(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 26, 2017
The Bar's Original Name Was: Big Mike's Sports Bar & Grill
Big Mike's Sports Bar & Grill Address: 123 Aspen Sq Denham Springs, LA 70726
Big Mike’s Sports Bar & Grill was a Denham Springs (Baton Rouge), Louisiana bar that was featured on Season 5 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Big Mike’s Bar Rescue episode aired in March 2017, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that in late fall 2016.
It was Season 5 Episode 19 and the episode name was “Bar Over Troubled Water”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer visits Big Mike’s Sports Bar & Grill in Baton Rouge, LA.
Big Mike’s has an interesting backstory in that it took on 6 feet of water during the 2016 Baton Rouge flooding.
If you don’t remember that event, here’s some news footage to show how bad it was:
Needless to say, that did quite a bit of damage to the bar.
So much damage, in fact, that Bar Rescue spent over $750,000 on rehabbing the bar.
Surprisingly, though, this was not the most expensive Bar Rescue ever. That distinction goes to LA Brew Co in Los Angeles, which cost over a million, including a $125,000 draft beer system.
This episode of Bar Rescue is fairly unique in that the main problem affecting Big Mike’s was a natural disaster, rather than poor management.
For example, here’s what the bar looked like after the hurricane – it’s definitely not a normal business failure.
It was totally gutted and they had to re-do everything.
Jon Taffer actually left most of the bar’s menu alone because it was so popular, opting instead to just add a few new specials.
Let’s get to the episode…
Big Mike’s Sports Bar and Grill is owned by Mike O’Neal.
Before the storm, Big Mike’s was highly successful and was always packed on game days.
In 2015, the bar made $1.9 million, which is pretty impressive. They were also doing great in 2016 until the flooding hit.
Now, the owner and the staff are suffering due to the damage from the flood.
The bar is currently closed and cannot open unless the owner has $500,000 for the repairs.
It will also take Mike at least six months to renovate the bar, and during that time, he will lose customers and money.
Jon Taffer arrives in Denham Springs, LA, and sees the devastation from the storm.
He goes to visit Mike and his family in their temporary residence.
The trailer the O’Neal family is staying in is too small for their family, so their sixteen-year-old twin daughters stay with friends.
You really have to feel for the family…
After talking to Mike and noticing how much the community loves him, Jon promises to help him rescue the bar.
Jon, Mike, and his wife head to Big Mike’s and show Jon around.
The space is expansive, and Jon is impressed.
Big Mike’s has a room dedicated to the state NFL team, the Saints.
Rescuing Big Mike’s will be the most extensive bar rescue yet.
The staff met with Jon while the renovations were being done.
Emily, a bartender, is the one who asked Bar Rescue for help.
To train the staff, Jon brings in expert mixologist Rob Floyd and Chef Aaron McCargo.
Instead of a stress test, the team will partake in an efficiency and production test at an off-site location.
The staff is tasked with making drinks in twenty-five seconds and fulfilling meal orders in under eight minutes.
A limited number of customers come in for the test.
The food is made on time, but drinks take too long to complete.
The following day, Rob trains the bartenders on making cocktails using Crown Royal.
Aaron and the kitchen staff make a southern-style pizza.
The renovations are being done at the bar, and Jon Taffer is scared they won’t make it in time for the relaunch.
That night the friends and family of the staff members are coming for training.
The drinks the bartenders make are better than the day prior. The team works together.
There are delays on some of the equipment needed for the bar, and Jon is still worried they will not open on time.
Finally, the appliances arrive with the help of Saints player Deuce McCallister.
The bar renovations are revealed.
The bar now has six televisions, new beer taps, POS systems, and a Turbo Chef.
Deuce McCallister signs items in the Saints room.
As part of the remodel, Jon also added a dedicated LSU room in addition to the Saints room.
Here’s an example of Big Mike’s after the Bar Rescue renovation:
Jon Taffer plays a video from the staff members of Bungalow Bar; a New York bar Jon rescued that was affected by a hurricane as well.
Bungalow Bar donates $10,000 to further support Big Mike’s.
The money will get Mike’s family a larger trailer so his daughters can come home.
The staff does great during the relaunch and serves tasty drinks.
Jon thanks Emily for writing to Bar Rescue and says goodbye to Mike.
So was the Bar Rescue Big Mike’s Sports Bar visit a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Denham Springs bar is still open in 2023.
Big Mike's Sports Bar & Grill Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Big Mike’s Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Denham Springs, LA.
Things obviously started off well for Big Mike’s after the renovations because the damage from the flooding was gone.
With that being said, the sales at the bar were even better than they had thought they could achieve.
Sales were up more than 50% from the numbers before the flood.
So not only is Big Mike’s Sports Bar back, but it’s doing better than ever.
Is Big Mike’s from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2023, Big Mike’s Sports Bar is still open and serving customers in Baton Rouge, LA.
The bar still regularly posts events and specials on its Facebook page, so they seem very active, as well.
For example, Big Mike’s seems to go all-out for LSU football games, which makes sense given its location.
They even hire a DJ during the game – here’s a Facebook post promoting the event:
You also might be wondering what the bar looks like now.
To help with that, I’ve embedded the Google Maps street view for the Big Mike’s Denham Springs LA location, which should give you an idea of what the bar looks like nowadays:
In terms of Big Mike’s reviews, they’re good but not great.
Currently, it’s sitting at 3.5-stars on Yelp.
Reviews note that the bar is always packed, which seems to be a good sign.
A few people criticized the food, but most customers seem happy.
The reviews are even better on TripAdvisor, where the bar has a 4 star rating.
Here’s a sampling of some of the reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
5 star review from May 2021:
We had seen the bar rescue that was here and decided to stop while on vacation.
Food was great, service was great and prices were reasonable.
Plus we got to meet big mike!
2 star review from December 2020:
Husband and I were looking forward to going to Big Mike’s after seeing the Bar Rescue episode after the 2016 flood in Denham Springs and Baton Rouge.
We got there very early (4:45 pm) so there were only a few customers in the restaurant.
After waiting at our table for at least 15 minutes, the server came to take our drink order.
After waiting another 20 minutes, she brought the drinks (wine and beer, nothing unusual). She took our dinner order.
We ordered burgers which were overcooked.
The best thing about our dinner was the shoestring fries.
Probably won’t be back.
5 star review from March 2019:
Saw Big Mikes on Bar Rescue so we decided to go check it out from DC.
Love the place as its a home feeling spot to see.
It does have its quirks but that’s what its all about. If something is wrong they make it right.
Some reviews I read were just picky. When these places are busy they are gonna get behind.
You can’t go wrong here and we will be back!!!!!
Good food, good fun and they are well on their way to getting back to how they used to be.
Its a family hometown spot not applebees.
For now, it appears that Big Mike’s Sports Bar & Grill is another successful Bar Rescue for Jon Taffer.
I’m really glad they were able to recover after the flooding and build back the bar better than ever.
If you want to read updates for some other Louisiana Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for The Annex / TJ Quills in New Orleans, Second Line Co / Speakeasy in Kenner, and Desi Romano’s Sports Bar in Chalmette.
Oh, and don’t forget Spirits on Bourbon / Turtle Bay in New Orleans – it’s probably one of the most successful and well-known rescues.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-01-28 05:08