Episode Recap: Bar Rescue Season 4, Ep 3

courtesy Spike TV
courtesy Spike TV

Welcome to Alcohol Professor’s weekly recap of Bar Rescue, Spike TV’s reality show that gives desperate liquor purveyors a chance to turn themselves into beyond visitable venues. Hosted by nightlife guru Jon Taffer, this week’s episode, entitled "Schmuck Dynasty," is set in a Staten Island bar run by hapless siblings.

Last night's episode of Bar Rescue was kind of painful for me to watch, although “Shmuck Dynasty” might be my favorite word play ever.

Rhythm & Brews is a live-music joint owned by two identical twins and their effusive and ambiguously homeless third brother. The problem? The bar is in Staten Island. Just kidding! Beyond the usual melange of sanitary issues (fiber glass in the food, no biggie), R&B has become the nesting ground for a gang of really ill-mannered bikers. Oh, and Stu. He sleeps there. But anyway.

The bikers are fond of taking a hands-on approach when it comes to their bar experience. Read: they help themselves to the bar and kitchen, making their own food and literally calling the shots. Hey guys, as an aside, I have a question. How has every show that has ever been on Bar Rescue ever not been legally shut down?

Taffer recruits the help of Kate Gerwin, award-winning bartender and certified sommelier (at the age of 22, no less), and Josh Capon, acclaimed chef and restauranteur. In the kitchen, pizza is being made in a bizarrely, cheese-first-then-sauce fashion, by Pablo, the world's most unfortunate cook. Capon also sends his wife in undercover, only to discover the bar is lacking a wine list.

So why was my viewing experience so unpleasant this episode? While Taffer spouts his usual bout of anger and bottle breaking, the emotional reaction from the Kachow brothers is so strong it's cringeworthy. Stu defiantly states he's sick of being homeless, and he really, really wants a studio apartment. (Later in the episode, he gains confidence and says he wants “not just a studio apartment, an apartment.” Don't ever move to Manhattan, Stu).

The solution? Get the bikers out and add the world's most legitimate wine dispensing system. Plus, flatbread. Keeping in line with the “fifth borough” theme of Staten Island, the bar is renamed 5th & Vine. It actually looks like a place I'd like to check out, but I did have one hangup.

Why a wine bar? While I understand trying to appeal to the upper middle class/wealthy clientele of the area, wine is such a finicky thing to keep fresh and delicious, even with the most rad equipment. My hope is that Stu's incredible zeal will motivate the brothers to keep everything in check, and not repeat the vermouth disaster of last week's show.

Another thing I loved about this relaunch was that the bar retained its original bare bones structure while revamping for the better. In that sense, the change was both subtle and radical. And I'm a huge sucker for wine cocktails, so I was really jazzed to see the “Three Brother Sour” featuring both Bulleit Bourbon and a float of Uppercut Cabernet Savignon.

All in all, this is a place I want to visit. Lovers, take note: the ferry is pretty romantic.

Visit 5th & Vine:

1674 Richmond Rd

Staten Island, NY 10304