(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 1 | View All Season 1 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: September 11, 2011
The Bar's Original Name Was: Champs Sports Pub
Champs Sports Pub Address: 4103 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Champs Sports Pub was a Burbank, California bar featured on Season 1 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Champs Bar Rescue episode aired in September 2011, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 1 Episode 8 and the episode name was “Chumps”.
Joe Handy, a former teacher, owns Champs Sports Bar in Burbank, California.
He opened the bar in 1983, and it was the first sports bar in Burbank.
Joe is a big sports fan – hence the name of the bar and all of the branding.
At first, the restaurant was always packed and was making a monthly profit.
However, Joe eventually checked out and allowed Helen to run the finances.
Now, Helen says the bar is failing.
They have hired a younger staff to draw in a younger crowd.
Unfortunately, Champs Sports Bar is six months away from closing, which is why they so desperately need help from Jon Taffer and the Bar Rescue crew.
Burbank is an area that caters to a young crowd, which should set Champs Sports Bar up for success if they can play their cards right.
The bar is only blocks away from some of the most prominent film and television studios.
Jon brings in Chef Brian Hill for recon.
The bar exterior is very dated, as you can see in the picture above.
Brian enters the bar to do the recon and see’s the bar is lined with televisions showing various sports games.
Brian asks for a beer list, but there is none.
To make matters worse, the bartenders don’t even know how to pour a proper beer.
Rachel, the bartender, recommends the burger because the kitchen can’t mess that up.
Brian is told to avoid the cheesesteak, so he orders the burger and the nachos.
The nachos are disgusting, and the burger is terrible.
Brian then calls in Jon Taffer so that Champs can start embracing some solutions..
The bartender is still overpouring (which means lost revenue/profit for the bar), and the patties are frozen.
Jon goes into the office to meet with Joe and Helen.
The bar is struggling to make $40,000 a month.
They have been impacted by competing bars in the area.
Jon calls a staff meeting and has the staff apologize to Joe for wasting so much alcohol by overpouring.
Jon brings in two experts to help in the bar rescue. Tobin Ellis, a mixologist who has 22 years of experience. Chef Brian Hill stays to help out the bar.
Tobin says there are cleanliness issues with the bar.
All of the pour spouts are sticky, and there is a swarm of flies around the sink.
There is no way for bartenders to make proper deposits.
It’s the same story in the kitchen.
The kitchen has grease dripping out onto serving papers which is a severe health hazard.
The chef walks out while Brian is inspecting the grease-filled kitchen.
Helen sends out emails designating everyone’s job for the day.
But in general, there is no structure or control at the bar.
Joe has stopped attending the bar every day as he grew tired of it.
To fix the food and drinks, Chef Brian and Tobin get together to create a new menu.
Despite all of these positive changes, Joe is not showing any enthusiasm, so Gordon takes him and Helen to another sports bar to show them how Champs is supposed to be.
While that’s happening, the Bar Rescue crew works around the clock to renovate Champs Sports Bar and give it all new equipment (at no cost to the bar, as is always the case with Bar Rescue renovations).
Later on, Jon reveals the newly renovated bar.
It is very welcoming with stadium seating.
Champs Sports Pub Update - What Happened Next?
So, how are things going after the Champs Bar Rescue episode aired?
Let’s find out…
Is Champs still open after Bar Rescue?
As of 2023, Champs Sports Bar is still open and serving customers.
According to Yelp, the restaurant has average reviews, with a 3.5 star rating.
The bar’s happy hour and their sports trivia are big hits.
Sports trivia is played on giant television screens.
The restaurant has an overall better atmosphere.
The food is expensive, but that is not unfamiliar to the area.
Here’s what the Champs Sports Bar Burbank location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
You can see that it still has the very vibrant branding.
It’s definitely hard to miss from the street!
While the bar doesn’t seem to be active on social media, it does have an official Champ’s Sports Pub Burbank website.
Here’s a sampling of some reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
5 star Yelp review from September 2016:
My wife and I decided to try out one of the bars seen on the the TV series, Bar Rescue.
So selected Champs since it was pretty close to our home.
We were surprised at the size of the place.
Good for large groups with a separated area away from the main bar area.
The place was very clean and well kept.
Not a bunch of advertising like you would see in a lot of pubs.
We were greeted immediately when we entered and offered a drink before we even sat down.
The wait staff (Brook) was very attentive and sweet.
The drinks were pretty good.
I usually don’t drink signature drinks, but since Bar Rescue tends to make a signature drink a staple of their show, I gave it a try…and the Tennessee Tai was AWESOME.
We really wanted to try their food so we gave it a go and it was really good for a pub.
The wings were great as was the chicken breast sandwich.
Overall, the place was great…definitely will be going back and will recommend to my friends.
3 star Yelp review from May 2019:
This is a local hangout only, even featured on Bar Rescue.
It’s not a cool place to hang out anymore even though you might see a few celebrities pop in.
Beer was good, drinks were mixed properly and the food is 3 out of 5 stars.
If the owner can make money with the current business model I would ask them to take a look what they can do better with this location.
Pool tables don’t make dick but nobody has any around here.
Maybe move pool tables to the west side, add 2 more.
1 star Yelp review from July 2019:
If you like less than mediocre food, long service wait, and luke warm food this is the spot for you.
Very disappointing, after seeing the show Bar Rescue I expected the comfort food that I ordered, to be better than what I could have made at home.
Definitely less than a 1, but less than was not offered.
Bar Rescue waisted there time with this place.
And I’m still hungry.
Overall, Champs Sports Pub reviews definitely seem mixed.
However, given that it’s survived for well over a decade since the Champs Jon Taffer visit, they must be doing something right.
Champs is a popular movie location
This has nothing to do with the Champs Bar Rescue visit, but a commenter below alerted me to a fun fact that Champs has been a filming location for a few popular TV shows and movies.
This includes the Go Bullfrogs! episode of Modern family, which is what the commenter told me about.
After looking up Champs on IMBD, I found that it was also a location for the 2006 Owen Wilson movie You, Me and Dupree as well as. 2004 movie named Slammed that I’d never heard of before.
Pretty cool! I guess it pays to be in Burbank.
Overall, congratulations to the entire Champs team for surviving over 10 years since the Bar Rescue episode and still going strong in 2023 and beyond!
If you’re in the area and get a chance to check out the Champs Burbank location, please let me know your experience in the comments section below!
If you want to see some other nearby California Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for Dimples Karaoke in Burbank, Pat’s Cocktails in North Hollywood, and The Airliner in downtown Los Angeles.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-05 05:26