(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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for reading!
What did you think about the Clear Bar Bar Rescue episode? I'd love it if you shared your thoughts on the episode in the comments below!
You can also click the buttons below to share this post!
And don't forget to check out all of the other Bar Rescue updates.
Watch Bar Rescue Episodes at Amazon
Last updated: 2023-02-07 05:32