption you must license with the state.

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  19. Radio Free AmericaMarch 23, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    not only that but there was action taken previously with a hold in 2013, this bar fail is on Jon for not doing his homework first

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  20. Radio Free AmericaMarch 23, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    Jon should have done better homework first. Their License had a hold on it in 2013

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  21. Unless I'm mistaken, that maroon(?)-colored blazer Jon sported in this ep was the flashiest he's ever dressed on this show. I hope his reality-TV stardom hasn't gone to his head.

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  22. Family of clueless grifters operating a sham bar. Taffer should've walked out.

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  23. I would definitely expect a place called "Los Angeles Brewing Company" to be brewing their own beer.Taffer was right that it made no sense that they didn't.

    However,he not only set up a brewing operation for them,he changed their name to "LA Brew Co",and I would NOT expect a place called "LA Brew Co" to be brewing their own beer...with that name I'd only figure that they were in the business of selling "brew",not necessarily brewING it.

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  24. I don't know why they spend any money on bars like this. The reason why these bars blow in the first place is because the staff and management can't run a business. Unless you replace the people, it doesn't matter if you buy them new drapes and a new tap system, they're just gonna drive it straight into the ground. Granted, that's probably the only expense of the show besides editing, and camera crews, but you'd think they'd go for bars that have a shot at surviving. That way they could brand these bars across the country and really gain a following. I don't think there's a single bar (besides the successful one wrecked in Sandy) that I would ever actually visit.

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  25. Just saw this place listed for sale on a commercial real estate site. asking $600K

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  26. I agree with you, but it's a win-win for Taffer. If everything succeeds, he can sit back and say he saved the bar. If the place fails, he can sit back and say he can only give people the tools and it's up to them to take advantage of them.

    The part that pissed me off the most was everyone's clapping when he announced that it was the most expensive rescue he'd done. It's obvious that most of the owners of the bars on the show are after the remodel (either to up their selling price or because, hey, new stuff!)

    It's just extra annoying to see that reaction to the announcement instead of, "Damn man, we'll do everything we can to show that it was money well spent."

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  27. Google is blocking your content. They are trying to force me to take a "survey" about Applebees before I can read your content. Might want to look into that.

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  28. That's been in place since forever.

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  29. On paper, the bar would have looked like a pretty good bet for the type of makeover that was performed. The owners had a lot of money invested in the bar, but they had the capital necessary to make it work. They had tons of floor space, so giving up some space for a brewing system was no big loss. They had a good kitchen, the premises were in reasonable condition, and by the numbers they had sufficient staff to make the place work. With better management, this would have been a real opportunity.

    A huge part of the cost of the remodel was the cost of the SmartBrew system and its associated installation. Odds are that the SmartBrew system was contributed by the manufacturer in order to promote that product, and I think that would have been a good investment for them. They may also have covered the installation cost, which according to their site typically runs $5,000 - $10,000.

    The facts discovered during the "rescue" might have caused them to reconsider their plan for the bar, but I suspect it would have been very difficult to find another bar that was suitable for the SmartBrew system if they chose to go with a more modest rescue.

    If the bar is acquired as a going concern, I suspect that the new owner will again have to re-brand the bar, but from what I've read the bar was pulling in $2 million per year back in 2012. The brewing system, I think, would be attractive to a lot of potential buyers who want to offer their own beer but who may lack the experience necessary to produce a consistent product using a traditional brewing system.

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  30. That's not Google. It's an ad installed by the site to generate some revenue.

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  31. First time I've seen it. It isn't there now. Last night it was bad. It completely blocked the page.

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  32. fourtwenty mostwantedMarch 26, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    What a waste of Jon taffer time fixing up this place.

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  33. I just try to pick the stupidest, most unhelpful answers. Yeah, I'm petty...

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  34. Would the new owners have to get the bar out of arrears to free up the license?

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  35. The way you file bankruptcy for other businesses and still drive a Bentley is simple. It's either massive debt or fraud.

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  36. The most recent update on Yelp states that it is closed.

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  37. I think that depends on local laws. If there is a limit on the # of licenses? Then most likely yes.

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