(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: July 24, 2016
The Bar's Original Name Was: Black Light District Rock & Roll Lounge
Black Light District Rock & Roll Lounge Address: 2500 E Anaheim St Long Beach, CA 90804
Black Light District Rock & Roll Lounge was a Long Beach, California bar that was featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Black Light District Bar Rescue episode aired in July 2016, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 4 Episode 57 and the episode name was “Drunk on Punk”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer visits Black Light District in Long Beach, California. I’ve also seen it spelled as BlackLight District.
If you’re not familiar with California geography, Long Beach is located just to the south of Los Angeles.
As the name suggests, it’s located on the coast.
Black Light District is owned by David Franich (Dave) who runs the day-to-day and Gabe Lopez, who invested in the bar.
Around 2012, Dave Franich took a decision to switch his career.
Earlier he was a construction worker, then he decided to become a bar owner.
Soon, he found a local dive bar was on the market for the price of $110,000.
The money was too much and Dave decided to take help from his friend Gabe Lopez.
He then decided to make it a punk rock bar “Black Light District Rock & Roll Lounge”.
The theme of the bar proved to be too niche and due to this, it failed to take off.
Visitors even often complained about the noise in the bar (though hardcore punk fans obviously did like it).
However, Dave didn’t listen to the people, he put his sole focus on the musical aspect of the bar.
He also totally neglected the daily tasks of the bar which resulted in multiple hygiene issues.
Even the staff and his investor Gabe Lopez feel completely helpless due to his antics.
When things got completely out of his hand Franich decided to call Bar Rescue for some help.
Jon started noticing issues in Black Light District as soon as he arrived.
From the filthy seats to the loud sound systems, everything was pointing towards Dave’s poor managerial skills.
Even the sign on the front that should have spelled “Cocktails” only had “ails” written.
As soon as Taffer’s spies started interacting with Dave, one thing became clear he was adamant about keeping the bar’s music punk rock.
When the bar rescue team tried to tell him that this genre isn’t liked by a lot of people, Franich completely lost it and even hinted towards Taffer leaving the premises.
At the time of the stress test, no one was at their best.
Bartenders were struggling to pour the drinks on time and as soon as the live band started performing Dave became completely oblivious to his bar duties.
All of this was enough for Jon to give Dave the tough talk but even then Franich didn’t listen to any of his suggestions.
Jon’s team was even doing some renovation to give the bar a decent look but Dave was having none of it.
He told Jon Taffer to leave immediately.
Expert bartender Phil Wills was also extremely disappointed at the bar’s condition.
He did his best by teaching the bartenders two new and easy-to-make drinks named The LBC Crown and The Royal Vandal.
However, they aren’t really paying attention to the training.
Jon Taffer meets with Dave again to discuss the renovations that Jon wants to make and fix Dave’s attitude.
However, Dave just won’t come around to accept Jon’s ideas and suggestions.
Because Jon knows that any renovations he makes will just be wasted, Jon makes the tough decision to walk out on Black Light District instead of continuing with the rescue.
This makes the Black Light District Bar Rescue episode one of the few where Jon Taffer walked out instead of finishing the changes.
So was Black Light District able to stay open even without Jon Taffer’s help?
Let’s talk about what happened after the episode aired on TV and whether or not this Long Beach punk bar is still open in 2023.
Black Light District Rock & Roll Lounge Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the chaotic Black Light District Bar Rescue visit from Jon Taffer, let’s talk about what happened after the bar spurned Taffer’s offer of help.
Because the bar didn’t actually work with Bar Rescue, we don’t have any insights into its sales after the Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.
The owners dispute the fact that Jon Taffer “walked away”, though.
Instead, the Black Light District owners said that they were the ones that kicked Bar Rescue out.
While it’s impossible for us to know the truth, I’d generally put my money on Jon Taffer here.
Is Black Light District from Bar Rescue still open?
Black Light District closed in July 2018, which means that it survived for about two years after the Black Light District Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.
Would the bar have survived longer if they had actually worked with Jon Taffer to improve the bar instead of driving him off?
Well, that’s hard to know, but it probably wouldn’t have hurt their chances.
The bar’s reviews were pretty bad, as it had two stars on Yelp and 2.2 stars on Google Reviews.
I’ll share some examples of real reviews below.
With that being said, those reviews aren’t quite accurate because they include a lot of angry reviews from Bar Rescue watchers who didn’t actually visit the bar in person.
