Bay Street Bar Rescue Update (Wildkat Records) – Still Open?

Is Bay Street Sports Grill still open today?

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

Season: 9 | View All Season 9 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 3, 2024
The Bar's Original Name Was: Wildkat Records Bar and Grill
Bay Street Sports Grill Address: 119 E Bay St, Jacksonville, FL 32202

Wildkat Records Bar Rescue episode

Episode Recap

Wildkat Records Bar and Grill, later renamed to Bay Street Sports Grill, was a Jacksonville, Florida bar that was featured on Season 9 of Bar Rescue.

Though the Bay Street Bar Rescue episode aired in March 2024, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place in late 2023 (late November/early December).

It was Season 9 Episode 2 and the episode name was “Wildkats Wild Collapse”.

In this episode, Jon Taffer heads to Wildkat Records Bar and Grill to attempt to save the bar from extinction (that’s a wildcat joke, albeit a bad one).

Wildkat Records Bar is located in Jacksonville Florida, which marked Jon Taffer’s 27th visit to Florida (at the time that the episode aired).

Note – the bar is really spelled as Wildkat Records, not Wildcat Records.

While its name was Wildkat Records at the time of the Bar Rescue episode, it used to be known as Bay Street Bar and Grill (which might sound familiar after the Wildkat Records Jon Taffer renovation).

Julian the Wildkat Records owner

Julian Garbaccio purchased the bar back in 2015, at which time it was still known as Bay Street Bar and Grill.

At first, things seemed to be going very well, with Julian saying that he was able to increase sales by 20% every year.

Unfortunately, Julian’s “real” job relocated him to Texas, which obviously made it hard for him to be a hands-on manager at the bar.

With Julian off in Texas, things at Bay Street Bar and Grill seemed to go downhill.

This was despite the best efforts of Jasmine, the general manager at Bay Street Bar and Grill.

Jasmine the Wildkat Records general manager

Obviously, things needed to change if Julian was going to keep Bay Street Bar and Grill open.

To help put the bar back on track, Julian brought in a new partner named Kyle Davis.

Kyle was still in Jacksonville, which means he was able to be more hands-on.

As part of his first set of actions, Kyle changed the name of the bay from Bay Street Bar and Grill to Wildkat Records Bar and Grill, which is obviously the bar’s name at the time of the visit from Jon Taffer.

Kyle made this change around two years before the Bar Rescue visit, which means it would’ve been around 2021 when the bar changed to Wildkat Records.

Kyle said that the name came from “greaser culture” and “motorcycles and stuff like that”, such as “rockabilly”.

Kyle the Wildkat Records co-owner

The “records” part came from the fact that there’s a music studio upstairs.

There’s also a place called Underbelly right next door that seems to host a lot of live music.

Unfortunately, Kyle’s management style didn’t really work.

As he’s portrayed on the show, Kyle seems to be very confrontational, which causes issues with both the Wildkat Records customers and staff.

Beyond that, the name change doesn’t seem to have worked, as the bar’s sales started declining right around the time they changed from Bay Street Bar and Grill to Wildkat Records.

This has obviously caused big issues between Julian and Kyle, with the two butting heads a lot.

At the time of the Wildkat Records Bar Rescue episode, Julian is supposedly in debt of over $300,000, which is obviously a pretty big mountain to climb.

This debt and the other issues at the bar caused him to call in help from Jon Taffer and the Bar Rescue crew.

As part of the rescue, Jon Taffer changed the name of the bar from Wildkat Records Bar and Grill to Bay Street Sports Grill.

The name comes from the street that the bar is located on (119 E Bay Street) and also connects with the previous name of the bar.

I think that this makes a lot of sense given that the bar seemed to be a lot more successful before the Wildkat Records name change.

So was the Wildkat Records Bar Rescue visit a long-term success?

Keep reading my update to learn what happened next and if this Jacksonville, Florida bar is still open in 2024.

Bay Street Sports Grill Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Bay Street Bar Rescue visit, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Jacksonville, Florida.

To kick things off, I’ll look at the bar’s reaction to the episode and the Bar Rescue experience.

