(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 3 | View All Season 3 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: February 17, 2013
The Bar's Original Name Was: Headhunters
Metal and Lace Address: 720 Red River St Austin, TX 78701
Headhunters, later renamed Metal and Lace, was an Austin, Texas bar featured on Season 3 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Headhunters Bar Rescue episode aired in February 2013, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 3 Episode 2 and the episode name was “Rock N Roaches”.
Headhunters is located in Austin, TX. The Headhunters owner is Steve Ricci, an engineer before opening the very weird Headhunters bar.
Side note – does anyone else think that Steve looks like Willem Defoe?
Seriously, Headhunters is a weird bar – I think you can agree (and Jon Taffer definitely agrees).
When they first opened up, the bar was making close to $70,000 dollars a month and really stood out because of how unique it is.
Austin, Texas is a bit of a quirky place, so I think a bar like Headhunters would definitely stand out.
However, things definitely started going down hill for the bar, which is why the Headhunters Bar Rescue episode exists.
At the time of the episode, the bar is filthy. They also offer extreme fetish shows.
Jon does the recon with his wife Nicole, chef Joe Brooke, and service expert Jessie Barnes.
The exterior looks worn out, and customers visit other bars in the area.
Jon and Nicole enter the bar and leave the experts in the SUV to watch the undercover footage.
The smell of the bar is terrible, and the dancers are all dressed inappropriately.
When Jon asks about the stinky smell, he is informed that it is cat pee that comes from the bar’s resident cat.
Umm…that’s really gross. I don’t want to be smelling cat pee when I’m trying to enjoy a night out.
The bartender goes to pour their drink, and Nicole notices a roach.
The bartender tries to hide it, but it is too late.
Nicole is highly distraught about being served a drink with a cockroach in it, and she gets up to leave.
The owner, Steve, is defensive and says that his bar isn’t the only one to have roaches.
Steve isn’t taking this seriously and is making jokes.
The next day the staff meets with Jon.
The situation is worse than they thought, and Jon shows the staff video of the bugs scampering away from the exterminators.
Jon has everyone clean the bar and pour out all of the bottles.
Steve doesn’t pay his staff; the bartenders are only paid in tips. This practice angers Jon (and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal, too).
Steve says he offered them payroll, but they denied it; the team says that is not true, and Jon makes the legit employees.
Jon promises to help the bar for the staff and not for Steve.
He promises to help them find new work if they decide to leave.
They choose to stay and help Steve out.
Jessie teaches the staff how to serve guests quickly. Joe teaches them the basics of making cocktails.
Steve tells the team he will do better.
That night is the stress test. Steve is asked to help, but he is nowhere to be found.
Everyone is getting overwhelmed, and Steve is no help at all.
Steve is admonished for leaving the staff during the stress test.
The following morning Joe trains the staff on new cocktails that will attract younger customers.
Jessie helps with confidence and customer service.
The bar is renovated and Jon renamed the bar from Headhunters to Metal and Lace, a steampunk-themed bar that will help the bar escape the old fetish theme.
The bar has a new POS system and cool and stylish uniforms that fit the bar’s theme.
The staff readies for the relaunch. The dancers are dressed better and are dancing on the stage. The live band produces no feedback.
Steve is greeting customers instead of helping the staff like he is supposed to.
So was the Headhunters Bar Rescue episode a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and how the bar is doing in 2022 and beyond.
Metal and Lace Update - What Happened Next?
So – was the Metal and Lace / Headhunters Bar Rescue visit a success? Let’s put on some heavy metal and dig into it…
Six weeks later and staff members Jewel and Chloe were named the managers.
Customers seem to like the new changes, but Steve, unsurprisingly, started sliding back to old habits after Jon Taffer left.
While I don’t think they completely ditched Jon Taffer’s Metal and Lace name, most people still referred to it as Headhunters (more on that below).
Reviews for the bar were generally quite negative, as it had just a 1.5 star rating on its Yelp page.
However, a lot of angry Bar Rescue viewers wrote negative reviews without actually visiting the property (this type of review bombing can happen when an owner is especially combative – e.g. the O Face Bar Rescue episode).
I went through the various fake reviews to try to find some authentic reviews from real patrons. E.g. people who actually live in Austin and have been to the bar.
