(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: October 4, 2015
The Bar's Original Name Was: Caribe Nightclub
La Luz Ultra Lounge Address: 5080 Bonita Rd Ste H Bonita, CA 91902
Caribe Nightclub, later renamed La Luz Ultra Lounge, was a San Diego, California bar that was featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.
Though the La Luz Bar Rescue episode aired in October 2015, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 4 Episode 32 and the episode name was “Til Debt Do Us Part”.
Caribe Nightclub is located in San Diego, CA.
More specifically, it’s in Bonita, CA, which is a bit southeast of the city center of San Diego (and not that close to the beach).
Juan Pablo Martinez is the owner.
He moved to America from the Dominican Republic.
In 2007 Juan was given complete control of the bar, which means that he’s been running it for around 8 years at the time of the Caribe Nightclub Bar Rescue episode.
Sadly, in 2012, his mom died, and he became very depressed.
Juan Pablo began drinking at the bar, and things are now so bad his wife is considering leaving him.
Edith, Juan Pablo’s wife, meets with Jon.
She informs him that she was a med student in the Dominican Republic but gave up on her dream to cook in the bar for her husband.
They are months behind on rent. Juan Pablo is so busy he neglects his family.
Two local celebs, Ashley and Mario, head into the nightclub to recon the bar for Jon Taffer.
The bar is outdated since it has not been updated in eight years.
When they order the food, they are told there is no food menu.
Instead, they order margaritas that taste like a premade mix.
Victor is the name of the bartender.
While sitting at the bar, they all see JP taking shots and flirting with women even though his wife is ready for a divorce.
They have seen enough, and Jon Taffer enters the bar.
Edith, the owner’s wife, gives him divorce papers and the wedding band and leaves the bar.
JP chases after her because he is concerned about the drink she dumped on his shirt.
Jon’s experts Mix Mastioanni and Chef Anthony Lamas help further recon the bar.
The staff is told that Jon is helping the bar for them and Edith but not for JP.
JP tells Jon the bar is clean, but that is not true.
The kitchen is also disgusting, and the chef can’t cook there.
After the staff cleaned the bar, Mia taught them how to make a proper mojito.
In the kitchen, Anthony Lamas trains the kitchen on making Latin dishes.
Jon and JP sit down to calculate the finances and find out the bar will need to make $1,600 dollars an hour to pay off the debt in full, which is a tough hill to climb.
Edith comes back, and JP begs for forgiveness.
Customers are let in for the stress test.
JP is supportive as a leader, but the drinks are coming out too slow. B
y the end of the stress test, they have made $1,600, but that’s far from an ordinary night.
Jon sits with Edith and JP, and Edith accepts her wedding band back from JP.
While the couple is getting closer again, Mia teaches the bar staff new Latin-themed drinks while Anthony shows the kitchen a new plantain dish.
Jon Taffer and his team also work on renovating the bar.
As part of the changes, Jon renamed the bar from Caribe Nightclub to La Luz Ultra Lounge.
The exterior is more welcoming and the interior got a lot of improvements too.
There are now three workstations at the bar and two new POS systems.
The customers are then let in for the relaunch.
The bar starts busy, and they have to pull Miro from the kitchen to help at the bar.
Things begin to pick up, and the relaunch is a success.
So was the Caribe Bar Rescue episode a long-term success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2023 and beyond.
La Luz Ultra Lounge Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the La Luz Bar Rescue visit, let’s talk about what happened to this nightclub after Jon Taffer and his crew left San Diego.
Things started off well…
Six weeks later and both food and drink sales are up. Alcohol sales were up by 25% and the food sales were up by more than 50%.
That obviously led to a lot more revenue for the bar and those sale increases have help them start paying back the rent that they owed.
Edith and JP are also working together more effectively.
So would it last?
Is La Luz Ultra Lounge from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2023, La Luz Ultra Lounge is still open and serving customers in San Diego, CA.
However, reviews for the bar aren’t great as it has just a 3 star rating on Yelp and a 3.8 star rating on Google Reviews.
I’ll share some examples of reviews below.
Here’s what the La Luz San Diego location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
The bar is active on Facebook, regularly posting about events and specials.
They have lots of live music (as you’d expect), as well as other standard bar events.
Here’s an example of a latin fusion night:
There have also been issues with the crowd, which leads to some aggressive tactics like frisking customers before they enter the bar.
This kind of makes sense, though, because there was a shooting outside La Luz Ultralounge in November 2021.
The argument started inside the club, but they thankfully had the courtesy to wait to start shooting until reaching the parking lot.
Two people were injured in the shooting, but no one died thankfully.
Here’s a video that shows the aftermath of the shooting at La Luz Ultra Lounge.
Don’t worry, there’s nothing graphic – it just shows the police outside La Luz, along with some evidence markers:
Overall, La Luz Ultra Lounge is still open and functioning, so it’s a Bar Rescue success story in that respect.
However, it doesn’t sound like the type of place I would personally want to attend.
If you’re in San Diego, CA and you want to check it out, you can learn more at the official La Luz Ultralounge website.
La Luz Ultra Lounge reviews after Bar Rescue
As I mentioned, La Luz reviews haven’t been great after Bar Rescue, though I have seen worse for bars that Jon Taffer visited.
Here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
3 star review from September 2022:
Food is really good if you like cuban/Puerto aRico/ Dominican food.
Drinks are a little weak.
Music super good in both dance floor.
However I noticed that where the band is going to play the tables around they put a sign of RESERVED when it is not, waiter informed you that you have to expend certain amount of money to be able to get a table.
We were there this past Saturday very disappointed regarding that matter.
We got a table after one of my friend told to the manager.
5 star review from August 2022:
This place was such a good time!
The food was bomb , so authentic !
I’m Puerto Rican , raised on all the traditional cuisine & this place had some of the best Puerto Rican food I’ve had since living in southern Cali.
The vibe was pretty fun & we have great service in our VIP section, although VIP was a pretty small corner they made up for it with the service! Will definitely be back.
1 star review from March 2016:
I recently (3/26/2016) visited La Luz Ultra Lounge in Bonita, CA.
It was my first time there and got excited when I found out Bar Rescue got their hands in it.
I got in as part of a VIP group and we were all enjoying ourselves and spent way over $500 total as a group.
I ordered a bucket of Corona ($30-36), a Carne Asada Nachos ($10), and 1 shot of Patron ($8).
Even after tax, how does that total out to $75 and change?
I asked for an itemized receipt a few times and was practically given the run around.
Our party ended up leaving at around 1:30a.
To top it off I find out the next day (3/27) that they charged my card $90 and change.
I was even more enraged when I found out that at 3:59a (they close at 3a) after we left, they attempted to process my card for payment for another $19 and change but it got declined.
How are businesses like this allowed to stay open.
I can only imagine how many other people have been ripped off by them.
Aside for going there to clear this matter, I will never return there again or suggest it to anyone else.
Overall, it seems that La Luz Ultra Lounge is generally doing well, even though it’s had a few issues.
If you’re in the San Diego area, swing by the La Luz Bonita lounge to see what’s happening!
If you want to see some other nearby San Diego Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for Silver Dollar in Chula Vista, Gaslamp Social / Jolt’n Joes in San Diego, and The Study Lounge / Myerz Pourhouse in El Cajon.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-05 08:10