Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bar Rescue - The 38th Floor (Mandala Lounge) Update

On tonight's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in San Mateo, California to try to rescue Mandala Lounge.  The bar is owned by Greg Hawkins and he is a self-proclaimed "nightlife expert" who has a large ego.  He also supposedly thinks that women don't belong behind his bar.  Mandala Lounge started to go downhill when the economy went downhill and they went from doing $60,000 in sales a month to $24,000 a month.  The bar is supposedly losing $5,000 a month and is months from closing.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Mandala Lounge was renamed to 38th Floor. The bar is supposed to make you feel like you are in a high rise despite being on the ground floor. The bar has kept the name and concept and they still go by 38th Floor.  Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for 38th Floor since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar:

Positive Reviews:
  • "Bar Rescue in the house! The old Mandala wasn't bad, but Bar Rescue really elevated this place into a swanky upscale lounge without being to pretentious. Major improvements were made in the back patio area where there's more lighting, new furniture, and awesome heat lamps"
  • "This place is clean, comfy and the outdoor area offers more room if you feel cramped by the inside...
  • We sat at the bar and were greeted by the owner himself who made our drinks efficiently and offered some suggestions. We mentioned the show and he was open to talking about it. He's a chill guy and I'm glad we had the chance to meet him."
  • "Excellent drinks! Owner is great! Awesome decor and back patio!"
  • "The bartenders are so nice and actually remember our names we've been there 4 times since they've reopened after the bar rescue. The high rise Collins with muddled raspberries is ammmmazing! They always have good djs too!"
  • "Friendly staff on Friday night..Cute patio for summer hangout or drinks with the girls. I was shocked it was empty after the remodel I expected more patrons."
  • "The renovations have drawn some crowds...usually empty mandala transformed to a packed 38th floor bar...well-dressed hip bartender mixing out blasting and a lively crowd...still not overly crowded and able to walk around easily...order of few drinks and not bad...nice bar, but will it endure the location?."

Negative Reviews:
  • "I like this place,  service is always excellent- but the space is just kinda awkward... the music is hit and miss- cool patio. I hope they make it."
*Reviews from Yelp

Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue makeover happened in January of 2015.
  • Here is are two preview videos (Video 1Video 2) of the episode from the Spike TV website
  • Here is the 38th Floor website and cocktail menu.
  • Here is the 38th Floor Facebook page which is kept up-to-date, and they are having a viewing party for the show tonight.  Also, here is the old Mandala Lounge Facebook page.
  • Here are some pictures of the interior after the makeover.
  • On the 38th Floor website, owner Greg wrote the following message:
  • "The 38th Floor Bar, formally Mandala Lounge, is the creation of Jon Taffer from the hit TV series Bar Rescue. Mandala Lounge opened in June 2007. The location was picked primarily for its outside patio and its proximity to the future Bay Meadows development just blocks from the lounge. Business was excellent in the beginning until the financial collapse of 2008. The general economic conditions coupled with the development freeze of the Bay Meadows hit the lounge hard.
    Although Mandala Lounge was committed to service, as was evidenced by their positive Yelp reviews, the business struggled financially. The struggle to stay open was detrimental to my physical wellbeing, the health of my marriage, and my finances, and the wellbeing of my staff. The pressure and stress of a failing business translated negatively through me to my staff and, ultimately, to my customers. Finally, I could no longer justify the negative cost of staying in business and prepared to sell or close.
    In the first quarter of 2014 as we were preparing to close, Bar Rescue was canvasing the area looking for candidates for the show. They left us a message, I responded, and we passed through 5 interviews over 9 months. We essentially staid open to see if we would be selected. After months of waiting and anticipation, Mandala Lounge was selected to be on Bar Rescue.
    The Transformation was dramatic…for myself (the owner), my family, my staff, and the venue. Jon Taffer, the host of Bar Rescue, essentially put me through “personality boot camp,” helping me realize the defects of character that were blocking me from success. The confrontation of the issues contributing to the bar’s demise set the ground work for a new beginning. Not many people get a second chance and I will forever be grateful to Jon Taffer and the Bar Rescue Team for this opportunity.
    We continue to add, improve, and polish the 38TH Floor Bar platform Jon Taffer gave us. We welcome everyone to come experience the accessible sophistication of the 38TH Floor Bar. We don’t get to be here without you so we look forward to meeting you and making new friends. Elevate your night life experience at the 38TH Floor Bar tonight!"
  • There were 238 Yelp reviews (4-star average) of the bar according to this link, but apparently they were all scrubbed after the name change.
  • Here is the owner Greg's Facebook page.
  • Here is a recent post from Greg saying the Bar Rescue makeover is great and thanking Jon Taffer, Bar Rescue, and the new customers.
  • Greg went to Jon Taffer's Nightclub & Bar Convention in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. (Link)
  • A bar back from the bar replied to someone who asked if the show was real and said, "I didn't have a script, my boss didn't have a script and John Taffer didn't have a script. My bar was failing and now it's not. That's the best I can tell you."
  • The bar was looking to hire female bartenders after Bar Rescue came, and it appears they did as there is a female (Stephanie) who currently works there. 
  • Greg was interviewed about the Bar Rescue experience recently by a local newspaper, and is quoted as saying, "The process was really really hard, it was very emotional. My wife was on the show, my dad was on the show, my son was on the show. But this guy (Taffer), what they did for us, was unbelievable. They legitimately created some real family healing. … That aspect of it I didn’t really anticipate and it was a wild experience. It was really cool they did a terrific job with the bar. The bar looks amazing, ever since the show we’ve been non-stop improving it and investing into it."
    • He also said that he has dropped his lazy ways, hired a new staff and an experienced manager, and continues to invest in improvements. 
    • He said Jon Taffer pointed out that he was the problem and put him through a personality boot camp to help turn him around.
    • Greg said that business is up 30 percent after the makeover, and before the episode has even aired. 


