Panic Room Bar Rescue Update (Tonic Lounge) – Still Open in 2024?

Is Panic Room still open today?

Status: >> CLOSED <<
(keep reading to learn what happened)

Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: July 26, 2015
The Bar's Original Name Was: Tonic Lounge
Panic Room Address: 3100 NE Sandy Blvd Portland, OR 97232

Panic Room Bar Rescue Update (Tonic Lounge)

Episode Recap

Tonic Lounge , later renamed Panic Room, was a Portland, Oregon bar that was featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.

Though the Panic Room Bar Rescue episode aired in July 2015, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.

It was Season 4 Episode 26 and the episode name was “Ants with Wings, Bro!”.

The Tonic Lounge is located in Portland, Oregon.

Rod Bitton owns the bar, which he performs live music in.

He’s owned it since 2012, which means he’s been the owner for about three years at the time that Jon Taffer visits.

When well-known bands play at the bar, they get crowded, but otherwise, they get no customers.

Rod is preoccupied with the live music side of the bar; he neglects everything else.

He doesn’t listen to his staff’s feedback and is stubborn. 

Jon brings in mixologist Lisamarie Joyce and chef Vic Vegas.

Two locals go into Tonic Lounge as Jon’s spies for the night.

Tony is the entertainment manager while Joe is the production manager.

The spies order a drink, and when they ask for a special menu, the bartender makes up a Pizza Hoagie on the spot. It ends up being terrible. 

While Jon is watching, he sees both live and dead bugs in the kitchen.

A band is performing, but they are awful and cause some customers to leave the area.

Jon talks to Tony and Joe, who tells him they have tried their best to say the bar is declining, but he won’t listen to them. 

Jon and Rod walk into the kitchen together to see how many bugs there are.

There are also insects in the liquor bottles from which the customers are drinking. It’s super gross!

Jon makes the staff and the owner stay to clean the kitchen and bar all night.

They return the next day. Jon asks why the sign outside doesn’t advertise live music, and the staff says because the owner won’t let them change it.

Rod laughs every time he is critiqued. 

After the staff threatens to leave, Rod promises to change.

The experts meet the team and tell them that they’ll be tested on food and drinks during the stress test, but there will be no live music.

Lisamarie trains the staff on how to make a well-balanced drink.

Vic teaches the kitchen how to make a vegan flatbread pizza. 

The stress test begins, and drinks are dumped right away because there is not enough alcohol in them.

Heather, the bartender, leaves the bar unattended to get cups while Rod is standing and not doing anything.

Customers wait up until forty minutes for their food. 

Jon recognizes the staff for their hard work during the stress test but calls out Rod for his unhelpfulness.

Jon thinks that Joe and Tony need to become co-managers because Rod is a terrible leader.

Lisamarie trains the bar staff again on new cocktails while the crew works on renovating the bar.

As part of the renovations, Jon renames the bar from Tonic Lounge to Panic Room. 

The interior has a rock and roll theme, while the exterior has an updated sign.

There are four new POS systems and video monitors for live performances.

The bar staff makes drinks confidently during the relaunch.

The ticket times are low, and Joe is the expeditor getting food out on time.

So was the Tonic Lounge Bar Rescue episode a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2024.

Panic Room Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Panic Room Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his crew left Portland, Oregon.

Six weeks after the visit from Jon Taffer, sales at the bar are up 20%.

However, the Tonic Lounge owners were not happy about the changes Taffer made and their experience in general.

In a 2016 interview with Willamette Week, the booking manager had this to say:

The sign and name were horrible, the show was absolute staged and edited bullshit.

The props were cheap and silly, and all the actual stage and lighting gear was rented or borrowed and we didn’t get to keep.

The show did irreparable damage to the venue’s image, and provided no benefits other than a small amount of decent furniture

Given these feelings, it’s no surprise that the bar ditched Taffer’s Panic Room name as soon as possible.