Here’s a sampling of authentic (or as authentic as I can find) reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
3 star Yelp review from April 2014:
I have been to some great shows here..
Smokin punk gigs.. epic Metal fests
Keep in mind this location is not for everyone, and your probably better off ordering something that comes to you sealed, avoiding the ice or the pop gun…
The staff is great and fun to be around..
So, I think the main thing here is…its a tight venue.. and when the band gets cranked up…..and the crowd is right.. this place can produce some wonderful rock and roll moments…
Give it a shot if your Genre is playing..
2 star Yelp review from April 2013:
Been coming here for years back when it was Headhunters and the remodel has not changed the place much. Sadly the space is so small you get claustrophobic while in there.
This is a good place to pop into after a show at Stubb’s for a quick piss and a cold beer.
Have seen some decent relatively unknown bands here and the new soundsystem is a HUGE improvement and very long overdue.
Bar staff is almost always friendly and quick to serve me and my friends.
There is an additional bar on the patio out back and on occasion a 3rd bar upstairs is open as well. This makes for almost no wait to get beers, very nice.
One can often find DJs playing dubstep out on the back patio but Plush usually has better DJs IMHO and like this place is also no cover on most nights.
Back patio has a couch type thing, a few tables downstairs, and at one time had an HDTV out there where you could watch football etc.
You can also smoke cigarettes out back while enjoying your beer, although sometimes cigs are not the only thing being smoked out there :-/
…[review continues in screenshot]
4 star Yelp review from February 2013:
Ok folks, take a breath and relax. All the people who’ve never been here and are posting reviews based on a TV show need to understand something very important.. I know this may be hard to believe, but, sit down and brace yourself: reality TV is FAKE.
I haven’t seen the episode, but I know from my first hand experience what I’ve seen. And I can tell you, I’ve drank A LOT of booze here and never seen a bug in it.
For someone to see something like this on their very first visit, and it happened to be recorded? Yeah, that’s staged.
The place has never been anything I’d call CLEAN, but it’s a good place.
Headhunters is the best representation of the stark difference between 6th street and Red River, and for those of us that love RR, the change to the place is abhorrent. Thankfully, it’s going back to the way it was.
…[review continues in screenshot]
Is Metal and Lace from Bar Rescue still open?
Metal and Lace closed at the end of April 2014, which is a little over a year after the Metal and Lace Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.
At that time, it was still mainly going by Headhunters.
For example, when the venue hosted musical acts during the 2013 SXSW festival, it still advertised its name as Headhunters.
You can see a band performing at Headhunters during SXSW 2013 in this YouTube video (there are lots of other YouTube videos, too):
Most local Austin folks also still referred to the bar as Headhunters, as the Metal and Lace name really never caught on.
So – why did the Headhunters bar close?
Headhunters closed because the building that Headhunters / Metal and Lace was in was purchased by a new owner. After that, Steve struggled to keep the lease for Metal and Lace.
At that time, Steve was looking for other locations to reopen Metal and Lace.
In total, he was looking at nine different possible locations to reopen the bar.
However, that never happened and Metal and Lace remains closed to this day.
As of 2022, the original Metal and Lace Austin location seems to be empty.
In a March 2022 Google Street view image, you can see an “Available” sign on the frontage of the building:
There’s a post from WCRE, a real estate company, that lists the old Headhunters Austin Texas location as available.
It seems like the owner is planning to renovate the place and do a full remodel of the interior and exterior.
The plan is to lease it out as office space. You can see some renderings on the property’s Loopnet listing.
If anything changes, I will edit our Metal and Lace update to reflect the new business.
Headhunters Jon Taffer Back to the Bar Episode in Season 4
After Headhunters closed, Steve, in keeping with habits, allegedly (don’t sue me!) didn’t pay his staff.
This was covered in Back to the Bar on Season 4, where Jon Taffer talks with “delusional owners”.
You can see a clip of this in the YouTube video below, where some former Headhunters staff were trying to get Steve to pay them.
It’s pretty sad! I hope the staff were able to get back on their feet.
If you want to see another other Austin, Texas Bar Rescue episode, you can check out my The Brixton / Rocket Room 6 update.
The Morgue / Kiva Lounge episode also took place near Austin, though not in the city.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2022-10-26 06:56