Arnold’s Lounge Bar Rescue Update – Still Open Today?

Is Arnold's Lounge still open today?

Status: >> OPEN <<
(keep reading to learn what happened)

Season: 9 | View All Season 9 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 31, 2024
The Bar's Original Name Was: Arnold's Lounge
Arnold's Lounge Address: 3912 N Ponce De Leon Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Arnold's Lounge sign during Bar Rescue

Episode Recap

Arnold’s Lounge, AKA just Arnold’s, was a St. Augustine Florida bar that was featured on Season 9 of Bar Rescue.

Though the Arnold’s Lounge Bar Rescue episode aired in March 2024, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place in December 2023.

It was Season 9 Episode 6 and the episode name was “Missing the Marc”.

In this episode, the Jon Taffer and the Bar Rescue crew head to Arnold’s Lounge.

Here’s the expert crew to save the bar – I hope that Vic Vegas can put in some elevated hotdogs!

Arnold's Lounge Bar Rescue experts

The Arnold’s Lounge bar is located in Saint Augustine, Florida.

It’s located on Ponce De Leon Blvd, a street named after the famous Spanish explorer.

If you’re not familiar with Florida geography, St. Augustine is a beach-side city on the Northeast coast of Florida.

It’s just a little bit south of Jacksonville, which has hosted a number of other Bar Rescue episodes.

Arnold’s has a very long history in St Augustine.

It originally started as a restaurant and then turned into a bar back around 1986.

Back in 2011, there was a fire at Arnold’s Lounge that gutted the building.

As a result, the bar had to close for some time, though the owner did fully rebuild it.

At the time of the Bar Rescue visit, I believe that the Arnold’s Lounge owner is Philip Smith*.

*Philip is listed as the owner on Yelp, but I’ll need to watch the episode to confirm that, so I’ll change this if needed.

However, Philip is not the original owner of the bar, and the bar seems to have changed hands multiple times over its 40+ year history.

The actual Bar Rescue visit happened around December 12-15th, 2023 – Arnold’s Lounge posted on Facebook saying that it would be “closed for maintenance”, which I guess is kind of true.

Arnold's Lounge closed for the Bar Rescue visit

To recon the bar, Jon sent in two spies to order both food and drinks – Todd and Danny, both doctors.

Todd orders a Whiskey Sour, which is a pretty simple cocktail.

However, the bartender manages to make the drink wrong, making a Whiskey Coke instead.

After Todd pointed that out, the bartender tried to remake the drink, but somehow managed to get it wrong again!

Arnold's Lounge spies

I write these updates the day before the episode airs on TV, so I can’t share a more detailed recap yet.

However, I will probably come back to this post and update it once the episode airs on TV.

I do know what happened to the bar’s name, though.

Because of the bar’s long history, Jon Taffer kept the name as Arnold’s Lounge during the renovations.

However, Taffer did seem to change the sign at the bar, along with putting in other renovations.

For example, they added a new “Gator” at the front, which is super Instagramable.

They also changed the bar decor, shifting from a biker/rock music them to more of a coastal beach theme.

So was the Arnold’s Bar Rescue visit a long-term success?

Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Saint Augustine bar is still open today.

Arnold's Lounge Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Arnold’s Lounge episode, let’s get into the most important questions on your mind – how Arnold’s Lounge is doing after Jon Taffer and his crew left Saint Augustine.

I’ll start by talking about whether it’s still open.

Then, I’ll look at what types of events the bar has (Arnold’s has a lot), as well as some real customer reviews from after Bar Rescue.

I’ll also share any other interesting tidbits that I’m able to find.

But before I do that, I first want to share some interesting stuff I found about how regulars feel about the new Arnold’s ownership.

Let’s dig in…

Some Arnold’s regulars already seemed unhappy with the new ownership before Bar Rescue

As I mentioned earlier in the post, Arnold’s Lounge has a long history in the St. Augustine area, which means that it’s built up a loyal following of regulars.

One thing that I found interesting is that it seems like a lot of regulars were already unhappy with the changes that the new Arnold’s Lounge owners were putting in place.

For example, here’s a Facebook post from a former bartender at Arnold’s Lounge who quit because of the new ownership.

Arnold's bartender is unhappy about the new owners at the bar

The replies to her post also include lots of regulars who seem to share her sentiments.

Regulars seem unhappy with the new owners at Arnold's Lounge

Maybe it’s a biased sample, but it’s never a good thing to piss off the regulars when you buy a bar.

I can understand the sentiment because it seems like the new owner had already been trying to move Arnold’s away from a “dive bar”-type place into a more upscale “club”.