Instead of going back to Tonic Lounge, they changed the name to The Raven.

The Raven closed in 2017 and was purchased by new owners who went back to the Tonic Lounge name.

Is Panic Room from Bar Rescue still open?

Panic Room closed for good in September 2019, a little over four years after its Bar Rescue episode aired on TV.

At that time, they were still doing business as Tonic Lounge (after a brief name change to The Raven).

In their closure message on Facebook, the Tonic Lounge owners posted this message:

Our last week was magical.

Thank you for being a part of it.

We now say goodbye….

Goodbye to all the heshers, queers, punks, witches and weirdos.

Please keep being yourselves and expressing your art, music, and ideas directly in the face of everything ugly in the world.

We loved partying with you.

Here’s a picture of the Facebook post in case it gets deleted:

Tonic Lounge closed Portland

I believe Tonic Lounge closed because the building was sold or in the process of being sold, which will make sense in a second.

As of 2023, the old Tonic Lounge/Panic Room Portland location had been demolished and is in the process of being replaced with a senior living facility named The Morningstar at Laurelhurst.

Here’s a picture of the demolished location from the Tonic Lounge Facebook page – it happened in January 2020:

Tonic Lounge Bar Rescue demolished

The senior living facility has broken ground, but I’m not sure if it’s finished yet as of 2023.

The Google Maps street view shot of the old Panic Room Portland location hasn’t updated since September 2019, so it’s not much help either.

However, it does show the old Panic Room bar being vacant and covered in graffiti.

Hopefully Google updates it soon – here’s the embed:

Either way, I’m 100% confident that Tonic Lounge will not be returning to that location – unless they think they can attract the senior crowd haha.

If you want to see another Oregon Bar Rescue episode, you can check out my update for Over Easy Bar / Six Point Inn in Portland.

There have also been a few Bar Rescue Washington episodes, including Schafer’s / R Lees in Sumner and Forbidden Pub / YNot Sports Pub in Everett.

Thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2023-02-03 06:28

30 thoughts on “Panic Room Bar Rescue Update (Tonic Lounge) – Still Open in 2024?”

All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.

  1. Yet another failing bar owner that thinks they no more that Taffer. Not sure what the “production manager” was whining about because they updated the entire bar and seating. What “props” exactly is he talking about? Did Jon not leave him bar glasses? A stage light system? Hey, buy your own lights, that’s not even part of the bar. The signage and name looked great.

    • The makeover was good but I have personal experience with one, The Bridge in Tarpon Springs, FL. Makeover was a joke. They didn’t even finish the tile work. One row of tiles. We had to complete he rest. Cheap projector which burned out after a month, no food. Some makeovers flourish but at a cost that some owners just can’t do. I’ve seen every episode and read when owners actually complained, also the ones that burned down to electrical fires. Yes Taffer has done some good but in my personal experience it’s a cheap makeover and of course reality drama.

      • I’ve worked on 3 rescues, owners know all the licensing, and if anything leases they agreed, there are warranties on new equipment, yes sometimes a project isn’t finished but the work is scheduled, it’s Upto owners to execute. Of course it’s edited to make good TV, but lots of hard working people for a week. Minimum with donations are $100,000, can’t be responsible for what people do with it, usually the scam is on bar rescue, by owner, landlords, even crimes they comit, if you did research you say did then you know this.

  2. This episode was crazy! I really thought something was wrong with the owner. His laughing was insane. I can’t believe it was opened for 4 years!

    • Owner had a nervous laugh . He had no idea what to do and hus shyness kept him from running the place. He was an owner in name only.

  3. This rescue was clearly a waste of time (given the aftermath result obviously lol). Some of these owners of bars being “rescued” are so transparently incompetent and as a result destined to fail. I understand t.v, editing, production etc can make accurate perception a little difficult but in my opinion, it’s sometimes very obvious when dealing with a loser as an owner from the get go and this dude was a perfect example. This bar didn’t stand a chance.

