(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 3 | View All Season 3 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: July 21, 2013
The Bar's Original Name Was: Handlebar Cafe
Handlebar and Grill Address: 210 S Broad St Pawcatuck, CT 06379
Handlebar Cafe, later slightly renamed to Handlebar and Grill, was a Pawcatuck, Connecticut bar that was featured on Season 3 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Handlebar Cafe Bar Rescue episode aired in July 2013, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 3 Episode 13 and the episode name was “Two Flew Over the Handlebars”.
Handlebar Cafe is located in Pawcatuck, Connecticut.
Pawcatuck is a small village with a population under 6,000 people. It’s located right near the ocean.
If you live in the northeast, one landmark is that its very near to the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Betsy, the owner, bought the bar in 2001. This means she’s owned it for well over a decade at the time of the Handlebar Cafe Bar Rescue episode.
She has a great big personality that helped her gain early success.
Betsy hired her nephew Dean and sister Stephanie to help out at the bar.
Stephanie and Betsy engage in horseplay that often turns physical at the bar.
Their behavior is driving customers away from the bar.
Betsy didn’t listen to any customer feedback regarding food.
With no bar food, patrons began visiting other bars in the area.
Betsy is close-minded and refuses to change the tacky decor.
She is three months from closing the declining bar.
Mixologist Russell Davis and Chef Brian Duffy come in to help Jon rescue the bar.
The exterior looks as if it is a store.
After Jon tells his experts about Betsy, they see she is already drunk.
Stephanie is drunk on a pool table, and the bartender, JP, is lifting weights.
Jon arranged for sixty bikers to pack the bar to see how things go.
Betsy is overwhelmed by the patrons and feels inconvenienced.
Meanwhile, the bar staff is overpouring, which means the bar is wasting money on drinks.
Stephanie is drunk behind the bar and offers peanuts to the customers since they have no food.
Stephanie and Betsy are rude to the customers, and Stephanie gives a biker the middle finger.
The sisters begin fighting behind the bar.
It’s just generally a disaster.
The experts and Jon’s head into the bar, and Betsy says she is not yet drunk enough.
Stephanie says she knows her sister is struggling, but she doesn’t care.
The kitchen has grease everywhere.
Stephanie is given a breathalyzer test. The test reveals she is more than double the limit.
The next day the sisters are sober and want to say sorry to Jon.
The bar has already been deep cleaned.
Betsy says she is over the top to attract customers, but she now realizes it is not working.
Betsy breaks down and says she is still grieving her husband’s death.
Stephanie is also suffering and is feeding off her sister’s emotions.
Chef Brian teaches Stephanie how to make a simple hotdog and burger.
She leaves in the middle of training to throw up. Artie replaces her and excels.
Russell trains the staff about hospitality and pouring drinks. They struggle to learn before the stress test.
The cocktails are sour during the stress test and must be dumped into a bucket.
One side of the bar is being ignored.
When the food does come out of the kitchen, it is not complete.
The bar has wasted more than six liters of drinks, which it can’t afford to do if it’s going to be a success.
They thank Stephanie for her efforts and close the bar for the night.
The next day Jon sets Betsy and Stephanie up with a counselor.
After that, Jon shows them a greaseless fryer he has bought them.
The staff is brought back in to see the bar.
There is a giant handlebar on top of the building and a huge mural on the side of the bar.
The liquor bottles are at the center of the display behind the bar.
Jon Taffer also added a slight name change, changing it from Handlebar Cafe to Handlebar and Grill.
The customers love the new environment, food, and drinks.
The night begins slow. But eventually, things pick up, and the night is a success.
Handlebar and Grill Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Handlebar and Grill Bar Rescue visit, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer left Pawcatuck, CT.
Things started off well. Six weeks after the visit, the bar reported that its sales were up 30%.
However, it seems like they didn’t really like Jon Taffer’s changes.
First off, they ditched the Handlebar and Grill name and went back to Handlebar Cafe.
I thought the Handlebar and Grill name was clever, so I was sad to see that.
They also got rid of the new drinks from the episode and went back to the old decorations and aesthetic.
Not all of this was the owners disliking the changes, though.
For example, the big handlebars over the entrance and the mural on the side of the bar had to be removed.
However, this was the result of issues with the local town, rather than the owners’ choices.
The changes ran into issues with zoning and the towns signage regulations.
This article from The Day details what happened.
Is Handlebar and Grill from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2022, Handlebar and Grill is still open and serving customers in Pawcatuck, CT under the original Handlebar Cafe name. Reviews are generally good as it has a 4 star rating on most review platforms.
The bar also regularly posts updates on its Facebook page, which is linked below.
Overall, while Handlebar Cafe didn’t keep a lot of Jon Taffer’s changes, the Handlebar Cafe Bar Rescue episode still seems like a success since the bar has managed to stay open for almost a decade after the show, with no signs of slowing down.
What did you think about the Handlebar and Grill Bar Rescue episode? I'd love it if you shared your thoughts on the episode in the comments below!
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Last updated: 2022-02-11 06:35