38th Floor has kept the name and concept installed by Bar Rescue and the reviews of the bar have pretty much all been positive (although they didn't seem too bad before the makeover).  Greg seems very appreciative that Bar Rescue came and helped his bar and credits them for turning things around.  He even went to the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas that is run by Jon Taffer.

They have also hired a female bartender to work at the bar and business is supposedly up 30 percent since the Bar Rescue makeover.  

UPDATE 4/2016 - 38th Floor Bar has closed - More information on the closing.

*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.


  1. This episode was a good display of bar science like the early episodes. I really liked it. Of course the advertising was all "A-hole owner hates women...." But the actual transformation was the classic "Fire the guy that's screwing the business and tweak the space to make it more inviting". I wish more episodes were like this.

  2. It is nice to see an owner who appreciates the remodel, concept help, and free advertising that John Taffer provides. A lot of people have egos that are just too big to accept change. I thought this guy might be one of them.

  3. This is kinda the Anti-Piratz episode in that way.....

  4. I think this was my favorite bar makeover of the entire series. That place looked *amazing* when they were done with it, and I love the concept. So glad they kept it. As a female bartender myself, I was every bit as horrified and furious with Greg's comments as Mia, and actually cheered when she handed his ass to him. It was really nice to see his turnaround though, and I'm glad he's seen the error of his ways. Seems like he's really changed, which is awesome. Really hope they keep going with the new place and new concept and do well. This was a great episode.

  5. I agree, I really liked this episode. I get really frustrated with a lot of them because with so many of these bar owners, you can just tell that they're going to keep doing the exact same crap they've been doing. Seems like a successful rescue with this one though, which I like.

  6. I agree. I started watching this show because of the science aspect was really interesting...I wish they would go back to more science of it rather than the constant drama these days.

  7. This has to be one of the very first episodes where I started off REALLY disliking the bar owner (which is par for the course this season), and by the end of the episode, actually liking him - an opinion only reinforced by the classy and humble message he wrote about his time on the show. Kudos to him - he got a great transformation out of it, and I hope he can stick with the changes and be a success.