Then, I’ll talk about whether Bay Street Sports Grill is still open, which is probably the most important question on your mind, along with whether or not they’ve kept Taffer’s concept.

After that, I’ll dig into the real customer reviews from after Taffer’s visit to give you an idea of how the bar is doing.

Along the way, I’ll also share any other interesting tidbits that I was able to dig up.

Wildkat Records Reaction to Bar Rescue

Before I talk about other things, I always like to check if the bar hosted a watch part for Bar Rescue, and Bay Street Sports Grill did not disappoint.

On Facebook, they invited people to “Come watch Jon Taffer get all pissy with us”, which I thought was a funny way of phrasing it.

Here’s a screenshot of one of the many Bar Rescue watch party posts:

Bay Street Sports Grill Bar Rescue watch party on Facebook

However, it seems like not everything might have been as it seems, at least according to Jasmine, the Bay Street Sports Grill general manager.

On her personal Facebook page, Jasmine made a post saying something like “See me get yelled at by Jon Taffer Sunday, March 3 on Paramount”.

In the comments of that post, she talked about the Bar Rescue experience.

When responding to someone who said “That guy just ruins bars. He sucks and his show sucks.”, Jasmine said the following:

We got a free face lift so we endured.

We weren’t really struggling, they just made us pretend like we were.

It was an interesting experience to say the least.

Jasmine comment about Bay Street Sports Grill Bar Rescue experience

She also said “Honestly, I need a support group” when responding to someone who referenced Bar Rescue “victimizing” bars.

I don’t know if that’s true or not (them not actually struggling at the time of the episode), but it does add a bit of a wrinkle to things.

Bay Street Sports Grill certainly wouldn’t be the first bar to claim that their portrayal wasn’t totally accurate.

In the end, it is reality TV, so the Bar Rescue producers will play certain things up to create a better episode.

Kyle also posted about the Bar Rescue watch party on his personal Facebook page.

However, Julian doesn’t seem to use Facebook (or at least his posts aren’t public), so I’m not sure about his feelings.

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

Is Bay Street still open after Bar Rescue?

As of 2024, Bay Street Sports Grill is still open and serving customers in Jacksonville, Florida.

So far, they seem to have kept the Bay Street Sports Grill name that Jon Taffer gave it.

True to its Wildkat Records roots, the bar seems to still have live music.

Here’s a Facebook post advertising a show in February – you can see that they’re using the full Bay Street Sports Grill name.

Bay Street Sports Grill live music

There’s also an open mic night every Tuesday, which lets up-and-coming artists get on stage.

They also have free pool on Thursday, which is probably a popular event.

They also have a lot of the food specials that you’d expect from bars, such as 75 cent wings on Wednesdays.

Bay Street Sports Grill wing night

There’s also an official Bay Street Sports Grill website where you can learn more about the bar.

Here’s a screenshot of the Bay Street Sports Grill menu to give you an idea of the prices and what’s on offer.

Bay Street Sports Grill menu

Here’s what the Bay Street Sports Grill Jacksonville FL location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view…

Unfortunately, the image hasn’t been updated since January 2021, so it still shows the original Bay Street Bar and Grill name.

I’m mainly including it so that you can explore the area around Bay Street Sports Grill.

Bay Street Sports Grill reviews after Bar Rescue

Next, let’s take a look at some reviews of the bar from after Jon Taffer’s visit.

Unfortunately, Bay Street Sports Grill doesn’t seem to have its own Yelp page.

The only Yelp pages that I can find are for Wildkat Records or the previous Bay Street Bar and Grill:

  • Bay Street Bar and Grill – does include some reviews that were written after the rebranding to Wildkat Records, but none after Taffer’s visit.
  • Wildkat Records Yelp page – only has one review written after Taffer’s visit (and not many reviews overall).

However, Bay Street Sports Grill does seem to have plenty of reviews on Google.

Overall, it has a 4.1 star rating on over 1,000 Google reviews, which includes reviews from both before and after the Bay Street Sports Grill Jon Taffer renovations.

