(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 1 | View All Season 1 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: July 24, 2011
The Bar's Original Name Was: Downey's Irish Pub
Downey's Irish Pub Address: 526 S Front St Philadelphia, PA 19147
Downey’s Irish Pub was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania bar that was featured on Season 1 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Downey’s Bar Rescue episode aired in July 2011, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 1 Episode 2 and the episode name was “Downey’s and Out”. This makes it only the second bar to ever appear on Bar Rescue, after Angel’s Sports Pub.
Downey’s Irish Pub is located in Philadelphia, PA on historic Front St.
Domenico Centofanti bought the bar in 2002.
He purchased the bar from the original founder, Jack Downey.
At the time of his purchase, Domenico Centofanti was actually the chef at Downey’s.
Downey’s is a popular pub in the city and has been visited by famous people.
At first, the bar saw success, but after the tragic death of Domenic’s brother, the restaurant began to fail.
The story was really sad here – Domenico’s brother shot their mother and then ended his own life in 2005.
Now the bar is in severe debt. Domenico Centofanti filed for bankruptcy in 2010, a year before the Downey’s Bar Rescue episode.
He really needs help from Jon Taffer if he is to be able to turn the bar around.
Keith Raimondi comes in to help Jon.
He says the bar is disgusting and looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years.
The pub only offers four Irish whiskeys, and Keith doesn’t think there is enough whiskey at an Irish pub.
Keith also orders a pasta dish that arrives disgustingly.
The customers at the next table refuse to pay for their disgusting oysters.
Jon’s spy gets curious and checks out the bathrooms, which are gross.
Jon heads into the bar to talk to Domenico about the state of the bar.
They look through the kitchen together, and Jon notices a bucket filled with dirty dishes on the floor.
There is also a dead mouse in the kitchen (in a related note, Gordon Ramsay also found a mouse in the Blackberry’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares).
Overall, Domenico is not taking Jon’s criticism well.
Jon brings in a health inspector while Domenico defends the state of the bar.
When Jon meets with the staff, they tell him they are embarrassed to tell others where they work.
Keith Raimondi comes in to assist Jon with the bar, and Chef Brian Duffy helps the kitchen staff.
Keith shows the bar staff the difference between Irish whiskey and other types of whiskey.
Chef Duffy tries the signature dishes and says they need to be worked on.
Downey’s opens for a soft opening that evening.
The bar staff becomes overwhelmed at the number of customers they have to serve—the servers and upselling the new Irish dishes added to the menu.
Food is coming out of the kitchen uncooked and raw.
Domenico is doing nothing to address these issues.
He is on the phone a lot, so Chef Duffy takes it away from him.
The next day, Jon meets with Domenico to find out what the root of the issue was.
Domenico confides in Jon about the loss of his brother and how hard it has been on him.
Jon has Domenico throw the old chairs out in the road.
Construction then begins on the bar.
The next evening Jon and the staff meet to see the renovations.
Unlike a lot of other bars that appear on Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer kept the name of the bar – it’s still Downey’s, which makes sense because of the bar’s rich history.
Domenico is speechless from the changes.
The menus are all new, and the walk-in fridge is fixed.
They also received a brand new stove in the kitchen.
It is now time for a relaunch.
The customers love the new whiskey drinks.
The health inspector approves.
So was the Downeys Bar Rescue episode a long-term success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2023 and beyond.
Downey's Irish Pub Update - What Happened Next?
So – was the Downey’s Bar Rescue episode a success? Let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer’s visit.
At first, things seemed to be doing well.
Customers were spending more money and the bar was just generally in a better financial situation.
However, the good times would not last…
Is Downey’s from Bar Rescue still open?
Downey’s Irish Pub closed for good in 2016, which is around five years after the Downey’s Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.
The bar had already been listed for sale in mid-2015, so the writing was on the wall in terms of the bar’s closure.
Downey’s Irish Pub closed because Downey’s lost its liquor license in November 2015, which obviously put a lot of stress on the bar.
Then, the situation got worse in 2016 because of $80,712.43 in unpaid taxes and interest that had accrued since 2013.
The Downey’s location on Front St was purchased for $1.15 million at a sheriff’s sale in 2017.
In July 2021, the old Downey’s Philadelphia location was scheduled to be demolished.
The developer plans to redevelop the site with a mixed-user structure.
There will be commercial on the bottom and 18 residential units above it, including a roof deck for residents.
You can see a rendering of the new property in this article from the Philly Voice.
In a Google Maps Street View shot from August 2022, you can see that the Downey’s property is still in the process of being demolished:
Below, I’ve embedded the Google Maps street view for the location, in case anything changes.
It should automatically show the most recent picture from Google Maps.
According to a post on the r/barrescue subreddit from January 2023, the property is now demolished.
You can see a picture in the Reddit thread.
Overall, it’s clear that the Downey’s Bar Rescue episode was not a success and Downey’s Irish Pub will not be reappearing anywhere.
Downey’s reviews after Bar Rescue
At the time that Downey’s Irish Pub closed, it had just a 2 star rating on its Yelp page on over 165 reviews.
Obviously, that’s not very good.
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
1 star Yelp review from April 2013:
I thought this place got a “Bar Rescue”?
Total rat’s nest.
Food is gross.
Drinks are weak.
Customer service doesn’t exist.
There is nothing Irish about this restaurant.
I go to Ireland for work regularly and can get a true pie for cheaper.
1 star Yelp review from July 2015:
Wow three words for this place:
Dark, Dirty, Dump.
Going upstairs to use rest room was a challenge, no lights on stairs.
Bar rescue needs to come back and give this bar a bar funeral.
Would give this place no stars but not an option.
Ladies room is hard to find and very out of way and a great place for a woman to be attacked.
2 star Yelp review from July 2015 (this person doesn’t seem to know that there was already a Downey’s Bar Rescue visit):
The food was just okay.
My elbows stuck to the table and my dishes were not clean.
This place needs to be on bar rescue.
We walked in here and had to walk around to find someone to seat us.
The bartender completely ignored the fact that we walked in and looked confused.
We got a 20% off coupon for our NEXT meal.
We won’t be coming back to use it.
1 star Yelp review from August 2013:
One of the worst dining experiences one can imagine.
Unfortunately we didn’t realize that this bar had already been on Bar Rescue and quite literally were joking about its need to be.
Poor service (slow and couldn’t even keep the water glasses full).
Poor quality food.
Save yourself the time, trouble, frustration and expense and stay away.
Places like this shouldn’t be rescued.
They should be allowed to fail so that a competent operator can take their place.
Overall, with so many negative reviews, it’s really no surprise that Downey’s Irish Pub closed.
All four Philadelphia area Bar Rescue bars have closed, so Jon Taffer does not have a good record in the City of Brotherly Love.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-03-11 06:52