Cinco Cantina Bar Rescue Update (High 5 Grille) – Still Open?

Is Cinco Cantina still open today?

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

Season: 9 | View All Season 9 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 24, 2024
The Bar's Original Name Was: High 5 Grille
Cinco Cantina Address: 3682 W Orange Grove Rd, Tucson, AZ 85741

High 5 Grill as seen on Bar Rescue

Episode Recap

High 5 Grille (aka High Five Grille), later renamed to Cinco Cantina, was a Tucson Arizona bar that was featured on Season 9 of Bar Rescue.

Though the Cinco Cantina Bar Rescue episode aired in March 2024, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place around November 2023.

It was Season 9 Episode 5 and the episode name was “Low Five Dive”.

In this episode, the Bar Rescue team heads to High 5 Grille.

High 5 Grille is located in Tucson, Arizona, which has played host to a few different rescues.

At the time of the episode, this was Bar Rescue’s 13th visit to Arizona in general and the fourth visit to Tucson.

Cathy Whaley High 5 Grille owner

The High 5 Grille owner is Cathy Whaley, who opened the bar back in 2019.

This means it’s been around for about four years at the time of the Bar Rescue visit.

Before Cathy opened High 5 Grille, the location used to be a different bar named Stadium Grill, which had mediocre reviews on Yelp.

To recon the bar, Jon Taffer sends in two ESPN radio hosts.

While this is happening, Jon Taffer is watching on camera with Mia Mastroianni and another expert.

High 5 Grille recon from ESPN radio hosts

During recon, Jon and the Bar Rescue experts determine that the bar’s walk-in isn’t working correctly.

Despite the fridge being a whopping 85 degrees, the bar is still storing beer in the fridge.

As a result of this, they can’t use some food and beer, which causes wastage.

High 5 Grille kitchen

I don’t have much more on the episode itself because I’m writing this update a day before it airs on TV.

However, I might come back here later and update with a more detailed episode recap.

As part of the rescue, Bar Rescue changed the name from High 5 Grille to Cinco Cantina.

This is not the first time Bar Rescue has used the “cantina” concept in a rebrand.

Jon Taffer also used it for Sierra Madre Cantina in Escondido CA, Agave Junction Cantina in Norwalk CA, and Lona’s City Limits Cantina in Long Beach CA.

So was the High 5 Bar Rescue visit a long-term success?

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

Cinco Cantina Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Cinco Cantina episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after the Bar Rescue crew left Tucson, Arizona.

Spoiler alert – this one was not a long-term success, and there wasn’t a Bar Rescue watch party at the bar haha.

Let’s start with answering the most important question and then I’ll cover some other details about the bar, such as looking at some real customer reviews from after the rescue.

Is Cinco Cantina still open after Bar Rescue?

Sadly, Cinco Cantina closed in January 2024, which is less than two months after the actual Bar Rescue visit and filming, but more than two months before the episode aired on TV.

At the time that Cinco Cantina closed, it was still using the new name and concept from Bar Rescue.

To announce the closure, Cathy posted the following message on Facebook on January 5 2024:

It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I must inform you that Cinco Cantina has closed its doors as of January 3rd, 2024.

I want to thank all of my loyal customers for your patronage and support over the last few years.

I have met so many great people and made some wonderful and lasting friendships.

I will miss all of you but I know I will see some of you around town.

Please continue to support all local area businesses.

They rely on you to keep their doors open.

Love you all!


Here’s a screenshot of the post in case it gets deleted.

Cinco Cantina closure announcement

The Facebook post has 60+ comments from people who seem to be sad about the closure.

A lot of people also complain about the name change and say that the bar will still always be “High 5” to them.

Here’s a screenshot of some of the comments complaining about the switch from High 5 to Cinco Cantina (or “Sinko Cantina” as one person intentionally misspelled it lol).

Facebook complaints about Cinco Cantina name change

It seems like Cinco Cantina closed because the bar wasn’t able to pay rent and owed the landlord money.

When a local publication visited the bar in person, there was a “Notice of Landlord Lien” sign posted on the front that implies the landlord kicked out the bar and seized “non-exempt property” for debts that were owed to the landlord.

The sign said the following:

Any unauthorized locksmiths or other person attempting to enter this establishment:

Pursuant to ARS 33-361 (A) these premises have been lawfully locked by the landlord and landlord has taken reposession.