With that small aside out of the way, let’s get to the most important question on your mind…

Is Arnold’s Lounge still open after Bar Rescue?

As of my most recent check in 2024, Arnold’s Lounge is still open and serving customers in St. Augustine, Florida using the Arnold’s name.

The bar is very active on its social media profiles, regularly posting about events and specials at the bar.

On the weekends, they seem to regularly have live music.

Here’s a screenshot of a promo for a band that played around the time that the Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.

Live music at Arnold's Lounge

Every Thursday, they seem to have karaoke, along with a special Steak Night.

I saw a good number of reviews from people who seemed to like the Steak Night, and it seems to be a very popular event at the bar.

Karaoke and steak night at Arnold's Lounge

I mean – who doesn’t love a good steak, with some karaoke to wash it down?

On Wednesdays, there’s line dance classes, which is an interesting thing.

And then there’s bar room dancing and darts on Tuesdays, along with taco specials.

Arnold's Line Dance classes

Overall, there just seems to be a lot going on at the bar, which I think is cool.

I would probably be a regular on some nights if I lived in the area.

There’s also an official Arnold’s Lounge website that showcases the menu and upcoming events.

Arnold's Lounge website homepage

Here’s a picture of the Arnold’s Lounge menu, to give you an idea of what’s on offer.

Arnold's Lounge menu

And here’s a picture of the full upcoming events list at the bar at the time that the episode aired on TV (March 2024).

The full Arnold's Lounge events calendar during Bar Rescue

Here’s what the Arnold’s Lounge St. Augustine location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view.

The current picture is from February 2023, so it happened before the Taffer visit.

I’m mainly including it so that you can explore the area around the bar.

Arnold’s Lounge reviews after Bar Rescue

Next, let’s take a look at some real customer reviews for the bar after the episode.

Overall, the bar has a 3.7 star rating on 35+ Yelp reviews and a 4.3 star rating on 230+ Google reviews.

However, both of those numbers include reviews from both before and after Jon Taffer visited Arnold’s bar.

To get a feel for what real customers are experiencing after the changes from Jon Taffer, I always specifically focus on reviews that were written after Taffer’s December 2023 visit.

In general, reviews seem to be a little mixed, with a number of five star reviews, but also some one star reviews.

On the positive side, a lot of people praise the bar’s atmosphere and service.

Some people also compliment the food, such as the Thursday Steak Night event.

The negative reviews seem to focus primarily on service issues.

There are also some regulars who just complain about changes at the bar, which is probably unavoidable for a bar that’s been around for 35+ years.

Overall, I would say that the Yelp reviews are a little more negative than positive, while the Google reviews are a little more positive than negative.

It’s normal for Yelp ratings to be lower than Google ratings (this is true for pretty much every bar), so I’m not surprised.

I would say that “mixed” is a good description for the post-Bar Rescue reviews.

Let’s go through some examples…

5 star Yelp review from January 2024:

Arnold's Lounge review example #1

5 star Yelp review from December 2023:

Arnold's Lounge review example #8

5 star Google review from February 2024:

Arnold's Lounge review example #10

4 star Google review from February 2024:

Arnold's Lounge review example #9

Two 5 star Google reviews from January/February 2024:

Arnold's Lounge review example #11

3 star Yelp review from December 2023:

Arnold's Lounge review example #2

Philip’s response to this one made me laugh haha.

1 star Yelp review from January 2024:

Arnold's Lounge review example #3

1 star Google review from January 2024:

Arnold's Lounge review example #5

2 star Yelp review from December 2023:

Arnold's Lounge review example #6

1 star Yelp review from December 2023:

Arnold's Lounge review example #7

1 star Yelp review from January 2024:

Arnold's Review about credit card tabs

This review seems totally unfair to me.

Pretty much every bar that I’ve been to requires a credit card to open a tab.

Or, you can just pay cash for each drink when you get it (as Philip indicated in his response).

I don’t think it’s fair to give a bar one star just because of that.

What do you think? Is it fair or not? Let me know in the comments!

The Arnold’s Lounge owner had just renovated the bar

According to this Reddit thread I found in the St. Augustine subreddit, Bar Rescue showed up at Arnold’s Lounge pretty much right after Philip had taken over and already done his own renovations.

This led to some people feeling a bit underwhelmed by the lack of major changes at the bar.

I’m not sure if the Reddit thread is accurate or not, but I thought it was interesting.

If you live in the area and can confirm that not much changed, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

A Reddit thread about Arnold's Lounge

I also found this post in the St Augustine News Facebook group that seems to echo the same sentiments of Bar Rescue not changing very much at the bar.

