Frankie T’s Bar Rescue Update (Freaki Tiki) – Still Open in 2024?

Is Frankie T's still open today?

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

Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: April 10, 2016
The Bar's Original Name Was: Freaki Tiki
Frankie T's Address: 28778 Us-19 Clearwater, Florida 33761


Episode Recap

Freaki Tiki, later renamed to Frankie T’s, was a Clearwater, Florida bar that was featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.

Though the Frankie T’s Bar Rescue episode aired in April 2016, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that at the end of 2015.

It was Season 4 Episode 48 and the episode name was “Getting Freaki at the Tiki”.

In this episode, Jon Taffer and his crew head to the Freaki Tiki.

As you’d expect from the name, the bar is located in Florida – Clearwater, to be specific.

The main owner is Frank Theriault, who you can see in the picture below:

Frank Freaki Tiki owner

A friend of Frank’s, Shawn Trimpe invested in the bar for a 2.5% stake in 2008.

Together the men took out close to $500,000 worth of loans, which is a hefty chunk of change.

At first, that big investment seemed to have paid off.

At one point, Freaki Tiki was grossing an impressive $1 million per year.

But the good times are far behind the owners as the bar is now losing a massive $6,500 per month.

Talk about a major fall from grace!

Perhaps one reason for the decline was the lack of quality service and major plumbing issues.

Plumbing issues at a bar??

That’s not good haha.

When Jon Taffer dug into the bar, he discovered plenty of issues to explain how the bar’s fortunes have changed so much.

The worst part was when Jon discovered a used condom at the bar.

While Jon claimed it was a sign of neglect, the owners claimed they had a cleaning crew come through the bar five times per week.

After the initial success of the Freaki Tiki bar, Frank and Shawn hired their friend, Woody, as the bar’s manager. 

Woody Freaki Tiki owner

Soon, the owners began partying and getting rowdy at the bar.

They drink at the bar and comp meals and drinks for customers.

Talk about a classic Bar Rescue situation, right?

I mean, how often do we see the owners of failing bars drinking at the bar during Taffer’s recon?

Because they partied, the bar has been neglected—the drains from the bathroom overflow into the bar, which is super gross.

To try to save the Freaki Tiki, Jon Taffer calls on two of his experts – Mia Mastroianni (bar/drinks) and Ryan Scott (food)

As Jon informs the experts about the bar’s history, the footage shows the owners drinking alcohol and taking body shots off women.

Woody has emailed Jon begging for his help.

The footage also shows the cook in the kitchen improperly cleaning a plate. 

The spies for this episode are Tracy, Juciano, and their daughter Zoe, who you should recognize if you’re a fan of Bar Rescue.

Jon Taffer had previously rescued their bar Piratz Tavern on the show.

At the bar, the spies order a vodka cocktail.

Instead of using other ingredients for flavor, the drink is made with three different vodkas. 

After ordering their drink, the spies order burgers and a pizza.

The cook makes the burger with dirty, bare hands.

She is also seen using canned ingredients for the pizza.

Jon Taffer enters the bar to prevent the customers from eating their food. 

That is, he enters to SHUT IT DOWN!

The owners and Woody meet with Jon, who tells them about his spy’s service.

Woody tells Jon he has told the cook to use gloves, but when confronted about it, she is rude.

Frank gets Shawn and Woody to agree things aren’t working. 

Freaki Tiki co-owner Shawn

The next day the experts come to inspect the bar.

Robin, the cook, tells Jon she doesn’t use gloves because it is inconvenient.

Ryan shows Jon that the walk-in freezer has so much product that the bar is overspending on food.

Mia finds rusted beer bottles while inspecting the bar.

In the back of the bar, Mia discovers the aforementioned used condom. 

While the staff cleans, Ryan gives Robin gloves and a Turbo Chef.

He then teaches her how to make a cheese bread dish.

Outside the kitchen, the bar is trained on how how to make cocktails flavored with garnish.

Only two liquors will be used in the drinks.

Woody will be working the floor during the stress test.

The owners will work the bar while two other bartenders will work the other station. 

Orders come in fast for the cheese bread, and Ryan does not help Robin.

Frank and Shawn struggle at the bar with overpouring.

However, the bartenders at the other bar are doing well.

Woody is keeping customers happy by fixing the problems fast.

The test is shut down when Jon sees water from the bathroom flooding the bar. 

The following day Jon, Mia, and Ryan compliment the staff on their excellent work.

However, Jon Taffer and the experts yell at the owners.

Frank and Jon have a conversation where Frank confides in Jon about the meaning of the bar.

He built the bar in honor of his dad, who worked many years in the hospitality industry. 

During the renovation, the toilets and plumbing system are repaired.

As part of the bar rescue, Jon Taffer renamed Freaki Tiki to Frankie T’s and changed the concept to a more traditional sports bar.

The bar has been gifted two POS systems and a new lighting display.

The relaunch begins. The food zooms out from the kitchen with four-minute wait times.

Frankie steps up and supports his staff.

The bar has been given new arcade games, and the customers love them. 

So was the Freaki Tiki Bar Rescue episode a success?

Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Clearwater, Florida bar is still open in 2024.

Frankie T's Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Frankie T’s Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his crew left Clearwater Florida.

After the makeover, Freaki Tiki kept the new name of Frankie T’s. But, they went back to the original concept of a dive bar instead of the sporting bar concept.

As such, the full name of the bar was Frankie T’s Dive Bar.

So, they kept most of Jon’s name but not his concept.

Here’s an explanation about the name change from the Frankie T’s Yelp page:

We were formerly the Freaki Tiki Bar, Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue came in Dec/2015 and made us a “Sporting Bar”.

The concept didn’t take, so we are now Frankie T’s Dive Bar.

An upper scale “Dive Bar’ with nautical theme.

Great Food and awesome drink specials.

We are a full liquor bar, live music every Wed.

730 pm til 1030 pm and DJ spinning on Friday and Saturday nights.

Frankie T's Dive Bar description

Additionally, at the normal check-in with the Bar Rescue producers, we learned that sales at the bar were down over 25%.

However, the Frankie T’s owners don’t believe it had to do with them ditching Jon Taffer’s concept.

Instead, they blamed it on new competition in the form of new sports bars around them.

Frankie T’s Dive Bar reviews after Bar Rescue

Frankie T’s reviews were actually pretty good, even though it went back to the dive bar concept.

Overall, Frankie T’s had a 4 star rating on Yelp, which is pretty good.

However, more recent reviews for the bar (after the change) seemed to be more negative than those before.

Additionally, a lot of reviewers singled out that the bathrooms at the bar were especially bad.

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

4 star Yelp review from May 2016:

Best place to meet people in a friendly open atmosphere.

Easy to get to and a Brightly Lit, Safe Parking Lot.

Casual but nice with a friendly vibe, big place with a large games area (pool, darts, basketball).

Dance floor, and a massive bar…

Very easy to meet people in this place…

Some really good food selections too– try the cheesy bread sticks or pretzels.

I’ve heard people rave about the pizza.

If it sounds like I’m hitting bullet points, I am.

To me, these are all the things that make a great bar.

Almost forgot about the booze.

They pour real drinks here, bartenders very good.

Ask Frankie for a Grapefruit Drop shot– you’ll be glad you did.

NON-smoking except on the deck.

2 star Yelp review from August 2016:

I had been to Frankie T’s before they have been “rescued” and let me say that there is a difference between the two places but I wouldn’t say it was a good change.

Frankie Ts, formerly known as Freaki Tikis, used to be the spot.

They had special nights where it was a neon glow night, there was always specials going on to get more bang for your buck, the bartenders always seemed to want to be there and the DJ played music for everyone to dance to from all different genres.

Frankie Ts looks good from the outside.

Put up a new neon sign that makes you think of glitz and glamour.

The patio pretty much looked the same.

Go inside and it’s pretty much exactly the same.

Where were the updates?

The bar stools were new and the enclosed DJ booth was new.

Besides that they had the same dart, pool tables, and hooping machines as before.

The bar was exactly the same.

The inside paintings whether in the bathroom or around the place were exactly the same.

A big difference is now its so mundane.

Bartenders don’t seem to like where they work and regulars just seem to tolerate the place.

Thought the update would bring the fun back to this place.

2 star Yelp review from February 2016:

This bar recently got a visit from John Taffer and will be on Bar Rescue the show.

I had very high hopes for this place!

I visited here on February 5th with my boyfriend.

I was really enjoying myself, the bartender, Matt, was very helpful and gave us quick service.

My boyfriend and I were enjoying ourselves but we were maybe for a hour, not very long.

The inside is smoke free, which is nice.

Cons:

I went to the restroom which wasn’t sparkling but not bad either.

When I flushed the toilet I noticed it didn’t flush, so I held down the handle and it started to swirl but then I heard the other two or three toilets start to bubble.

That tells me they have major plumbing issues that they’re ignoring.

I payed on my phone to be able to play TouchTunes that they offer.

After one song, while choosing my next song…

They put on the radio..

Why offer TouchTunes if you opt to play the radio on a Friday night??!!

Overall, I probably won’t be back..

Or I will wait to see if after this renovation they last for a year then maybe I’ll try again.

Is Frankie T’s still open after Bar Rescue?

Frankie T’s managed to keep its door open until February 2017, when it celebrated its “final curtain”.

At that point, it was still using Jon Taffer’s Frankie T’s name, but operating as a dive bar again.

The last opening day was February 18th, 2017, which is less than a year after the episode aired on TV (though more than a year after the actual visit from Jon Taffer).

You can find the Facebook post announcing Frankie T’s closure right here.

So at this point, I can officially say that The Freaki Tiki / Frankie T’s Dive Bar is closed for good.

While Jon’s success rate is fairly good, this one was not a successful rescue.

Yelp reviews were actually fairly solid, so I’m not 100% sure what went wrong to cause it to close its doors for good.

As of 2024, the old Frankie T’s Clearwater, FL location is occupied by a kava bar named Kava Culture Kava Bar.

