Clear Bar Chicago – Bar Rescue Update – Underground Wonder Bar – Open or Closed?

Is Clear Bar still open today?

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

Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: February 15, 2015
The Bar's Original Name Was: Underground Wonder Bar
Clear Bar Address: 710 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60654

Clear Bar Chicago - Bar Rescue Update - Underground Wonder Bar

Episode Recap

Originally named Underground Wonder Bar, Clear Bar was a Chicago, Illinois bar featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.

Though the Clear Bar Bar Rescue episode aired in February 2015, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that in 2014.

It was Season 4 Episode 12 and the episode name was “Crayons & Anger Lines” .

The Underground Wonder Bar is located in the River North District of Chicago, Illinois.

The owner is Lonie Walker, a musician.

Lonie Walker the Underground Wonder Bar owner on Bar Rescue

Lonie opened the bar in 1989 after she performed in bars all over Chicago.

Underground Wonder Bar was a popular place to go for live music.

She ran the bar successfully for over twenty years, so she definitely had a successful run.

The bar closed in 2011 and raised money to move to a new location.

Now the rent is higher, and they are losing $2,000.00 monthly.

They are doing the same amount of business, but her overhead costs are much higher, which is why she needs help from Jon Taffer and the Bar Rescue crew.

The staff is unmotivated, debt is mounting, and Lonie refuses to adapt to the new area and clientele.

The Underground Wonder Bar is a two-level establishment with over 3,000 square feet of space. 

The bartender says Lonie is the problem.

She would rather perform instead of run a bar.

Lonie celebrating

The menu is also all vegan food which Jon does think the customers would like.

Jon brings in bartender Russel Davis and Chef Pink for assistance.

Jon says Lonie can’t sing.

Jon then brings in John and Mimi from “The Local” to recon.

Jon asks why there are crayons on the bar. Lonie then asks Jon if he dyes his hair. 

It’s definitely a bit of a weird episode, right?

Jon meets with the staff of the Underground Wonder Bar and tells them how the recon went.

Lonie’s son forces her to take a step back, but she rejects Jons’s help.

Jon Taffer says the bar is too mismatched.

He has the staff paint the exterior of the bar white to represent a fresh new start. 

During the stress test, Jon does not want any music played, which does not make Lonnie too happy.

The bar could be successful if Jordan, Lonie’s son, managed it instead.

Lonie is no help during the stress test. Jon has Jordan close down the bar. 

The next morning Lonie meets with Jon and apologizes for her resistance.

Lonie signs documents agreeing to the name change and Jordan as the general manager. 

Russel shows the bar staff new drinks to make, such as a Clear Collins and Art and Money Mule.

Chef Pink also shows the kitchen staff new items that will be added to the menu.

Jon says Lonie is the most challenging owner he has ever worked with.

Needless to say, Jon is not impressed with her. 

As part of the renovations, Jon Taffer renamed the Underground Wonder Bar to the Clear Bar.

Clear Bar after Bar Rescue renovations

Everyone else is impressed except for Lonie, who isn’t buying into to Taffer’s changes.

During the relaunch, everyone is excited and happy.

Lonie has turned around and now fully trusts Jon (or so it seems! Spoiler alert).

Clear Bar Update - What Happened Next?

So, was the newly named Clear Bar in Chicago able to turn things around after the visit from Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue?

Well, six weeks later, the sales at Clear Bar are up by thirty percent! So it seems like something positive changed.

However, Lonnie took the new name sign down even though she promised Jon she would not.

She returned back to the old name of Underground Wonder Bar.

Is Clear Bar from Bar Rescue still open?

After changing back to the old name, the bar did manage to continue on for a couple of years. However, the Underground Wonder Bar closed down for good in September 2017, which was around two years after the Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.

Lonie Walking is still performing and actively posting on the Underground Wonder Bar Facebook page, though.

For example, here’s a July 2021 posting from her advertising a gig.

Lonie walker performing in 2021

She also promotes a lot of other musicians that appeared at Underground Wonder Bar, which is a nice thing to do.

In this Google Maps street view shot, you can see the bar’s branding at the time that Underground Wonder Bar closed.

While the sign has changed, the text on the windows is mostly the same from the Bar Rescue renovations, minus the Clear Bar branding from the middle window panel.

The old Clear Bar chicago location

For a time, the old Clear Bar Chicago location is listed for sale on various real estate listing sites.

The asking price was $2.5 million, so you’ll need to have some cash to throw around if you want to have your own Underground Wonder Bar.

