(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: February 26, 2023
The Bar's Original Name Was: JJ's Sports Bar
JJ's Sports Cafe Address: 7955 Webster St Highland, CA 92346
JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill, later renamed to JJ’s Sports Cafe, was a Highland, California bar that was featured on the third set of Season 8 of Bar Rescue.
Though the JJ’s Sports Bar Bar Rescue episode aired in February 2023, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place a few months before that around ~September/October 2022.
It was Season 8 Episode 24 and the episode name was “JJ’s Sports Bust”.
Jon Taffer is back in the first episode of Bar Rescue Season 9!
In this episode, Jon Taffer heads to JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill in Highland California.
Highland is a city in San Bernardino County and part of Greater Los Angeles.
JJ’s Sports Bar is a family-owned bar.
It’s owned by Joe Swidan and his wife Jackie.
They invested $350,000 into the bar, so they have a lot riding on its success.
Joe was tired of working for other people so he thought running his own bar would be a step up.
The couple also hope that their two kids will be able to take over the business in the future.
The sons are already working at the business…
Leo Swidan is the JJ’s Sports Bar manager and Luchi Swidan works as a server.
At first, JJ’s Sports Bar was a big success.
It shows a lot of UFC and NFL games and was doing great business.
It also uses a Hooters-like approach with how the female staff are dressed, which I’m sure didn’t hurt with the male clientele that usually goes to sports bars.
However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the bar had to temporarily close.
After reopening, it couldn’t recapture the same success that it had before.
At the time of Jon Taffer’s visit, the bar is losing a whopping $33,000 per month, which is a big reason why they asked for the JJ’s Sports Bar Bar Rescue visit to happen.
To make matters even worse, Joe and Jackie are in $175,000 of debt.
They even needed to refinance their house to pay for the bar, which means they could lose the house if the bar goes under.
At the time of Taffer’s visit, JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill only has enough money to stay open for around another two months.
As a result of the bar’s difficulties, Joe has started drinking heavily.
In the episode, Joe admits to Jon Taffer that Joe has had four doubles plus a shot just that day, which seems like a lot.
Beyond the money issues, this drinking is also causing issues with his and Jackie’s relationship.
Side note – the WWE stars also had some fun posting about their appearance in the background of Jon Taffer’s rant in the promo video.
Mercedes said “I just wanted a shot 🍺 and 🍟 😭”.
Then, Naomi responded to her tweet and said “😂🤭 I just wanted my cheese quesadilla”.
Pretty funny, haha.
After the stress test and training, Jon Taffer and his team got to working on renovating the JJ’s Sports Bar Highland CA location.
As part of the rescue, Jon Taffer also slightly rebranded the bar.
He changed it from JJ’S Sports Bar and Grill to JJ’s Sports Cafe.
It’s not a big change, but it does move it a bit away from the traditional “sports bar” stereotype.
So was the JJ’s Sports Cafe Bar Rescue visit a long-term success?
Keep reading to learn what happened next and if JJ’s Sports Cafe is still open in 2024.
JJ's Sports Cafe Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the JJ’s Sports Bar Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Highland, CA.
After the episode, I’m not sure whether JJ’s is using the original JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill name or the new JJ’s Sports Cafe name that Jon Taffer gave it.
On Instagram, they are using the JJ’s Sports Cafe name for the Instagram page.
However, the Facebook page still has JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill and most of their promo images still say JJ’s Sports Bar.
For example, in this Taco Tuesday promo post from February 15 2023 (11 days before the episode aired on TV), you can see that they’re still using the JJ’s Sports Bar logo on the image, rather than JJ’s Sports Cafe.
A friendly commenter on Facebook had this to say about the bar’s name:
The back side of the restaurant that sits off Boulder/Orange has the old sign.
The front facing part of the business facing west has the new name.
I will update this when I know more about whether they’re using the JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill name or JJ’s Sports Cafe.
JJ’s Sports Bar did not share any Bar Rescue-related posts on social media, so I’m not sure how Joe and Jackie felt about the visit from Jon Taffer.
Fun fact – that same commenter also shared a little behind-the-scenes of what it was like at the JJ’s Sports Cafe Bar Rescue relaunch.
It seems like people who attended weren’t allowed to take photos of anything inside.
He also shares some thoughts on the new food and drinks.
Beyond that, another little interesting piece of information I found is that JJ’s Sports Bar had some issues with its liquor license in 2021.
It seems like JJ’s Sports Bar got in trouble with the government for allegedly not properly following the Covid-19 restrictions.
The bar’s liquor license was suspended for 15 days – however, the suspension was stayed as long as they didn’t have any issues over the next year.