You can see the new tenant in this picture of the old Frankie T’s Clearwater FL location from Google Maps street view:

Old Frankie T's Clearwater Florida location

Final thoughts on Frankie T’s

Overall, Frankie T’s is not a Bar Rescue success story.

The owners quickly ditched Taffer’s concept (but kept the name, for the most part).

Unsurprisingly, the bar closed around a year after the episode aired on TV.

As of 2024, the old location is now occupied by a Kava bar.

That wraps up my Frankie T’s Bar Rescue update.

If you want to see updates for some other nearby Bar Rescue Florida episodes, you can check out my updates for The Bridge Lounge in Tarpon Springs, Das Brauhaus / New England’s Ale House in Palm Harbor, and Cayman Cove / Dale 1891 in Tampa.

And if you want to share your thoughts on the bar or the episode, you can do so using the comments section below.

As always – thanks for reading!


More Information

https://www.yelp.com/biz/frankie-ts-dive-bar-clearwater



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Last updated: 2024-02-17 05:24

13 thoughts on “Frankie T’s Bar Rescue Update (Freaki Tiki) – Still Open in 2024?”

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

  1. I never understood how an outdoor bar concept could work. Especially one in Florida. With all the storms and such equipment really takes a beating. There’s going to be mold problems all the time. Like that hotel that had a bar on the beach. You’d be rebuilding that thing constantly. I think it would be better to just have a patio out there and the bar and equipment inside.

    Reply
    • This bar was enclosed so they didn’t have the same problems as the bar on the beach. When Frankie T’s changed the concept back that’s when it went bad. They ketp the name but not the concept. So Taffer is not the blame the owners are to blame. They most likely went back to business as usual after he left. That killed them the first time & the this time too!

      Reply
      • I totally agree with you, John Taffer put on the right track but they went back to the same practices that put them in trouble! They don’t deserve to own any business!! They neglected the concept that John established

        Reply
  2. I love every episode of Bar Rescue. I like how Jon ultimately convinces the owners to take responsibilities as owners of places I like to go. There have been several places that Jon has turned around. He is fabulously the real deal. If a place he rescued fails it is not because of him.

    Reply
  3. Seems like the owner wanted a miracle but Jon Taffer can only provide tools and knowledge! I do NOT put ANY blame on Jon Taffer or his experts. Remember always: SOLUTIONS NOT EXCUSES!!!

    Reply
  4. Did Scientology having overtaken the majority of downtown Clearwater have any part to cause the bar to close? Just curious….

    Reply
  5. I always wonder how these bar/ restaurants pass health inspections? I never really see the health inspections rating but after years in the hospitality industry those bar rescue bars would have been closed way before Jon Taffer got there.

    Reply
  6. Florida might be Americas dick if you look at the map, in actuality, it’s the armpit. Nay, Bungholez So much great beauty and beaches, so much stanky trash walkin around. I know, not real nice to say, if I told you some of my Florida experiences, you would fully agree.

    Reply
    • Then stay in BLM Minnesota or Rust belt Ohio or Homeless town San Fran or whatever shithole you think is better.

      Most of the “Florida man” behaviors down here come from the influx of tourists, the transplants fleeing their dump, and the immigrants mixed with the confluence of Sunshine laws.

      Reply
      • 100% agree! Everyone from shitty run blue states go to Florida because of the no income tax and lax restrictions on businesses. Florida is a great example of freedom unlike NYC and San Francisco.

        Reply
  7. Taffer: ““We snaked that bathroom over 200 ft so I am convinced that problem is over”.

    Apparently not so much. The idiot owners didn’t get it that there was a major problem with the wastewater plumbing even though they had to snake it continuously?
    If you’re snaking all the time it means there’s a major problem in the system.

    A review by a customer above my comment specifically mentions the toilets all reacted when this customer tried to flush. This is after the rescue.

    I’m not an expert but I did a reno on my house & simple questions to the plumber gave me enough understanding to be able to theorize the lines to the septic system or the system itself requires major repairs.
    The pipes could be substandard. The angle of the pipes downward or a mismatched septic system could be the problem. Or the system isn’t being pumped out enough.

    But just snaking a bad system won’t ever solve anything. You can’t mess around with wastewater systems. It’s as important to health as using gloves in the kitchen & preventing cross-contamination.

    I don’t know how you can have a food and drink establishment without having decent bathrooms. It’s just beyond me. It’s the Hospitality industry. Clean bar, clean kitchen, clean tables & glassware, clean bathrooms. Duh.

    On bar rescue they’re always talking about food ‘for women’, drinks for women, decor for women. Why? Because they bring in the men yada yada.

    Ask ANY woman if clean classy bathrooms are at all important in a public food & drink establishment.
    It’s HUGE. Women are by instinct, externally sensitive to cleanliness, anthropologists suggest it’s because of reproduction & child care from millennia ago. Female’s sense of smell is better than males.

    Regardless of the reason, women are grossed out by poor bathroom facilities. So are men btw but many ‘guy guys’ seem to take skuzzy bar bathrooms as a given.

    It sounds like they didn’t care to followup on their plumbing problems, another indication that they shouldn’t be in the hospitality industry in the first place.

    Reply

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