(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: November 15, 2015
The Bar's Original Name Was: The Hooch Bar & Grill
Proving Ground Bar & Grill Address: 5157 S Telegraph Rd Dearborn Heights, Michigan 48125
The Hooch Bar and Grill, later renamed to Proving Ground Bar and Grill, was a Dearborn Heights, Michigan bar that was featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Proving Ground Bar Rescue episode aired in November 2015, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 4 Episode 38 and the episode name was “Vulgar Vixens”.
Originally named The Hooch Bar & Grill, Jon Taffer visited this bar back in 2015.
It’s located in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, which is an area of Detroit.
The Hooch Bar was owned by Chandra and Ron Philips.
Chandra was, to put it lightly, an extremely unlikable person.
She was foul-mouthed, insulted her wait staff, and was just generally horrible to be around.
Perhaps that’s why she was, at the time the show aired, losing a massive $4,500 per month from her struggling bar.
However, when Chandra bought the bar all the way back in 2003, it actually started off pretty well.
At its peak, the bar was earning $20,000 per month.
However, the 2008 financial crisis hit Detroit especially hard, which led to the bar’s decline.
Even worse than the bar’s monthly losses, Ron and Chandra are in over $350,000 of debt, which is a tough hole to climb out of.
The Hooch Bar and Grill has also picked up a bit of a bad reputation, as many people believe it’s a lingerie bar.
It’s not, though. That Bar Rescue distinction belongs to another Detroit Bar Rescue episode – the Chix on Dix / Power Strip bar from Season 4.
In order to even offer his help, Jon Taffer required that Chandra start showing some respect to her staff, something which had been sorely lacking up until now.
Once he got that out of the way, Jon Taffer commenced with rescuing the bar.
To help him, he also brought in Lisamarie Joyce and Keith Breedlove as the experts for the episode.
The rescue has its share of difficulties.
Most notably, the bartenders break a glass into the ice bin during the stress test, which means they have to get rid of all the ice.
Customers also find mold in their drinks, which obviously is pretty disgusting.
The mold could’ve also come from the ice bin.
Put these issues together, and Jon Taffer has to shut down the stress test.
Eventually, he seems to be able to get through to Chandra after an off-site talk.
During the rescue process, Jon Taffer renamed The Hooch Bar & Grill to Proving Ground Bar & Grill, which Chandra seemed to have accepted.
So – was Jon able to successfully save The Hooch?
Keep reading the next section for exactly what happened and whether Proving Ground is still open in 2023.
Proving Ground Bar & Grill Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Proving Ground Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his crew left Detroit Michigan.
First, let’s talk about the reviews.
While the bar kept the name of Proving Ground Bar and Grill, Yelp reviews were not that much better after the Hooch Jon Taffer visit.
They did increase slightly, but not enough to save the struggling bar over the long term.
Overall, The Hooch Yelp page had just an overall 2 star review.
Proving Ground had its own separate Yelp page with an overall 3 star rating, so there was some improvement.
Some visitors remarked positively – here are a few examples:
5 star Yelp review from November 2015:
Sometimes you need to appreciate the good with the bad.
Everything about the service is wonderful.
Some things that the bar had no control over such as the paint and the tables that bar rescue provided are to be looked over until they are able to make changes.
I will write a review for bar rescue for their upgrades I am not happy with.
The service is wonderful, the drinks are strong, the food is out of this world.
Here’s another positive review:
We stepped in and instantly felt a comfortable neighborhood bar vibe.
Lots of TV’s all over to keep on top of your favorite sports teams.
The staff was very polite, even the bartenders on the other end of the bar (whose section we didnt sit in) said ” Hi”.
However, there were also some negative or neutral reviews.
Here’s an example of a neutral review – a 3 star rating on Yelp:
Makeover looks nice since Bar Rescue.
There has never been more than 3-5 people when I’ve gone though.
Often only the bartender :/ decent drink prices.
And then here’s an example of a much more negative review:
I was just passing through the area on a motorcycle trip.
I decided to opt for plain old, purely American burger.
I specifically asked for no mustard.
After about an hour, I was brought a bottle of mustard.
No bun, burger, or cheese.
What the heck?
Is the Proving Ground bar still open?
The Proving Ground closed on May 23rd, 2016, which Chandra announced in a Facebook post.
This was under a year after the Hooch Bar Rescue episode, though a bit more than that after the actual visit from Jon Taffer.
When announcing that Proving Ground closed, Chandra didn’t seem too happy with her Bar Rescue experience:
the bar is now closed…
The bar later sold for ~$225,000 on May 26th, 2016.
So it appears that we I officially mark Chandra’s foul-mouthed Hooch Bar / Proving Ground Bar as closed.
You can see the Hooch / Proving Ground sale post on Archive.org. You can see the description in this screenshot:
Interestingly, the description notes that Bar Rescue spent around $100,000 on the remodel.
As always, the bar owners don’t need to pay for the renovations, so Chandra and co. got all of that for free.
As of 2023, the old Proving Ground Detroit location seems to be occupied by a Citgo gas station, so there won’t be any more beer sold.
I assume they demolished the old building and rebuilt it with the Citgo station.
Here’s a look at the old Hooch / Proving ground location in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
As I mentioned earlier, Chandra did not seem to have a good experience on Bar Rescue.
According to her, there wasn’t any money to keep the bar going and Bar Rescue was the “Worst mistake in my whole life” (she posted this on Facebook).
If you want to see some other Michigan Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my posts for The Arena in Ann Arbor, Chix on Dix / Power Strip in Detroit, and Back Beat Piano Bar / Jazz Katz in Southfield.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-27 06:51