Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bar Rescue - Press Box (The Dugout) Update

On tonight's episode of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Chicago, Illinois to try to rescue The Dugout.  The Dugout is a bar that is very close to Wrigley Field, which is where the Chicago Cubs play.  The Dugout is infested with fruit flies and is supposedly losing $30,000 to $40,000 each off-season.

During the Bar Rescue makeover, Jon Taffer decided to change the name of The Dugout to Press Box and the bar has somewhat kept the name. Let's take a look at some information, reviews, and updates for Press Box since Bar Rescue came and made all of the changes to the bar (All reviews are post-Bar Rescue):

Positive Reviews:
  • "Best bar in Wriglelyville!...was here for game 5 of the World Series! And while most places in Wrigleville were charging exorbitant cover charges AND gouging on the price of beer, Press Box kept it real and honest to long time Cubs fans. There was a reasonable $20 cover charge and tall boy beers were only $7....As a counter example, a certain other Wrigleyville bar with the initial C.M. charged $40 cover to enter and then a gouging $11.50 for a small (less than 16 oz.) plastic cup of beer. I will never visit C.M. again and will always spend my Wrigleyville party time a the Press Box!
  • Way to go guys! Thank you for keeping it real for us loyal Cubs fans!! Plus - TATOR TOTS!!! TATOR TOTS!!!"
  • "First time there was treated like a regular cool place great service would definitely recommend it"
  • "Great hospitality and super friendly!! Good beverage selection and prices."
  • "Great experience. Nice little bar/grill with good prices, good food, and good atmosphere. Staff there are friendly keep constantly busy trying to keep the place as clean as possible and well stocked. It was the perfect place to be on an unbelievable night."

Negative Reviews:
  • "Dugout was awesome. Press Box not so much. Perfectly good dive bar no longer a dive. Obviously I liked the dive part of it."
  • "John Taffer ruined the dug out. It was great before he put his touch on it"
*Reviews from Facebook

Other News and Links:

  • The Bar Rescue makeover happened in September 2016.
  • Here are two preview videos of the episode from the Spike TV website - Video 1, Video 2.
  • Here is the Press Box Facebook Page which doesn't post too often and hasn't posted for months.
  • Here are the Facebook pages of Emily (bartender), Scarlett (bartender), Dalila (bartender), Mike (cook)
  • In a September 2016 article about the makeover, owner Ed Cressy said four years ago the bar fell in his lap after he evicted the previous owner for failing to pay rent for 10 months.  He acknowledged the bar needed help, that it was hard to get people to the bar, and that the storefront was buried.
  • A recent follow up of that article by the same author said the bar "looks pretty awesome" and "what used to be a stripped-down sports bar with head-sized fish bowl specials has become an olive-walled tribute to a 1940s press box, with a sleek wooden bar and old-style typewriter accents"
  • Aina (Ed's wife) thanked the POS company that installed the POS system at Press Box in this post and compared it to a fully loaded Mercedes Benz.
  • A recent Chicago Tribune article has an interview with owner Eddie Cressy who called the experience a nightmare. Some key points from the article:
    • Ed was quoted as saying - "You can’t build a bar in five days. I don’t care if you’re Jesus Christ,” and “It was a complete nightmare, what he put me through" speaking about Jon Taffer
    • The basement bar made over during Bar Rescue changed its name back to The Dugout. Press Box still remains as Ed moved the concept upstairs into a closed pizzeria in the building. He didn't want to invest in changing the sign again, he said.
    • Ed said he "had to redo all the things that Jon did wrong,” and that Bar Rescue "did a quick paint job that looked good on camera, but (he) used really cheap paint that flakes off."
    • Ed also complained that they did the makeover during a Cubs 10-game home stand.
    • Ed said the new ham sandwich from Bar Rescue "bombed" and he brought back the tater tots.
    • The Dugout and Press Box are currently closed for renovations, but Ed hopes to have them both open on March 9th.


The bar has someone kept the name of the Press Box given by Bar Rescue.  The part of the bar made over by Bar Rescue changed the name back to The Dugout, however there was a pizza place above the bar that closed.  After it closed, Ed turned it into a bar and moved all of the Press Box related things up there and that part of the bar goes by the name of Press Box.  The reviews of Press Box since Bar Rescue are mostly positive, but they are all from Facebook which tend to be all positive.

The owner Ed doesn't seem too pleased with the makeover or with Jon Taffer judging by his recent comments although his wife likes the POS system installed.  With the Cubs winning the World Series this year, it would be pretty hard to lose money in Wrigleyville during baseball season.  With Ed expanding into the pizza shop that recently closed upstairs, you would think that means things are going well or they weren't even struggling in the first place.

UPDATE - There was no grand opening for the show and the bartenders Emily and Scarlett have moved on and do not work at Press Box.  After the episode aired, Emily posted on her Facebook, "I want to thank bar rescues entire team for everything. I bitched a lot when I worked at the dugout and i feel bad for every person that had to hear about it every time they were around me. It made me miserable because I was working for this guy, doing everything I could thinking of, to get told I'm doing one thing right and all I ever got was the negative. When rescue came in what it was for me was a confirmation that I wasn't crazy, stupid, or hat I wasn't trying hard enough. Ask anyone who talked to me when I worked there I almost drove myself crazy thinking I was failing at something I felt I was so good at. When in actuality I was making him more money then the off season before. Sales went from around 800 to 1000 on Fridays and Saturdays to 1200-1400. Which for a 99 occupancy bar in a charming dingy basement I'm was proud of. I love my job I get paid to talk and celebrate with people in the best city there is and right in the heart of #wrigleyville. #thankyou #barrescue. #sluggerswrigleyville > #pressbox #spiketv"

UPDATE 7/2020 - During the pandemic, The Dugout got caught violating state and city reopening guidelines by staying open past 11.  Patrons were seen inside past 11 and were also not wearing masks. Despite the video, owner Ed Cressy said he is in compliance and guy who shot the video was out to get him. (Link to story with video)

*To see how all of the bars from Bar Rescue are doing, go to the Bar Rescue Updates 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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