Episode Recap: Bar Rescue Season 4, Ep 4

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 “El Moronte,” is set in a Jersey City Bar that got itself caught in the rain short of a Piña Colada. 

“When I degrade someone, it’s intentional. When I do it, it has purpose!”

Oh, Jon Taffer, defending verbally assaulted bar staff from mean owners worldwide. I missed you over the weekend.

I love tropical drinks, and I think they’re sorely underplayed in the cocktail scene. So I was pretty psyched when this week’s episode of Bar Rescue featured Puerto Rican bar Laguna Lounge in Jersey City. The problem? This might be the only Latin centric bar that doesn’t serve Piña Coladas. Also, you know how some restaurants/bars advertise nostalgic food as “grandma’s ____ (meatballs, nachos, kreplach)?” Well, proprietor Ivan’s mother, a sweet abuela, is actually making empanadas in the kitchen on a household stove. What?

And about Ivan. He’s a total tool who often goes by his DJ name, El Comandante, which is way too easy for Taffer to turn into El Moronte. His two sons, however, are darling young men Taffer actually seems to be fond of. Eldest son Josh is fairly business savvy and even uses the phrase "fresh juice." We love our fresh juice! Little brother Jeremiah is a bespectacled sweetheart in culinary school, so it blessed my heart to see him work with top Chef Anthony Lamas. That was probably the coolest moment of his life. Go Bar Rescue!

So Taffer decides to make the bar Prohibition themed.

JUST KIDDING! Whew. Laguna Lounge goes from being a kind of "Puerto Rican" bar to a full on hotbed of Latin flavor called Tres Cuartos. Oh, and Lisamarie Joyce, a whirlwind of rockabilly drink mixing, teaches everyone how to craft ace Piña Coladas, making the bar staff dump out their drinks (while working) when they’re not up to scratch. The whole process was oddly nerve wracking but entrancing, kind of like the new movie Whiplash. The signature drink is dubbed "The Old San Juan Margarita" and it plays up the Island camp theme by incorporating a splash of blue curaçao and a pineapple leaf. Although a quick glance at Tres Cuartos’ website looks like they’ve tweaked the Old San Juan and added a few more saucy signature cocktails.

Josh really seemed to thrive taking a more managerial role. Put this bar in Washington Heights as opposed to Jersey, and they’d be taking my order f’sho.

Visit Tres Cuartos:

1007 Summit Ave

Jersey City, NJ 07307

(201) 963-12007