(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 3 | View All Season 3 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: August 11, 2013
The Bar's Original Name Was: Characters Quarters
MoonRunners Saloon Address: 1506 US Hwy 70 W Garner, NC 27529
Characters, later renamed MoonRunners Saloon, was a Garner, North Carolina bar that was featured on Season 3 of Bar Rescue.
Though the MoonRunners Bar Rescue episode aired in August 2013, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that in early 2013.
It was Season 3 Episode 16 and the episode name was “Characters Assassination” .
In this episode, Jon Taffer visits Characters Quarters in Garner, North Carolina.
Garner is located just a little bit South of Raleigh, which is the home of North Carolina State University.
Guy is the owner, and he moved to the state in 2010.
He has hired his sister Alex to work at the bar.
At first, they were trendy, but the theme started bringing in more families and children.
Guy spent around $350,000 to get things up and running, but the bar was bringing in $80,000 per month so it was worth the money.
Now, things have pivoted and the bar is losing $3,000 per month, which is why he’s asking for help from Jon in the Characters Quarters Bar Rescue episode.
Guy takes his anger out on his staff and his sister. He has fired his sister three times, but his parents won’t allow it.
Chef Brian Duffy and expert mixologist Russell Davis help Jon rescue the bar.
The exterior does not make it clear that this is a bar, which is problem #1.
Jon watches footage of Guy yelling at his sister until she cries. It’s not a good situation.
To get a hands-on look, Jon sends in locals as spies.
They order Tom Collins and a whiskey sour.
The food is not southern style. Alex is not sure what sides come with what dishes. The dish they order is sweeter than it should be.
Jon reminds them they are in the south, not New York.
He tells Guy he is bullying his sister when training her.
Jon tells the siblings they have to work on their relationship.
Jon comes in the next day to meet with the staff.
Guy is very defensive when the staff begins to complain.
The team wears costumes, and Jon wants to get rid of them, but they need them for the stress test.
There are just generally problems all around…
The freezer in the kitchen has exposed, unsafe to cook meats.
The menu has 55 items, but they only make money off of 5, so the extra 50 menu items just add complexity and make it difficult to keep ingredients in stock.
Chef Brian trains the staff on how to make a proper burger.
Russell trains Alex and the bartenders how to make three different drinks simultaneously.
The stress test is ready to begin, and Guy lets the customers in the bar.
The kitchen is busy, and they try their best to keep up.
Guy makes Alex cry, so he has to give her a pep talk.
Things go down hill and the bar can’t handle it. The stress test fails and it’s clear that Characters Quarters needs a lot of work.
Whitney is fired after the test because she was too slow and the costumes are gone the next day.
Russell trains the staff on making a moonshine cocktail and a drink with an atomizer.
Chef Brian teaches the staff southern comfort food like mac and cheese.
The team gathers thirty-six hours later to see the renovations.
In addition to a brand new look, Jon renames the bar from Characters Quarters to MoonRunners Saloon.
The bar is influenced by moonshine and prohibition, which is a big shift from the old theme.
Inside looks classy with warm, rustic features. There are pictures of arrested bootleggers on the walls.
There is also a moonshine distillery. The staff wears new denim uniforms instead of the old costumes.
They take time to set up, and Guy lets the customers in for the relaunch.
The customers love that the restaurant is now a Southern-themed bar.
Alex is doing well and is showing confidence.
The kitchen keeps up with all of the work, and Alex has been easier on his sister.
That wraps up our Characters Bar Rescue episode recap – let’s talk about what happened next!
MoonRunners Saloon Update - What Happened Next?
So – was the MoonRunners Saloon Bar Rescue episode a success? Let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer left Garner, North Carolina.
Thing started off very strong. One month later the sales are almost up by 50%, which makes a huge dent in the bar’s losses.
Overall, Guy and his family are feeling good about the future of the bar.
MoonRunners Back to the Bar Episode
Jon Taffer revisited MoonRunners around 1.5 years after his original visit in a Back to the Bar episode.
If you want a taste of this visit, I found a 3-minute clip on YouTube that shows some interviews with the owner and how MoonRunners Saloon is doing (and expanding).
It also includes another recon of the original location by some local food bloggers.
Is MoonRunners Saloon from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2022, MoonRunners Saloon is still open and serving customers in Garner, North Carolina. Reviews for the bar are quite good, as it has a 4 star rating on Yelp and 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor.
If you want to learn more or see the MoonRunners Saloon menu, you can check out the official MoonRunners website.
MoonRunners Saloon is doing more than just surviving, though. They’re also expanding.
In late 2016, they launched the official MoonRunners Saloon Food Truck, which serves the Raleigh area.
It serves up “MoonRunners specialties with moonshine dips and sauce”.
MoonRunners Saloon reviews after Bar Rescue
MoonRunners Saloon seems to have pretty good reviews, with a 4 star rating on over 220 Yelp reviews.
Here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
5 star Yelp review from January 2016:
Have family in there area.
Here all the time saw this place on bar rescue.
By far the best bar I’ve gone to of all my bar rescue trips.
Food is great service great.
Owner is cool, we both from the north. I’ll be back soon.
5 star Yelp review from June 2015:
Ohh one of the infamous Bar Rescue restaurants.
Absolute fantastic establishment.
The food is delicious and consistent.
Management and staff are so attentive and courteous.
You can always expect some kind of special any night of the week.
The Mac n Cheese though, auuhhhhhmazing!!!
4 star Yelp review from April 2021:
I was looking for a place to eat while in North Carolina, so I love me some good moonshine and well I came by to give it a try.
I arrived and it was still early for dinner so it wasn’t crowded.
My server came by right away and explained their moonshine flight vs their mixed drinks.
I obviously went for the mixed drink.
The food came out quickly and the meat came off the bones.
The ribs were great, the hand cut onion rings were also great. The potato salad was ok.
I truly enjoyed myself, later I realized that this restaurant was on Bar Rescue.
5 star Yelp review from February 2020:
Saw this place on Bar Rescue and it peeked my interest.
Driving back from Florida to Long Island, I decided to take a detour and come see it for myself.
I am very glad that I did.
The food was outstanding, the beer was cold, karaoke night was popping, and the staff was awesome.
I wish that we lived closer. Great spot!
What happened to Alex from MoonRunners?
A lot of people are wondering what happened to Alex from the MoonRunners Bar Rescue visit.
As far as I can tell, Alex went back to school at Wake Technical Community College and got a four-year degree in social work from 2015-2019. She also got married at some point during this time.
Because of this, I’m pretty confident that she no longer works at MoonRunners, though I can’t 100% confirm this.
I’m basing this on her LinkedIn page.
Overall, the MoonRunners Bar Rescue episode seems like a real success story because the bar isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving.
The MoonRunners food truck seems to be doing great and it wouldn’t surprise me if the MoonRunners Garner NC location is around for a long time.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2022-11-07 06:59