But even if you filter out the obviously fake reviews, it still seems like Black Light District didn’t have a lot of fans.
If you watch the Black Light District Bar Rescue episode, that’s probably no surprise to you given the ownership.
With that being said, I do have to give them credit for at least surviving for two years after Bar Rescue.
It also seems like the bar only closed because the building owner sold the land that the bar was on, which caused the bar to close.
The owners still post on Facebook and shared this message in July 2021:
Stop believing reality TV shows…
Blacklight District people never owed money or are having money issues ….
This bar was sold only because of the building owner sold land.
FYI your hero John T is a straight actor that breaks contracts he signed and doesn’t give a shit about any bar just ratings from TV bashing bars ….
live music lives and is still thriving in so-cal 🤘🏻…
much love to all the metal , reggae, punk , ska , country bands that supported us as a live venue supporting live music 🙏🏻🤘🏻
Here’s a screenshot of the post in case it gets deleted:
Earlier, in 2018, the Black Light District team had another post addressing the Bar Rescue situation.
Here’s a screenshot of that post:
While the bar did eventually close, it also made it longer than some of the bars that did accept Taffer’s help.
The Facebook post also mentioned that the property was sold, which is why Black Light District closed.
I did see that it was listed for sale in 2017, but I can’t see any sales data.
It was also listed for sale on Loopnet in 2022, though the listing was withdrawn.
As of 2023, the old Black Light District Long Beach, CA location is occupied by a new bar named Supply and Demand.
Here’s a Google Maps Street View that shows the new tenant:
Reviews for the bar seem much better than Black Light District as Supply and Demand has a four star rating on its Yelp page.
Black Light District reviews after Bar Rescue
As I mentioned above, it’s hard to get an accurate picture of Black Light District’s reviews because there were a lot of reviews from Bar Rescue fans who never actually visited the bar.
With that being said, I did dig into the reviews to try to find some realistic ones that give an idea of how the bar was doing.
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after Jon Taffer visited the bar and the episode aired on…
2 star Yelp review from August 2016:
Stopped by with some friends when we were traveling through Cali, and was shocked that it really didn’t seem like a Punk atmosphere.
Seemed more Metal than anything which is fine if you are into that.
Drinks were not good, when asked for help to resolve the issue we were met with negativity.
Sound in the establishment was awful. Just not that pleasant of a stop.
I wouldn’t recommend.
4 star Yelp review from June 2016:
Best punk bar in Long Beach…
although I’m not punk (and haven’t been since my psychobilly days back in the mid 2000s) and I don’t care for punk bars.
I prefer old man dive bars or cocktail lounges.
But this is definitely smaller than Alex’s Bar, and better.
And nor as trashy as Fern’s nor the skater trendy influence of the Red Room.
This bar could easily move from the east side of LB to the west side, where I’m at, and turn some locala into metal and punk fans but oh well.
Parking here sucks but it’s LB – only parked a block away on a Tues night.
Fat Tire was 5.50 and they have metal shows!!!!!!!! For 5 bucks!
Plenty of flat screens, bartender that could pass fkr Fairuza Balk’s sister, and a nice big horseshoe bar.
1 star Yelp review from November 2016:
Just a total letdown.
Treating the customer and others like crap doesn’t make you punk rock you dorks.
Drinks were marginal but too many wannabe tough guys that in reality are loudmouth chickenshits who are soft.
I go to bars to enjoy a drink and interesting people, not try and look tough.
Save the tough guy bullshit for your social media friends and just don’t f*ck up my whiskey drink please.
Final thoughts on Black Light District
Overall, it’s not really surprising that Black Light District closed, given the owner’s general attitude and the fact that they rejected Jon Taffer’s help.
Honestly, I was a bit surprised that it did manage to survive for two years after the episode, as I thought it would be closed before then.
If you want to see an update for another bar that Jon Taffer walked out on, you can read my O Face bar update. That one is actually still open as of 2023 (somehow!).
Jon also walked out of rescuing Second Base bar for the second time (though he did rescue it on his first visit).
You can read about that in my Second Base / Extremes update.
And, more recently in Season 8, Jon Taffer walked out of The Hideaway Bar and Grill in Idaho – one of the most drama-filled Bar Rescue episodes in a long time.
If you want to see some updates for other Long Beach Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for Liquid Lounge / Tidal Bay Beach Bar (just down the street), Cirivello’s Aging Room, and Brix / Pacific Coast Wine Bar in Sunset Beach.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-03-18 04:42