All non-exempt personal property belonging to tenant has been seized pursuant to ARS Section 33.361 (D) and 33.362.

Any unauthorized entry hereto shall be considered an illegal entry under Arizona Revised Statutes 13.1502(A)(1) and shall subject the violator to arrest and criminal prosecution.

Any person needing to gain access to these premises should contact the landlord/property manager.

So, it seems like all the stuff from the Bar Rescue renovation probably got seized to pay the unpaid rent.

Sad to hear!

Before Cinco Cantina closed, it seemed to have a lot of events and specials, which the bar posted about on its Facebook page.

This included regular live music – here’s a picture advertising the Brian Dean Trio, which performed at the bar every Monday.

Cinco Cantina Brian Dean Trio

Cinco Cantina also had “a variety of rotating local bands” on every Saturday.

Cinco Cantina live music every saturday

And they also seemed to host a dart tournament on every Friday, with a $5 registration fee and cash prizes.

Cinco Cantina dart tournaments

You can also see that the bar is still using the Cinco Cantina name and concept in all of those promotions.

However, while the bar did keep the name from Bar Rescue, it seems like they hadn’t kept the menu.

A comment on Instagram from someone who went to the bar after the remodel said that the bartender said they “don’t make the cocktails from the show” (I’m paraphrasing – that’s not a direct quote).

Here’s what the Cinco Cantina Tucson location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view…

The picture hasn’t been updated since February 2023 (before the rebrand to Cinco Cantina when it was still operating as High 5 Grille), so I’m mainly including it so that you can explore the area around the bar.

I’m not sure if a new tenant has moved in to the old Cinco Cantina location yet, as it’s only been a couple of months.

If you live in the Tucson area and know anything about what’s happening at that location, please let me know in the comments section below.

Cinco Cantina reviews after Bar Rescue

Next, let’s take a look at some Cinco Cantina reviews to give you an idea of how things were going after the change.

Overall, the bar ended with a 3.5 star rating on 32+ Yelp reviews and a 4.2 star rating on 627+ Google reviews.

However, both of those numbers include reviews from both before and after the Bar Rescue episode.

Given that the bar only stayed open for two months after the visit (and closed before the episode aired on TV), you can probably guess that there weren’t a ton of reviews to choose from.

However, the post-Bar Rescue reviews that I do find seem to be generally positive.

Given that, it seems kind of like the reason for the bar’s closure was solely about money.

This is always a tough thing for Jon Taffer, because some bars are so much in debt that they’re basically impossible to rescue.

Here’s a sampling of a few customer reviews that were written after the visit from the show, including Cathy’s response to some reviews…

5 star Yelp review from December 2023:

Cinco Cantina review #1

5 star Yelp review from November 2023:

Cinco Cantina review #2

3 star Google review from December 2023:

Cinco Cantina review #3

4 star Google review from December 2023:

Cinco Cantina review #4

There were also a few positive reviews or negative reviews that didn’t provide very much information, so I don’t think those are worth sharing.

But overall – for the reviews from after Bar Rescue that I could find – most people seemed to have positive things to say about the change from High 5 Grille bar to Cinco Cantina.

What happened to Cathy after Cinco Cantina closed?

Cathy was the owner of High 5 Grille / Cinco Cantina from the episode.

According to her public LinkedIn page, Cathy got a job working as an Office Associate at a Tucson area company after the bar closed.

I wish Cathy success in her new career and I hope the transition from business owner to employee is a smooth one.

Final thoughts on the Cinco Cantina bar

Overall, Cinco Cantina was definitely not a successful Bar Rescue episode as the bar closed just two months after the show visited, and two months before the episode even aired on TV.

This is a departure from the previous four Season 9 episodes, as all of those bars seemed to be doing well at the time that their episodes aired on TV.

It seems like the main reason for the closure of Cinco Cantina was issues with money, as the landlord seized the property and seems to have evicted the bar from the premises.

Cathy has moved on to start a new career working at a Tucson-area business.

If you want to see some other Tucson Bar Rescue episodes, you can also check out my updates for The Billy Bar / County Line, Frozen Cactus / RJ’s Replay, and The Original Hideout.

I also have a post that lists all the Arizona episodes from the show.