However, when I’m updating this in late 2022, it seems like they’ve pulled off the for sale listing, so I’m not sure what’s happening with it.

Underground Wonder Bar reviews after Bar Rescue

At the time that the Underground Wonder Bar Chicago location closed, it had a 4 star rating on over 287 Yelp reviews.

Honestly, this is one of the better ratings that you’ll see for a bar on the show, so Lonie was clearly doing some things right.

People seem to consistently praise the quality of the music – that’s something I noticed a lot.

However, there’s not as much praise for the service and food/drinks, though some people also had good experiences there.

Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…

4 star Yelp review from March 2016:

There’s a $15 cover charge.

If you go non-Friday/non-Sat, you can check in and get a buy 1 get one free.

Drinks and food at the place was meh – even though some of them are quite pricey.

We had the guac that was just ok – it could be seasoned a bit better.

The music was really good though.

I’ve only been to 2-3 jazz places and by far the performers that night were miles more talented than the other ones I’ve seen.

That said, it’s a really small place and it was really loud – so you’ll be yelling at each other all night.

Crayons are also fun too.

1 star Yelp review from May 2015:

Way too loud.

Small space could be more enjoyable with a proper sound system that is not deafening.

Just realizing this was on Bar Rescue and they clearly did not take John Taffer’s advice.

We paid $15/person cover.

Not worth it to leave with a migraine…

Only giving one star because I couldn’t give a zero.

1 star Yelp review from August 2017:

We are fans of Bar Rescue and have been dying to stop in this place.

When we’ve been in the area before they’ve been closed, they open later in the evening.

We love live music so we were excited to stop in .

Tonight we got the opportunity to stop in.

$10 person cover charge to get in.

Ordered (2) Tito’s and water with lemon and lime.

They were the worst drinks we’ve ever had!!!!!!

We’ve been drinking Tito’s for years, whatever they put in the drink clearly was not Tito’s.

Wife said the bartender poured it out of a Tito’s bottle, absolutely no way it was Tito’s!!

Band….guitar players, drummers, trombone all were very good.

Not so concerned with the $20 cover charge per couple (its Chicago) but seriously the worst drinks ever (would love to know what Vodka they put in the Tito’s bottle), we will never be back.

Overall, Underground Wonder Bar survived for a couple of years after ditching Jon Taffer’s Clear Bar name.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I actually liked Lonie and she seems like a nice person, so I hope she’s doing well and is still enjoying performing.

If you want to see some other nearby Chicago Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for The Dugout / Press Box, Casual Tap, and The Abbey Pub.

Thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2023-02-07 05:32

48 thoughts on “Clear Bar Chicago – Bar Rescue Update – Underground Wonder Bar – Open or Closed?”

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

  1. First time that Jon wasn’t too hard towards the owner and staff members. This episode is hilarious,
    My favorite part is when the owner curse in sign language and at one scene when she asked Jon “do you dyed your hair” hahahahaha.

    • when you get old ladies you need to shorten up all that old gray hair flying around everywhere. She looks like a old hippy time forgot

  2. I cursed “Lonie” throughout the episode–absolutely the most hard-headed, clueless, self-obsessed, lacking class, vision of reality woman I’ve ever witnessed. Oh, and she’s also a LIAR–the thing I most despise in anyone. In short, she did not deserve to be rescued.

    Her son, on the other hand, was a talented, hard-working jewel of a person, and I hope he’s found success elsewhere, and his idiot of a mother stays out of the way.

        • Lonnie is an old hippie that did way too many drugs back in the day… and the reverting back to crayons syndrome are early signs of dementia…. so she doesn’t have much left in her cranium…

          • What I don’t understand, is at the beginning of this bar rescue episode, is they claim that Lonnie “successfully” ran this underground wonderbar at another location for 20 years. Successful for 20 years but she had NO savings and NO bank would touch her for a loan? How can that be called successful?

      • 1) The traditional term is “buffoon”. Not everyone is a cool dude fire hipster, okay?
        2) Lonie’s problem is that she is hopelessly lost in the past. I suspect we were witnessing the very first vestiges if clinical dementia. She doesn’t need a business to run, she needs an assisted-living facility.

    • She was extremely abrasive she was to old to be playing that weird hippie chick shtick and yes her lying after she signed that document was disgusting I guess Taffer didn’t prosecute her

      • By signing that agreement, it was a contract and she obviously avoided that contract and she should have to pay Bar Rescue back every penny that they spent on that bar. Her arrogant, stubborn attitude was extremely annoying and she deserved to lose everything. I felt really bad for her son and his child. Everything she did hurt them. She didn’t care about anybody but herself.