You can see the appeals document here that details it.
JJ’s Sports Bar reviews after Jon Taffer
Next, let’s take a look at some JJ’s Sports Bar reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer.
Overall, JJ’s Sports Bar has a 3.5 star rating on Yelp and a 4.3 star rating on Google, which includes reviews from both before and after Jon’s visit.
In general, the recent reviews seem to be positive.
However, the reviews from people who specifically mention the Bar Rescue renovation aren’t very positive, so I’m not sure what’s happening there.
Maybe the people who know it was on Bar Rescue had higher expectations because they know about Jon Taffer’s reputation?
I’m not sure…
Here’s a sampling of a few reviews that mention Bar Rescue:
2 star Yelp review from November 2022:
Came to watch football.
Took a while to get menu.
Ordered burgers and it took a long time for food.
French fries were cold.
Hamburger buns were cold and fell apart.
Thought it would be better after Bar Rescue.
Only good thing was the atmosphere.
Lots of Steelers fans!
2 star Yelp review from September 2022″
2 stars but really 1.5 and mostly because they weren’t rude.
If your thinking about coming to check it out; it wasn’t worth it.
We came in with high expectations, thought after bar rescue came through it would be great. The service was far below expectations.
They didn’t great anyone who walks in, not even looks up or acknowledges them.
So we sat ourself, took them 10-15 mins to bring us a menu.
Took them 15 more minutes to come back to take our drink order and we were ready to order at that point.
Didn’t even write it down turned to leave and turned back around and was like wait so you wanted this and what did you want again?
After OVER an hour of just waiting we were ready to leave, finished our drinks, and the one guy actually working was like they food will be right out, finally got our food which wasn’t bad.
That’s when they finally were like sorry we have a new system we’re trying to learn it we just remodel like sorry for all of this.
But at that point it was too late and it took us having to say something first.
They weren’t rude here and the prices weren’t bad just extremely inattentive just not good service
Just won’t be back here and won’t recommend this place at all.
However, as I mentioned, the general reviews are actually more positive, so the fact that the three reviews above are two stars isn’t totally representative.
Here are a couple of more positive reviews to give you a fuller picture…
5 star Yelp review from February 2023:
Randomly stopped in to get dinner after Yaamavah had a power outage.
Layla our server was amazing, made great suggestions, especially the wings!
I got traditional, all flats, extra crispy with teriyaki sauce.
Sooo good, I’ll definitely be back!
I ordered a salad and requested extra croutons.
They were out so Gio the Chef made me fresh croutons!
Talk about amazing service and exceeded my expectations!
Thank you for making Valentine’s dinner so special!
5 star Yelp review from November 2022:
Great DJ, environment and love the drinks.
Specially the fishbowl drinks.
Good vibe, nice dance floor and great servers and bartenders.
4 star Google review from December 2022:
Everything was great just a bit lonely for a Sunday football.
The wings really excellent in flavor and cooked throughly.
Would most definitely come back.
Is JJ’s Sports Bar still open after Bar Rescue?
As of 2023, JJ’s Sports Bar is still open and serving customers in Highland, CA.
I’m not 100% sure whether they will use the new JJ’s Sports Cafe name or not, but I will update this post when I know more.
Here’s what the JJ’s Sports Bar Highland CA location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view…
You can see it on the far side of the strip mall – I can’t get a picture from inside the parking lot.
This picture hasn’t been updated since February 2022, though, so it doesn’t show any changes from Bar Rescue.
Hopefully Google will update the picture soon so that we can get a recent image.
Final thoughts on JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill
Overall, JJ’s Sports Bar / JJ’s Sports Cafe seems to be doing fine so far.
It’s still early, though, so I’m not sure how this one will play out over time.
A commenter said that the JJ’s Sports Cafe Highland CA location has signs using both “JJ’s Sports Cafe” and “JJ’s Sports Bar”, so I’m not sure which name they will use going forward.
If anything changes, and when I know more about the name, I will update this post.
So far, JJ’s Sports Bar and Grill was the only Bar Rescue Highland CA episode.
However, you can find a number of other nearby California episodes.
If you’re interested in seeing them, you can check out my updates for The Victory Bar / Celebrities in Yucaipa, Racks Billiards / Angel’s Sports Bar in Corona, The Palace / Menara in Upland, and Stein Haus / Friar Tucks in Pomona.
Later in Season 8, Jon Taffer also rescued Layla’s Pizza Pub / Papa Joe’s in Moreno Valley.
Or, you can check out my full list of all 49+ Bar Rescue visits in California as of 2024.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-04-30 06:05