  8. and the irony is it's Mia Mastroianni who is the man-hating feminist also it's funny how they complained about an all male bar staff, but all the episodes when they had all female bar staff not once did they complain or point it out

  9. This is the first episode I stopped when i saw they were going to do the all men are pigs and all women are saints nonsense

  10. I agree, i don't care for the drama especially when it's about bashing men and putting women on pedestals. Mia Mastroianni acts like they haven't had sexist women who said men can't do XYZ..sick of sexism period especially considering women have considerably more rights and opportunities then men

  11. I am tired of the constant drama...not the extreme that you are taking.

    You said "the irony is it's Mia Mastroianni who is the man-hating feminist", what the hell are you talking about? Please provide on source for how she is even remotely what you said.

    Sexism of any kind is ridiculous but you just saying sexist stuff in your own comment. You claimed that "women have considerably more rights and opportunities then men" and what are you basing that on? Women get paid less on average for the same work. Women get treated like garbage socially if they are even remotely sexual. Women are not only dealing with pregidous from men but also from other women.

    There are many things to say about pregidous against guys as well but to say one has considerably more rights or advantages than the other gender is just completely wrong. Each gender has crap to deal with.

  12. Well, that definitely would be nonsense, but if you had kept watching you would've realized that really isn't what happened at all. One guy made a ridiculously offensive comment that also happened to be downright wrong, and he was called out on it. People making stupid statements and Taffer calling them out on it is something that happens in every episode.

    It's stupid and wrong to say that all men are pigs, because that's not true. It's equally stupid and wrong to say that women are idiots and can't tend bar, because that's also untrue. You clearly don't like being generalized and having assumptions made about you because of your gender, so why are you so against someone getting called out for doing the same thing? It had nothing to do with "all men" or "all women", it was about a person making an idiotic statement and being proven wrong, which is, again, standard practice in every episode. One person being told that they're wrong (and shown that they're wrong) is a pretty far cry from an attack on every man who exists.

  13. Those live-feed city view "windows" were one of the coolest thing I've seen on the show. So much potential in those. Would be awesome for a lot of smallish bars in bland locations. And what they did with the deck was gorgeous. It was a nice change to see a grateful, non-idiot owner and a transformation theme that fit well and looked great. Hope they keep it up and stay successful.

  14. You mean, the bikini bars? Although it may be surprising to you, the absence of male bartenders in bikini bars is not because the bar is trying to implement an enlightened, feminist business model. You won't find an example of those bar owners contending that they only use binkini-clad women because men aren't good employees and can't pour drinks. This was a context in which the bar owner was refusing to hire female bartenders for the wrong reasons and, as a result, was quite probably harming his business.

  15. I've lost interest in BR simply because of the sanctimonious attitude of the 'helpers' such as Mia Mastroianni and Nick Liberato. Its bad enough that John has become this character on a level with Gordon Ramsay and his sh1t fits. Not every human will respond well to being shouted at and put down. Sometimes intelligence about how to understand the situation and get on the right side of the owner/manager is all that's needed. I say this having worked with difficult customers for many years.

    Mia likes to call people out very publicly in a patronising and condescending manner, such as the episode where she told three guys behind the bar that they "shake like girls". Its ok, because the female bar staff are behind her at that time. Then she displays her 'big' muscles to show them how 'good' she is. In the Sandbar she patronises Albert by saying something like 'ah baby's first cocktail', or something equally ridiculous.

    If anyone is going to single people out, please lets just have one master - the fat mouthed JT will do.

  16. WOW !!!! All I have to say is the bar was ruined for me and many other locals. They did completely change the atmosphere, but they got rid of the Hookah, and now they don't treat their daily customers any different then a random stranger. I personally know his family, and while I was there a week after opening day, Greg kicked me out of the back because I was sitting one of five couches that were empty . He said I didn't reserve it, but I was threre almost daily keeping him open when it was Mandalay lounge. If Greg read this, get back in touch with your roots. I will not be visiting there ever again but instead going next door to Swinging door, a better outdoor bar.

  17. You were in the bar almost daily? Bro... maybe there was a reason he booted you. Maybe you were leeching. Just saying...