        • I’ve been looking to see if Bar Rescue sued them, due to the contract. She changed the name back after 6 weeks! If Bar Rescue didn’t follow through with it, then what’s the point of of having a LEGAL CONTRACT, in the first place?!

    • I absolutely agree. She is pure yucky and need Jesus! Her son was a great example of a leader and its unfortunate to see a parent act like the child.

  3. This lady was an absolute psycho!!! I wanted to knock some sense into her!! Too much LSD I guess…what an immature idiot! Good riddance!

  4. After watching the episode and being in business for 30 years in several different areas including the bar/ restaurant business this woman is a clear moron in running a business in that area!!!😭🤮🤪

  5. I’ve watched this episode three times…train wrecks are difficult to ignore. Actually one of the main reasons is she reminds me of a woman my wife has known for over 30 years. I know they’re not related, but the two of them could have been separated at birth.
    Judy’s assessment was spot on.

  6. Lonnie was so embarrassing. I was cringing the whole time she “performed”. If I had been one of her customers I would have got up and left. She was so childish and had zero talent. Maybe too many drugs. Her son seemed like a great guy. Hope he is doing well. Don’t care about the old hippie.

  7. Such a sad episode. I REALLY liked the look of CLEAR BAR! What a waste- I hope the son is currently successful in something.

    • Amen , I hope her son is doing well 2, He needs 2 put her In a home a good home . She’s old hippie . And needs 2 b looked after 4 her own good.

      Ar would have done great if she had listened 2 Taffer .🤗

  8. That woman deserved to fail, she was stuck in her ways. You can only tell someone so many times that the area requires a more sophisticated bar before you just walk away and Jon should have just walked away.

  9. Please give an update on how Jordan and his family are doing, hopefully very well somewhere and successful at it!

  10. John did a great job saving this bar……The owner was obviously brain impaired……the coloring paper and crayons on the tables were testimony to that……..She didn’t deserve to be saved…..especially after she lied and changed the name back……She got what she deserved.🤨

  11. The one thing that really angered me was her stating how much she loved her son!! That was a load of crap! IF she loved him she would have stepped away & let her son take full control! But her over blown ego wouldn’t allow it! No one wants a crazy old lady with over grown unkempt hair screeching out words with obviously no longer having any talent on any stage! The only wonder there was WHY her son let her ruin his ability to actually run what would have been a VERY successful bar! I hope he & his family r doing ok!

  12. Where to even start with this one. On one hand I really disliked Lonnie. She was annoying/loud/weird. But on the other hand…obviously Lonnie was going to hate the bar. It looked like every other bar FFS. It completely stripped any artistic sense it had (which TBH it wasn’t super artistic to begin with) and just made it look generic.

    I think Jon actually could have made the bar artistic. Like hipster/modern artistic…not like whatever Lonnie was doing. Or could have leaned into the hippy stuff…

    And the name? Oh man that just sucked. Obviously she was going to change it. I would have too. Stupid name.

  13. Lonnie is nucking futz for all her rudeness! She blew her mind on LSD 50 years ago now takes it out on Jon for trying to help her. A trillion good lucks to her son and not her.

  14. Wow, I am in the minority here. Yeah, she was a nutjob for thinking people liked that music but she still seemed like a decent person and I sort of found her humorous at times (and not just to laugh AT). The way this episode opened with her spreading her legs into the air and her laughing was brilliant LOL props to the editors on that one.

  15. I got to meet Lonnie when she owned the old place through a friend of mine, very nice hippie chick and I had fun. Sad to hear The Underground/Clear Bar is no more, (raising my arms to form a W) Underground WONDERBAR!!!

    • Yup. I used to go to the UWB at the old location. It was usually jam packed and hopping until 3am.

      She ran an extremely successful business for over two decades, which is more than probably any person on this thread can honestly say.

      I agree she should have updated things for the new location. Or better, she should have selected a new location that better suited her style.

      The suggestions given were formulaic, unispired, and dull, dull, dull. In contrast, her old bar was always tons of fun, and yes, the crayons made it better. They took an actual artist and instead of upgrading her materials and technique tried to tell her what to paint and how to paint it. There eas zero chance that was ever going to work. Then again, I’ll be surprised if any of the bar rescues actually succeed over time.


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