Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bar Rescue - Champagne's (Champagne's Cafe) Update

On tonight's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Las Vegas, Nevada to try to rescue the Champagne's Cafe.  Champagne's Cafe was bought in 2015 by Greg Simms with the help of a $150,000 loan from his mother.  The bar was once a famous mob hangout, but now it has issues such as outdated decor, not enough customers, and an owner that is a pushover.  Also, when locals got word that Bar Rescue was coming to the bar, they got a little upset and hoped that nothing was changed.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Jon Taffer decided to change the name slightly from Champagne's Cafe to Champagne's.  Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Champagne's since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar (All reviews are post-Bar Rescue):

Positive Reviews:
  • "Found this spot by accident and glad I did. Reminds me of a club I used to own with Rolando. Brings friends or don't you will have a great time regardless."
  • "Had a great experience last night. best whiskey sour I've had in a long time. I will definitely come back again thanks to the amazing service provided by my bartender Autumn. If you haven't been here yet you're missing out."
  • "First time visiting this place. Decided to visit after the recent remodel. I really like the place and the atmosphere. Sat at the bar and Autumn was my bartender. She was very friendly and knowledgable. ...I will be coming back for sure and will be recommending this place to all my friends!"
  • "Went to check out the remodel. The bar looks so much better but still feels like the classic champagnes everyone knows and loves. The service was great. Our bartender Autumn was very attentive and welcoming. Would definitely recommend checking it out."
  • "Your standard Vegas dirty dive bar. Decent drinks, decent prices, and a clientele that is fun to watch at 3:30 in the morning. If you want seedy, you got it. It's a fun place, and you never know who or what you're going to see in here."
  • "This place is great! I have been here twice. It is a great dive bar with a fun karaoke night. I love the old school decor and the local feel. It's a nice place to spend time away from The Strip."

Negative Reviews:

  • "Why would they get rid of the original sign out front? It was amazing the new sign is ridiculous . I was born and raised here and hung out at this bar in the day ! Sad they got rid of something that made them unique ."
  • "Post Bar Rescue. I never got here before Taffer did but post-Taffer the wall paper is peeling, the bathrooms are almost as scary as the bad Karaoke but at least the drinks are reasonable priced."

Other News and Links:

  • The Bar Rescue makeover happened in March 2016.
  • Here are two preview videos of the episode from the Spike TV website - Video 1, Video 2
  • Here is the Champagne's Facebook Page and here is their website.  Their weekly schedule includes karaoke and comedy shows
  • Here are the Facebook pages of Greg (owner), Candy (bartender), Autumn (bartender), Raleigh (bartender) and Frank Cullotta (regular). Candy also has a Facebook Page as a tattoo model that has over 10,000 likes and some racy photos. 
  • Frank Cullotta has a long criminal past with crimes such as murder.  Hfsde turned into an informant who entered the witness protection program according to his Wikipedia.
  • A local article said Greg Sims told Bar Rescue they couldn't change the wallpaper before signing a contract.  Another article also confirms this, and this article has over 100 comments of people discussing the bar and if it actually needed a makeover. 
  • There was a fatal stabbing at the bar in 2013. (Link)
  • In an interview after the makeover, Greg said he was happy they dropped the "Cafe" out of the name and Champagne's hasn't served food since 2006.  A kitchen was on his wish list, "but licensing and infrastructure issues nixed that idea. It would have taken a long time and a lot of money."  The carpet also wasn't cleaned as it would have taken too long during Bar Rescue, so that is still on Greg's To-Do list. Greg also noted a lot of people miss the old sign outside.
  • Greg posted this message on his Facebook Page: 
    "So the trailer is out on youtube for our Bar Rescue episode this Sunday. The butterflies are definitely growing. Believe it or not, nothing in the show is scripted. They definitely pushed for the drama though. My staff definitely amped up their stories. Look for Candy to be the star of the show. She definitely knows how to stir it up. They're all pretty awesome by the way. Candy, Autumn and Raleigh really are bartenders actors. Autumn got to do her very first bar shift on stress there. The entire staff is awesome and have supported me and the bar since the day I took over, and I'm eternally grateful. Thanks to Frank Cullotta for doing the show. I pushed Bar Rescue to use him, and I know they're happy I suggested it.  BTW, the show has really boosted business already due to all the local press and is doing well. They got me through the slow season in Vegas, which is brutal. Not sure that I would have made it through without them. Thanks Jon!"
  • The bar received their gaming license in April 2016 according to this Facebook post


Champagne's Cafe was slightly renamed as they dropped the "Cafe" and go by just Champagne's. This makes sense as they do not serve any food at the bar.  The reviews of Champagne's have been mostly positive since Bar Rescue came, but they weren't bad before the makeover.  It seems that owner Greg Simms only agreed to do the show if they didn't change too much and left the wallpaper as-is.  Despite locals not being happy that Bar Rescue was coming to Champagne's, it seems the show didn't make any drastic changes, which made locals happy.  The only thing a lot of people seem disappointed about is the sign change outside.

Greg said he is happy that he did the show and that it has really boosted business, especially during the slow season in Las Vegas.  He also said the show was not scripted and he thanks Jon Taffer for coming to Champagne's.

UPDATE 4/2021 - A bartender from Champagne's died during an assault at the bar. The bar will also be featured on an episode in the upcoming season.  (Link with more info)

UPDATE 5/2021 - Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue visited Champagne's a second time for the Las Vegas season of Bar Rescue and here is that update

*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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