When I specifically looked at reviews that were written after Taffer’s actual visit (December 2023), it seems like most of them are positive, but there are still a decent number of negative reviews.

The positive reviews seem to mainly praise the atmosphere, such as the pool tables.

Some people also compliment the service.

There are a few positive reviews about food, but not a ton.

On the negative side, you’ll also see people complaining about the service, especially long wait times because the bar seemed understaffed.

Some people also seem to complain that the bar charges for water (even when ordering it alongside other drinks).

Here’s a sampling of a few real customer reviews that were written after the Wildkat Records Jon Taffer changes…

4 star Google review from February 2024:

Wings were A+ highly recommended.

The drink selection is great, and the service is top.

The bar and pool tables is where is at.

Why 4 stars?

All our chicken strips were salty, so I will comeback to update this place.

Great atmosphere and plenty of seating.

Parking is on the street or use the público parking building in from of the Hyatt hotel .

5 star Google review from February 2024:

Great little bar.

The service was okay.

We came back a few nights to play pool.

We had a good time.

5 star Google review from January 2024:

We love this place!!!

So eclectic.

We’re more into hole in wall places than fancy.

And the food is so yummy and great price!

2 star Google review from January 2024:

Favorite since ’21.

But recently I went there on a slow night

Waited 30 minutes for a burger.

Need more cooks, bartenders, servers etc!

2 star Google review from January 2024:

Way understaffed.

Waited an hour + for food to come out.

Never got a 2nd round due to line.

Burgers were ok but other food came out cold.

Felt bad for the one guy working the floor/bar.

1 star Yelp review from December 2023:

Waited over an hour for mediocre food that was too pricy.

Will definitely skip in the future.

Busy due to the bowl game but still a ridiculous wait.

When we finally got the food (mostly burgers/fries) most of it was cold

A Behind the Scenes Look at the Episode

While Jon Taffer was rescuing the bar, a local news channel did a few segments about the rescue that are available on YouTube, including some behind-the-scenes footage.

If you’re interested in checking them out, I’ll embed them below.

Here’s a one-minute clip that talks about “all the trailers” on Bay Street, which includes some footage of the Bar Rescue production crew.

And then here’s a shorter 19-second clip with some coverage by one of the local anchors.

Final thoughts on Bay Street Sports Grill

Overall, Bay Street Sports Grill seems to be doing pretty well so far.

At least for now, they’re keeping Taffer’s concept and using the Bay Street Sports Grill name.

I think that this is a no-brainer because the bar had already achieved most of its success when it was using the Bay Street Bar and Grill name.

That is, before it rebranded to Wildkat Records.

The post-Bar Rescue reviews aren’t perfect, but they do seem to generally be more positive than negative.

I wish them all the best and I hope that they can make the Bay Street Sports Grill Jacksonville location a long-term success.

That wraps up my Bay Street Sports Grill Bar Rescue update.

If you want to see some other nearby Jacksonville Bar Rescue episodes, you also might be interested in reading my updates for The Bayou / Fat Balls in Jacksonville, Sydney / Bluewater Oyster Bar in Jacksonville Beach, and Cap N Odie’s in Atlantic Beach.

I also have a page that lists all 27+ Florida episodes from Bar Rescue – it’s one of the most popular states for Jon Taffer to visit.

And if you want to share your thoughts on the episode or Bay Street Sports Grill, please use the comments section below.

I especially love hearing from locals who are able to visit the bar in person.

As always – thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2024-03-03 05:30

3 thoughts on “Bay Street Bar Rescue Update (Wildkat Records) – Still Open?”

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

  1. Just watched this one.

    The GM explaining they weren’t really struggling explains why the episode was pretty subpar.

    A lot of the story felt contrived and rushed. Taffer didn’t really ream anyone out – at least not in the ways that felt authentic in the past. It really came across like the show was just going through the motions to hit their beats.

    Sometimes it might be a better change of pace to show the staff getting deeper training or Jon’s bar science rather than phony arguments or human interest plots or behind the scenes of the renovation.

    It also felt like a lot was left on the editing room floor. One reason I wish they showed more of an extended episode online.


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