  4. Thank you for doing all of these updates! I’ve been binge-watching this since I just got Paramount Plus, and I always have your site open to go straight to each episode update! You are awesome!

    Also, this particular episode is the first one in which I feel really sure that the owner was on some kind of hard drugs as his behavior and reactions were so baffling!

  5. Some bar rescues you know are going to fail and fail quickly. This was one that I knew watching before the stress test that it wouldn’t last.

    The owner was as clueless as you can get , not sure if it was staged for the show or what. No one could be that dense running a bar.

  6. I can tell you, also from The Netherlands people follow Bar Rescue and you site with latest updates.

    The experience of following the show is much more fun reading about what happends with them.

    So, thanks and keep on doing A good job 👏🏼

    And it was soon clear this bar was impossible to rescue 🙈

  7. I agree with Heather and Sebastiaan – thanks so much for creating this site! It really makes watching Bar Rescue much more interesting to find out what happened to the bars afterwards.
    In previous years, I tried to find online updates, only to be bombarded with ads that make it nearly impossible to get information – – – appreciate all your hard work making this site so useful to BR watchers!

      • First words out of my husband’s mouth when the next episode starts, “check and see if they made it!” AKA check y’alls blog. Thanks for digging up the details, it adds quality to our Bar Rescue experience.

  8. I LOVE this site, thank you to the admin for their hard work. I always come here after every episode to see what happened. This bar owner was a total clown, I knew I was going to see “closed” when I got here! lol

  9. I watch Bar Rescue on a daily basis on Paramount. I enjoy how Jon handles the owners and bar staff. On the episode Tonic Lounge I was observing the bugs in the liquor bottles. I have seen that on other rescues. I wonder if all the liquor bottles are replaced before the stress test. There does not seem to be enough time for the same day. Just wondering…

    • Jons company hands them over to mine, and we deliver them to an entomologist lab for research. Nothing goes to waste.

  10. I kept looking for Rod’s lobotomy scar… to no avail. Too many drugs or too much booze, this pitiful guy is gone. Can’t get angry with him since he doesn’t even know where he is.
    Look in his eyes! There’s nobody there.

  11. I love how these clowns think the show did damage to their brand. Maybe it was the ants with wings, bro. I think their bottles had more bugs in them than any other episode. Scumbags.

    • I agree with you. I don’t believe these owners that blame it all on the show. I think it’s very convenient for them to blame John Taffer. They are full of shit. And the tonic bars owner has to be the most stupid guy I’ve ever seen on the show. no wonder they failed.

  12. I usually don’t like to see a business close even if I don’t like the owner or the business itself bc people lose jobs and the neighborhood loses revenue.

    But in this case I’m glad it failed. This loser thinks everyone is supposed to give him money for nothing. And he is fully aware of the dirt and bugs he’s serving to his customers. Most of his customers probably think like him anyway but that doesn’t make it right unless it’s a private club.

    Him and Steve in Austin have to be the 2 nastiest bar owners on BR and both should be out of the bar/restaurant business.

  13. Ofcourse most of this is staged. You think they don’t notice the cameraman while they are acting out. It is scripted and dirty on purpose.

    • Yes, I realize it’s staged and the cameras are obvious. They also put black tape over logos on hats, shirts, soda dispensers, etc… when they’re supposedly “under surveillance “.

      But I’m familiar with a few bars that have been on the show and the people and businesses are real. And my point was I believe this owner is truly a dirtbag in real life. He’s a grunge hipster that thrives on being nasty. Him and his crew likely live their lives that way and shouldn’t be providing food and beverages to unsuspecting people. If they want to live that way among themselves, I have no issues, make it a private club and breed rodents for inventory.

  14. This is one of the most disturbing episodes, mainly because of Rod. There was something seriously wrong with him. No online presence after the episode. I wonder what happened?


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