(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 6 | View All Season 6 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 17, 2019
The Bar's Original Name Was: RJ's Replay
Frozen Cactus Address: 5769 E Speedway Blvd Tucson, AZ 85712
RJ’s Replay, later renamed Frozen Cactus, was a Tucson, Arizona bar that was featured on Season 6 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Frozen Cactus Bar Rescue episode aired in March 2019, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place almost a year before that in May 2018.
It was Season 6 Episode 27 and the episode name was “Don’t Cry for Me Jon Taffer”.
RJ’s Replay is located in Tucson, AZ.
If you’re not familiar with Tucson, it’s the second largest city in Arizona, with a population of about half a million people.
In 2011 the bar was bought by its current owner, Richard McClelland.
That means that he’s been the owner for about 7 years at the time of the RJ’s Replay Bar Rescue episode.
Richard has a love of craft beer and has always wanted to open a craft beer sports bar.
He borrowed a hefty $700,000 from his parents to open RJ’s Replay, so he’s got a lot riding on the success of the bar.
At first, the bar saw success, but it soon began to fail due to Richard’s mismanagement of the bar.
Rich and his wife Kristi started to experience troubles. The staff tends to counsel the couple.
Chef Jason Santos and mixologist Ashley Clark join Jon Taffer to help the bar.
Richard is laughing and joking with customers on the hidden camera, and his wife Kristi is drinking.
There’s also a bartender named Klaryssa, a night manager Carlos and daytime manager Katelyn.
Richard is buying shots for the bar, and it is clear the staff has been drinking with the customers. You can see this in the promo video below:
In the kitchen, cook Roberto cross contaminates food.
Jon asks the owners of a previous Arizona bar that has been rescued, Chilleen’s on 17, to recon the bar.
If you want to see what happened in that episode, you can check out our Chilleen’s on 17 update.
When the spies arrive, they are given a beer menu.
One of the spies tried an ale recommended by the bar staff, and the other ordered a dirty martini.
The beer is served warm, and the martini isn’t dirty enough. The menu is also overwhelming.
A drunk customer begins to bother the spies. When the bar staff refuses to serve the customer, they are overruled by the owner.
Richard berates Klaryssa, the bartender outside, over the incident till she is in tears. Not cool!
Jon comes out of the SUV to talk to Klarissa and admonishes Jon for not protecting his staff members and customers.
Richard breaks down in tears and admits that he is in a lot of debt and no money is coming in.
Jon calls a staff meeting. Kristi admits it was never her goal to own the bar and considers herself a bartender.
Richard admits that he doesn’t have enough money to pay them on Friday.
Jon calls out Kristi and Richard for giving out free drinks to their customers, especially when the bar is already losing so much money.
The staff is made to clean the bar.
The next day Jon meets Richard’s parents Norma and Bill – the ones who loaned him the $700,000 to open RJ’s Replay.
Bill says he doesn’t understand why the bar is failing.
While that meeting is happening, Ashley trains the staff on a Prickly Pear cocktail.
Klarissa is nervous, but she does okay. During the stress test, there is a line out the door.
Klarissa is doing well, but the other bar staff is not. Richard is walking around doing nothing.
Nearly thirty minutes into the stress test, no food has left the kitchen.
Jon calls Richard over, who begins to cry.
The stress test was a failure because Richard didn’t work hard enough.
Jon says they need cheaper drinks and menu items.
The bar has been remodeled and now has a removable wall. As part of the changes, Jon Taffer changes the name from RJ’s Replay to The Frozen Cactus.
There are new pool tables and new television screens.
There are three new POS machines to help the staff work more effectively.
On relaunch night, the staff does well. Richard is confident. Klarissa makes multiple drinks at once.
So was the RJ’s Replay Bar Rescue visit a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2023.
Frozen Cactus Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Frozen Cactus Bar Rescue visit, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his crew left Tucson.
Six weeks after the visit, the bar sales at the Frozen Cactus were up 30% and things seemed to be generally much better.
Unlike a lot of other owners from Bar Rescue, they kept the Frozen Cactus name that Jon gave them as well the other changes.
Is the Frozen Cactus from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2023, Frozen Cactus is still open and serving customers in Tucson, Arizona.
The bar is very active on Facebook, regularly posting updates and running special events, especially for major sporting events.
Frozen Cactus also seems to have live music occasionally – here’s a Facebook post promoting a band:
A web search and Google Maps street view confirm that the bar is still using Jon Taffer’s Frozen Cactus name.
Here’s what the Frozen Cactus Tucson AZ location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view…
You can clearly see the Frozen Cactus sign (though it does still include RJ’s on the sign):
Overall, reviews for the bar are good but not great.
It has a 4.7 star rating on Facebook, 4.0 stars on Google Reviews, but just 3 stars on Yelp.
In general, the positive reviews praise the atmosphere, especially for watching sports. People also like the variety of beer and the specialty cocktails.
The main negative reviews seem to deal with slow and inattentive service.
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
4 star review from April 2019:
I came here because of Bar Rescue!
I love the layout of the bar!
The service was good.
The waitress did everything right.
What really impressed me was the owner coming to our table to ask how we were doing.
We told him we were bar rescue fans.
He told us a TON about his BR experience! We loved it!
The ONLY suggestion I have is SERVE COLD BEER!!!
The beer was good, but it would be phenomenal if you guys would freeze your beer glasses!
I will come back!!!!
3 star review from August 2018:
Wasnt everything it was hyped up to be.
Just a regular bar with a nice theme.
Bartender was not very knowledgeable.
I asked for several types of mixed drinks and she either she didn’t have the ingredients or didn’t know how to make anything i asked for.
I don’t know what this place was like before Bar Rescue but it definetly needs an upgrade either in education or a whole new bartender.
Barstools are a bit uncomfortable but that’s not too big of a deal.
The energy and the flow was definitely unbalanced.
5 star review from June 2018:
OK… so RJ’s Replays been re-branded as the Frozen Cactus after being the subject of a Bar Rescue by none other than Jon Taffer.
Jon may know bars but he does not know Tucson.
A re-branded Tex Mex menu has a lot of competition in the Mexican food mecca that is Tucson. Just sayin…
That said, I have been a number of times since the makeover and there may have been changes to the bar and the food, but what I notice most is the owner, Richard, and his dedication to his businees.
When it was RJ’s he was always there, making his way around and talking to people.
He still does that, but you can see the change has motivated him to give his all to this business that he has built.
He is always there fixing something or making sure his customers are taken care of. I applaud his dedication to his business.
I do like some of the menu changes and mourn the loss of one of the signature items, their chicken tenders/boneless wings. 9 out of 10 people (and that’s really all the people I know, me being the 10th) have said that’s the item they miss.
So Richard, if you’re reading, please keep this in mind.
The Sizzling Sirloin Torta and Cubana Burger , with chorizo mixed into the ground beef have been me delving into the re-vamped menu.
I will say… thumbs up.
If you want to learn more about the bar or see the Frozen Cactus menu, you can check out the official Frozen Cactus website.
Overall, Frozen Cactus has definitely earned a spot on Jon Taffer’s success list for now.
If anything changes, we’ll be sure to update this page.
If you want to see some other nearby Arizona Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for County Line / Billy Bar in Tucson, The Original Hideout in Tucson, and The Gallopin’ Goose in Coolidge.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-03 07:22
2 thoughts on “Frozen Cactus Bar Rescue Update (RJ’s Replay) – Still Open in 2023?”
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I love this one! Hope they continue to be successful!!
Nothing for nothing yelp for the most part seems to have more negative comments compared to most other places to rate and post.