(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
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 2023.
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:
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:
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.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-03 06:28