And if you want to share your thoughts on High 5 / Cinco Cantina or the episode in general, you can use the comments section below.

As always – thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2024-03-23 04:40

17 thoughts on “Cinco Cantina Bar Rescue Update (High 5 Grille) – Still Open?”

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

  1. You can tell for this owner Taffers help,was just a band-aid for a bullet wound… sometimes you just can’t help some people..

    • Absolutely right. I’m curious as to why keep remodeling places that have one foot in the grave? Most I’d but all owners have mi ey issues; unpaid or delinquent rent, delinquent income and/or property taxes, and liens galore. My point is the only people you’re helping is landlords who get their properties fixed at no cost before they boot their tenants. I think it’s great to help but it’s got to be apparent that a place will not make it.

      • From Bar Rescue’s perspective, they still get an episode that they can air on TV. It doesn’t really affect the show whether it stays open or not after, beyond hardcore fans like us who actually look it up.

  2. It is sad the landlord didn’t give her enough time to get caught up on the rent. It seems that they will benefit greatly to release it to another bar owner.

  3. Did the landlord deliberately make a fast move to eviction seize the bar with all the new costly upgrades inside (new equipment, new furnishings, etc.) quickly to make a fast and convenient profit $$ at the expense of Kathy Whaley & Bar Rescue?? Rather than simply allow the tenant to catch up on rent? Then the landlord can turn right around and put the newly refurbished property back on the market at a jacked up rent.
    Seems like that’s what exactly happened.

  4. There was no way Cathy could make good on 350 thousand dollars of debt in such a short time. She should have sold the business to pay the debt and back rent. It was not in the Stars for Cathy to run a bar/restaurant.

    • It’s sad, wish there was a way to legally secure an extension with landlords, this has happened before! With bar rescue coming they should grant 6 months or something? The place was making money! A shame just to secure the equipment ect.. sham landlord.

      • I think the only way to do this would be if Bar Rescue paid the bar’s debt, which Bar Rescue probably doesn’t want to do.

  5. I would be careful to conclude any motivations for owners or landlords on the show.

    To echo the website owner, the show seeks filming locations to make cable television conent; the product you are participating in when you toon in is entertainment for the viewer which one could argue is better the more terrible the bar is.

    A couple of points about production:

    1. Jon’s voice is hoarse. I wonder if he was sick which is why he couldn’t shoot the episode that aired last week. We are told he is not in next week’s episode either which will also been in Arizona about 2 hours away from this location. Maybe he went to Tucson after Gilbert and Fountain Hills and then came back to Glendale. I’m not aware of another Tucson location this season.

    2. Mia seems to get more screen time than the noobs. Maybe I’m imagining it. Her and Phil have been on the show for a while now, so maybe they get more clout. Bring back Russell Davis, lol.

    3. I think Chef Jen is actually a nice person pretending to be stern for the show. There aren’t many mean food experts on the show.

    • point 2: Mia and Phil are clearly darlings of the production team, but for sure Rob, Derrick and LisaMarie are in that mix.

      Russell Davis likely won’t ever be back after he was entangled in some bad legal issues. I believe he had a domestic violence issue, was subject to identity theft/fraud, and has one of his businesses fail under a cloud of suspicion.

      • That’s too bad about Russell. He had a bar called Academia in Austin for a bit, but I never made it to Austin for a visit while it was open.

        He seemed like a good guy. For instance, when I followed him on Twitter back in 2016, he personally messaged me thanking me for the add.

        In the glory days of the show, it was a Phil-Mia-LisaMarie triumvirate. They were good friends, and they may still be. Mia had a bit of a hiatus–she’s the mysterious one; she doesn’t post personal information, and her bar is a private club, so you can’t just stop by and interrogate her like you can LisaMarie.

        I think by social media followers, LisaMarie had lapped the others in followers when she was on the show. Certainly not Jon’s darling:

        • I thought I remembered something about Mia having some health problems, which was why she was less visible. I could be remembering wrong, though (or maybe confusing it with a different expert).

  6. Cathy Whaley has no place in the bar business. Period. End of story.

    I’m glad she’s found a better career that’s more to her liking: working in an office. It’s where she belongs, not behind the bar, not serving rotten food either.

    Sucks all the same, but that’s just the way it goes. I can only wish her the best of luck in her future. I hope she doesn’t screw it up.


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