(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: August 8, 2021
The Bar's Original Name Was: The County Line Lounge and Grille
The Billy Bar Address: 1145 W Prince Rd Tucson, AZ 85705
The County Line Lounge and Grille, later renamed to the Billy Bar, was a Tucson, Arizona bar that was featured on Season 8 of Bar Rescue.
Though the County Line Bar Rescue episode aired in August 2021, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place a few months before that in June 2021.
It was Season 8 Episode 11 and the episode name was “Remembering Billy”.
The County Line Lounge and Grille, owned by Denise and Billy, is in Tucson, AZ.
If you’re not familiar with Arizona geography, Tucson is in the southern part of the state, not too far from the border with Mexico.
It’s the second largest city in Arizona and also home to the massive University of Arizona campus.
Denise and Billy purchased the bar in 2018 as it was always Billy’s dream to own one.
Paul, their good friend, invested money into the bar for 49% ownership.
Unfortunately, three months after The County Line opened, Billy passed away.
Denise kept the bar running to honor her late husband, but in 2020 the pandemic disrupted her plans.
Paul is worried about his investment but still wants to support Denise, who drinks at the bar often.
The County Line is now in debt, and customers have stopped patronizing the bar.
Put all of these reasons together, and it’s clear why Jon Taffer decided to take on the County Line Bar Rescue episode.
Jon Taffer and expert mixologist Phil Wills watch the bar from the command center.
Sadly, Paul’s wife passed away when Billy did, as did a bartender, Melissa’s husband.
Zik cooks in the kitchen, and Jessica is a bartender.
Two radio hosts spy on the bar for Jon, Porkchop, and Shannon.
A local skin board expert, Austin, also spies on the bar.
Denise greets the spies as they enter the bar and offers to take free shots with them.
The bartenders are pouring liquor without measuring it, which is a cardinal sin in Bar Rescue.
Think of all the lost sales!
Phil walks into the bar and asks Melissa and Jessica to each make him a margarita.
Melissa doesn’t like this and gives him a snide remark.
The drinks are terrible. What else do you expect from Bar Rescue?
The spies ordered burgers, and Jon enters when he sees how gross they looked.
Jon Taffer meets with Denise and tells her she needs to stop drinking at the bar and take a more proactive role for the bar to succeed.
The next day, Denise is breathalyzed by Jon, and the breathalyzer reads 0%.
Paul is shocked when Jon reveals how much money the bartenders are losing the bar by overpouring.
He would have made his investment back had it not been for this.
To get ready for the stress test, Phil Wills and Chef Anthony Lamas are introduced.
The bartenders are taught how to make a basic, fresh margarita.
Anthony trains Zik, Denise, and Paul on a spicy burger recipe in the kitchen.
For the stress test, Jon Taffer will place balloons on the dartboard.
Every time a mistake is made, he will pop a balloon.
Jon loves coming up with elaborate stress test rules, and I love that he does it haha.
The first drink is made wrong because the bartender forgot the ice.
Denise is reminded to make more than one drink at a time.
Jessica gets overwhelmed and leaves, so Jon follows her outside to encourage her.
Melissa gives Phil an attitude, and Zik can’t keep up in the kitchen.
Eventually, the stress test is shut down and it’s clear that the staff need some further practice.
Training continues the next day, with Phil teaching the bartenders how to make simple cocktails.
Chef Anthony shows the cooks Tuscan recipes that pair well with margaritas.
That night the employees gather to see the renovations.
Everyone is proud of Denise because she has stayed sober.
As part of the changes, Jon Taffer renamed the bar from The County Line Lounge to The Billy Bar: An Arizona Bar & Grill.
The bar is now dedicated to Billy’s memory, and a wall inside is decorated with his pictures.
Harbor Touch has gifted the bar POS systems, and there are air purification systems for safety.
The staff is pleased with the changes.
The bartenders stay calm for the relaunch, and Zik makes excellent and tasty meals in the kitchen.
Jon Taffer gives Denise and Paul a plaque before he leaves.
The plaque commemorates his time spent at their bar.
So was the County Line Bar Rescue renovation a success?
Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and how the bar is doing in 2023.
The Billy Bar Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Billy Bar Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Tucson, AZ.
First off, Paul and Denise seem to have enjoyed their Bar Rescue experience (for the most part).
In an interview with a local publication, Paul said the following:
I feel the transformation was successful.
It’s still a work in progress, and I think we can do so much more.
I’m really excited about how the future comes.
But I’m also kinda nervous to see how they treated us on television.
You can see the full news segment at the KVOA News Tucson YouTube page – here’s the video embed.
The quote above from Paul is literally the only quote from the video, though, so don’t expect anything new.
Is The Billy Bar from Bar Rescue still open?