Not much changed at Arnold's

Final thoughts on Arnold’s Lounge

Overall, Arnold’s Lounge seems to be doing well so far after the visit from Jon Taffer.

The bar is still open and seems to have a ton of specials running every week.

The reviews from after Bar Rescue seem to be a little mixed.

On Google, the reviews are more positive than negative, while the opposite seems to be true for Yelp.

Some regulars also seem to be upset about the changes that the new owners put in, but that seems to have been true even before the visit from Jon Taffer.

The bar seems to have lots of cool events going on, so hopefully that will help them keep Arnold’s Lounge busy.

I wish the Arnold’s Lounge owners the best of luck and I hope that they’re able to turn the bar into a long-term Taffer success story.

That wraps up my Arnold’s Lounge Bar Rescue update.

If you want to see some other nearby Florida Bar Rescue episodes, you can also check out my updates for Sydney / Bluewater Oyster Bar in Jacksonville Beach, Cap N Odie’s Lounge in Atlantic Beach, and No Name Saloon in Edgewater.

I also have a page that lists all of the Florida episodes – it’s one of the most popular states for Jon Taffer to visit, so there’s tons to choose from.

And if you want to share your thoughts on Arnold’s Lounge or the episode, you can do so using the comments section below.

I especially love hearing from people who have experience visiting the bar in person.

As always – thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2024-03-31 08:04

6 thoughts on “Arnold’s Lounge Bar Rescue Update – Still Open Today?”

All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.

  1. This reads as episode 13 on some websites, and I think the Glendale, Arizona episode (another one without Jon) was originally going to air tonight.

    They did a similar thing with Horshoe Bend, Idaho last season.

    Also, I don’t see a mention of a watch party either here, on Bar Rescue Updates, or their public Facebook page. Maybe they are closed for Easter.

    • I also originally saw today’s episode as the Glendale episode (La Perla Sports Cantina I believe) where Jon Taffer didn’t attend.

      I’m not sure why they switched it. Maybe they think people really need some full Taffer treatment on Easter Sunday?

      I didn’t see a watch party either – the bar is open, though. I just saw them post a promo for people to come celebrate on Easter (but not mention of the Bar Rescue episode).

    • Seems like the La Perla Sports Cantina episode is now scheduled for April 14. So maybe they just swapped that one with the Arnold’s Lounge episode?

  2. As a previous bar owner I don’t understand why Jon never recommends firing a manager who isn’t managing or says “they won’t listen to me”. YOu are either a manager or you should be fired. Never understand why just because someone behind the bar calls themselves a bartender and can’t make a simple drink isn’t fired. You aren’t a bartender, you are just someone to pour beers maybe. Lastly, the bartending “experts” who come in and want to introduce drinks that take a long time to make, are so complex or require specialty items are a joke. Smoke machines, weird fruit, special spices or flower garnishes do not sell enough additional drinks in an average bar to make up for the extra expense and time, also there is a shelf life on those items which are more expensive. I generally watch the show and am entertained by the drama but so many weird drinks are not ordered. P.S. My bar was very successful and allowed me to retire early so I have some idea of what I am talking about.

  3. Okay, so Ashish, Phil, Dustin Drai, and Danny Trejo (lol) were all pre-planned stand-ins.

    This is a transition, not a one-off. It’s not good. Jon has never done 2 rescues at once because the production crew for this show is too small. This bar is not super close to the other JAX rescues.

    The smoked cocktails are just product placement. Used to be “Stundenglass.” Even the expert bartenders are learning how to use the equipment for the first time. These are just for the show. Jon and Tassia pronounce “Breville” differently. I’m sure he’s reading it off of a cue card.

    Nobody keeps the cocktails they make for the show for the reasons you cited, though a small handful of them are present in Taffer’s Tavern locations.

    “Arnold” gets to keep his name on the building but not “Skip & Jan” in episode 1, haha.

  4. It’s starting to feel like Taffer is getting tired of Bar Rescue. The one episode Phil and Rob substituted was obvious he was ill, but these guest hosts are giving me a vibe the show is trying to see if it works without Jon.

    I just see it in his body language, facial expression and energy that he looks tired. I’m sure some of that has to do with his age, some probably the routine of the show, but also the demands of traveling and tv production.

    I wish they would go a little heavier with the bar science like the early seasons, as well as the renovation — even as I know the conflict is what most people tune in for. I know not all the bars are run by buffoons, so just being honest with the audience and making a few episodes more about the renovation would break up the repetitiveness as well as making some of the fighting seem as contrived.

    Just my thoughts.


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