Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bar Rescue - Blacklight District Lounge Update

On tonight's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Long Beach, California to try to rescue Blacklight District Lounge. Blacklight District Lounge is owned by Dave Franich with a little help from his friend Gabe Lopez.  They purchased the bar for $110,000 and turned it into a punk rock bar after doing some renovations. The bar has never made money and is supposedly losing $3,000 a month leaving Dave $160,000 in debt.  Dave is also stubborn about making any changes to the punk rock theme of the bar which causes conflict with Jon Taffer.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, there was no name change for Black Light District. Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Black Light District since Bar Rescue came to the bar (All reviews are post-Bar Rescue visit):

Positive Reviews:
  • "Best punk bar in Long Beach... I prefer old man dive bars or cocktail lounges. But this is definitely smaller than Alex's Bar, and better...Parking here sucks but it's LB - only parked a block away on a Tues night. Fat Tire was 5.50 and they have metal shows!!!!!!!! For 5 bucks!"
  • "So, what do you think a dive bar means? It is what it is. Was there for the first time last night. Had a good time supporting Apple Suicide Nets. Will return again. Thanks."
Negative Reviews:
  • "If you like getting your car broken into, drinking watered down beer, smells like a toilet, then this is your place."
  • "Trashy. A fight broke out. Owner did nothing...bunch of cowards. Drinks are weak. Can't say anything nice about this place."
  • "The owner is a racists and this place is horrible. If your looking for somewhere that you can enjoy try all the other places in long beach but here."
  • "Great bar to watch bands at but the "Security" are rude!! "Apache" as he calls himself has no manners, no people skills, hes actually allowed to mosh with the patrons and be very aggressive which I have on video!! These so called knuckle heads for security all need some serious training!! How an owner can have this kind of security is beyond me. They are a liability and just a lawsuit waiting to happen.".."I love Dive Bars and Punk Rock...However, this place is hell. I came in and wanted to walk right out. Crusty old regulars and sketchy looking guys sparsely populated the bar...I wouldn't have felt safe there had I not been with a guy. It felt hostile...The owner is a not a punk, but a "Bro" who likes punk music"
  • "They have lame ass security that dont even card you lmao, a dumb bitch blonde bartender named Val that talks shit about people online but cant seem to say anything in someones face Still tiped that bitch a dollar ! Over all place sucks! No wonder Jon Taffer didnt want to save that shitty ass bar for obvious reasons!"
  • "They don't care if you're getting assaulted and will turn a blind eye. I'd give it negative stars if Facebook had that option. If you want to go to a safe and friendly dive bar in Long Beach, don't go here. Good luck staying in business. You'll need it."
  • "Employees are anti-semitic scumbags. I don't advise anyone even step foot into this petri dish."
  • "Cool spot to watch bands at!! However the entire staff are rude. You get a bad vibe from the so-called Security guard and the rest of the doormen there."
*Reviews from Yelp, Facebook

Other News and Links:
  • The Bar Rescue makeover happened in February 2016
  • Here are two preview videos of the episode from the Spike TV website - Video 1, Video 2
  • Here is the Blacklight District Lounge Facebook Page which is kept up-to-date and has tons of promotion posters.  They have definitely kept the punk theme at the bar.
  • Here is a Facebook post that has some Facebook pages of people from the show.
  • A Facebook post about the episode has people who were on the episode commenting.  One said the owner kicked out Bar Rescue and they begged to come back.  Owner David also said "words are put in my mouth I didn't say" and he told Joe from The Vandals to go home because he insulted his friend's band.
  • The bar has had non punk acts in the past, such as a hip hop artist in January 2016, and reggae in December 2015
  • In 2013 David Franich was accused of sexism and homophobia by someone wanting to book a gig at Blacklight District.  There are screenshots of his supposed text messages, which he denies were him and says someone took his phone and sent them.
  • Here is The Vandals Facebook Page and they said they were supposed to play the relaunch, but said to tune in to see if it happens. 
  • Public records show David M Franich was listed as the owner of a Redondo Beach, CA house that recently sold for $1.836 million.  If he can afford a house like that, I doubt he was struggling and in debt from a $110,000 bar.  
  • The bar's liquor license has David M Franich and Kathleen L Franich(looks like his mother) as owners.  No mentions of Gabe.  Public records also show Kathleen's home value estimated at approximately $1.6 million.
  • The bar seems to use "Black Light District" and "Blacklight District" interchangeably.


All signs of this episode point to the Blacklight District not being rescued and keeping the name due to the owner David not wanting to change.  If that is the case, Black Light District will probably say they kicked Bar Rescue out and Bar Rescue will probably portray it as Jon Taffer walking out.  With David owning a $1.8 million dollar home, he probably didn't need the makeover anyways. 

No matter what the case, it seems that the reviews since Bar Rescue came are pretty bad with people complaining about the attitude of the owner and bartenders and a lack of parking.  

Also if this is another walk out episode, I would expect Blacklight District to be flooded with more negative reviews online and negative comments on their social media pages.  This has happened to other Bar Rescue bars in the past and caused them to remove their Facebook pages.  

UPDATE - The bar is responding to all of the bad reviews on their Facebook page and commenting on many of the bad reviews.

UPDATE - Blacklight District Lounge closed in July 2018 - More info on the closure and the message Dave left to Bar Rescue fans.

*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.

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