While the Billy Bar stayed open for a few years using Jon’s concept, the Billy Bar eventually closed in April 2023.
This means that it closed a little under two years after the Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.
Why did the Billy Bar close?
Well, it seems like Paul sold the bar to a new owner and the new owner didn’t want to continue with the Billy Bar concept.
In announcing the closure, the bar made a post on Facebook on April 27 2023:
👋🏻❤️Hello My Peeps!!
It is with bittersweet emotion that this will be the last post for The Billy Bar…
After a long process we are thrilled to announce Paul has sold the bar!!
Currently, the bar is closed, (as of 4/26/23)
Our dart league teams should get in touch with eagle vending to discuss next steps!!
We want to thank all of you who have made the Billy Bar one of the chillest nicest dive bars on the west side!
We especially want to send a warm hug of gratitude to all of our regulars who were the life blood of our little bar!!
You will be missed!
But we will see all of you around, life changes and then goes on…
I know that my life, and I hope all of your lives have been enriched by the friends fun and laughter we have all had during our time together!
We’ll see you all on the flip side my peeps 💋💋
Stay safe, stay amazing…
We will miss you all!! ❤️
Here’s a screenshot of the post in case it gets deleted:
Prior to its closure, the bar was active on its Facebook page and posted regular events, including karaoke on Friday nights and lots of drink specials.
Beyond that, the bar was also home to the Tucson Dart League.
There seem to have been a few events connected with the dart league, with general league play during the week and a dart tournament every Saturday.
You can see the darts league referenced in the post about the closure.
To see what the bar looked like after Bar Rescue, here’s a Google Maps street view shot of the Billy Bar Tucson location:
When I know what new tenant moves into the location, I will update this space.
Billy Bar Reviews after Bar Rescue’
At the time of its closure, the bar only had four reviews on its Yelp page, so it’s hard to get any information from that.
It did have 115 reviews on Google Reviews, though, where it averaged a solid 4.3 star rating.
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the Billy Bar Bar Rescue changes occurred.
4 star review from February 2022:
Very clean Bar.
Staff is very friendly and fun, and so are the customers.
Nice Dart boards.
The only thing missing is a pool table or two, then I would be sure to frequent this establishment with my friends.
5 star review from September 2021:
We love the weekend bartender and Friday karaoke is amazingly fun!
From the first time we met Lisa, she was friendly, warm and welcoming!
Although she’s extremely efficient with the bar and all customers, she does it with a lot of laughter and fun! And, HUGS!!
All of the employee’s, and the owner, get along and that makes the bar that much more fun!
The service is great, the food is delicious, the bar is cozy and clean, and choices are unending in drinks and food and personalization of each!
This reviewer really likes exclamation points! Lol.
5 star review from September 2021:
The Billy Bar has a very warm yet exciting and calm atmosphere to it.
The crowd was that of mixed generations with everybody seeming to get along very well.
I went this past Sunday night which I think was open mic night for comedians ( not too sure though ) and I had a great time.
There was this wonderful lady working the bar who is very attentive, fun yet very professional .
3 star review from October 2022;
Had been here once (before Bar Rescue) and had a blast.
Stopped by on a Sunday recently around 9:15pm and the doors were locked.
Very disappointing that they closed 45 minutes earlier than their posted hours
I’ve seen this mentioned in a few reviews, where The Billy Bar seems to randomly close even though it’s supposed to be open according to its hours of business.
3 star review from August 2021:
Loved it prior to recent changes.
Now, decor too stuffy uncomfortable hard chairs!
Trying to be fancy in a Dive Bar on Prince rd.
A Part of the jokingly called White Ghetto.
No fancy People go to the Bar,renamed * Billy Bar* Better if it was renamed BILLY’S .
Bar Rescue did this redo, & it was a huge mistake by Owner!
1 star review from August 2021:
Stay away from this place!!!
The service was horrible Lisa the waitress was very rude and careless.
If you’re going because of Bar Rescue don’t waste your time.
No drink menu, no kitchen, and couldn’t name any speciality cocktails.
Apparently we were a bother to the staff.
Jon Taffer would be very disappointed!
Overall, the County Line Bar Rescue seemed like a success and The Billy Bar seemed to be doing well.
While there were a few complaints about the changes from Jon Taffer, most people seemed very happy with the new bar.
However, the bar would later close in April 2023 because Paul sold it to someone.
When I know what happens to the old Billy Bar Tucson AZ location, I will update this post.
If you want to see some other Arizona Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out these updates:
- True Grit Tavern / The Roost update
- Havana Cabana / Rocky Point Cantina update
- The Original Hideout update
- Gallopin’ Goose update
- George and Dragon update
- Frozen Cactus / RJ’s Replay update
- Brick and Barley / Baseline Sports Bar update
And if you want to talk about the episode, you can use the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-06-06 06:27