(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 1 | View All Season 1 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: July 17, 2011
The Bar's Original Name Was: Angel's Sports Bar
Racks Billiards and Bourbon Address: 1650 E 6th St Corona, CA 92879
Angel’s Sports Bar, later renamed Rackss Billiards and Bourbon, was a Corona, California bar that was the first bar ever featured on Bar Rescue.
Though the Racks Bar Rescue episode aired in July 2011, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 1 Episode 1 and the episode name was “Fallen Angels”.
Angel’s Sports Bar is located in Corona, California.
Renee Vicary is the owner.
In 1992 Rene invested her life savings into a run-down biker bar.
The spot became very popular to hear a local band or watch a game.
At its peak, the bar was making close to $100,000 per month.
Soon, the customers stopped showing up, and Rene did everything she could to try and bring them back.
General manager Wayne is not in control of the bar.
Wayne admits the bar stopped investing money into the things falling apart.
The interior is crumbling. The staff and customers are unruly and out of control.
They are now losing $4,000 per month, which is why they need help from Jon Taffer.
Jon Taffer and his wife Nicole read Yelp reviews in the SUV before going into the bar.
This is the first ever rescue, so it’s cool to see where they got their start.
The reviews say there are too many biker gangs and that the staff also works at the gentleman’s club next door.
The bar is 2,500 square feet and has an elevated stage and dartboards.
The martini Nicole orders is too strong.
At one point, they order a “fresh baked pizza” and it comes with the card board from the package.
I guess it is technically “fresh baked” even if it comes from a box, but I think that’s a little misleading.
To make matters worse, the bar is very dirty.
Jon thinks both the inside and outside look like a low-class gentleman’s club.
Once he’s seen enough, Jon Taffer goes to talk to Rene.
Jon tells her she needs to start caring and have a staff meeting in the morning.
Wayne is a slacker and doesn’t seem to care about the state of the bar.
Michael Tipps, a mixologist, joins Jon to help rescue Angel’s Sports Bar.
Nightclub expert Deborah Maguire is also brought in.
Many staff members say they do not like working at the bar anymore.
Jon and the experts meet and decide to turn Angel’s Sports Bar into a more upscale whiskey bar.
Michael teaches the bar staff how to do a long pour.
The managers are lazy, and Jon tells them there is no excuse to have loose staples hanging in the walls they walk past every day.
Wayne is demoted to assistant manager (assistant to the manger?) because he doesn’t do anything at the bar.
The stage takes up twenty percent of the floor space.
Beyond wasting floor space, Jon Taffer also says that it’s causing lost sales ($$$).
They say removing the stage is better for the bar.
Jon also begins to tear down the neon lights.
The bar opens for a soft opening.
Michael teaches the staff new drinks.
Waitress Britney is disrespectful to Deborah and is promptly fired.
Jon tells Rene that Wayne also needs to be fired, so he does it since she can’t.
Renovations begin at the bar that night.
As with all of the Bar Rescue renovations, these renovations are done at no cost to the bar owner.
The bar is now completely different and doesn’t look like a gentleman’s club anymore.
As part of the relaunch, Jon changed the name from Angel’s Sports Bar to Rack’s Billiards and Bourbon.
There are no more neon lights, but there are new flat-screen TVs.
There is a new POS terminal and working credit card machines.
The customers love the new bar, and women feel much safer.
So – was the Racks Bar Rescue episode a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if it’s still open in 2023.
Racks Billiards and Bourbon Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Angels Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Corona, California.
Two months after Jon Taffer’s visit, the sales at Racks Billiards and Bourbon have doubled, so things got off to a great start.
Wayne has not returned since he was fired.
What’s more, Rene is proud of the bar and how things are going.
For quite a few years, the bar was doing well and Jon Taffer’s Bar Rescue success rate got off to a good start with his first ever rescue.
However, the bar was not without its problems.
In 2015, there was a fatal stabbing outside of Rack’s Billiards and Bourbon at around 11 pm on Sunday August 10, 2015.
A man was later arrested as a result of the stabbing.
You can read more in this Los Angeles Times article.
And then here’s a video that has some police footage outside the bar (you can see the bar’s sign in the background):
The bar kept going on after that stabbing, but they did change the bar’s name around a year later.
The owners changed it from Rack’s Billiards and Bourbon to Bar 1650.
However, the bar would eventually close a couple of years later.
Is Racks Billiards and Bourbon from Bar Rescue still open?
Racks Billiards and Bourbon closed for good in 2018, which means it survived for around seven years after the episode aired on TV.
At the time of its closure, reviews were fairly mediocre – I’ll share some examples below.
I’m not sure why Racks Billiards closed, but it didn’t have great reviews and some reviewers mention that Racks got rid of the food menu that Jon Taffer implemented.
After Racks Billiards closed, the bar’s Corona California location was empty for a time.
In May 2019, a year after the closure, there was an arson fire at the empty Rack’s Billiards and Bourbon location.
No one was inside at the time of the fire, but several firefighters were injured.
The fire was deliberately set and there was a $5,000 reward in exchange for information.
You can learn more in this CBS Los Angeles article.
The Corona Fire Department also posted an update on their Facebook page.
As of 2023, the old Racks Corona CA location seems to still be empty and demolished.
I’m not sure if it ever got restored after the fire, but it seems like there hasn’t been building there as it’s just an empty lot.
Here’s the most recent Google Maps street view picture of the old Angels Sports Bar Corona CA location:
Rack’s Billiards reviews after Bar Rescue
At the time that it closed, Rack’s Billiards and Bourbon had a 3 star rating on Yelp.
Here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
3 star Yelp review from February 2014:
Food was much better after Bar Rescue.
But for some reason they changed their menu again and it’s not nearly as good.
The beers are average price and the service is average.
I would recommend for sporting events with the amount of TV’s they have.
4 star Yelp review from September 2012:
Just stopped here after noticing the Remodel.
This is a nice joint.
Came in when there was a local cover band.
The cocktail waitresses are hot and the music is great.
Good scene for Corona!
This place probably can use or need Beer Pong tables or something also.
(Yes, this was on “Bar Rescue” on Spike)
1 star Yelp review from April 2015:
This place is still shity!
There was a band that was supposed to play at 9pm and its still not on.
My waitress Amber was amazing so 5 stars for her service.
The management needs to sober up and put some effort in this place.
It has improved (thank you bar rescue) but operations need attention.
Hello hear me (and everyone else) knocking?!!
Get your staff to clean the men’s bathroom.
I agree most men can aim ..why should anyone have to smell that.
3 star Yelp review from January 2015:
Went here early afternoon with a few coworkers an was definitely a little scared to go in at first.
I know in bar rescue they wanted it to be more inviting for females when entering but that is far from what I felt!
It’s very dark. Really dark.
But the happy hour pricing is decent.
We didn’t eat anything, just got some domestic beers for $2 and well drinks for $3.
I think apps were half off as well.
The whole feel of the bar was very…well, low class, for lack of a better word.
There was on older couple there when we first got there that made their way over to the pool table.
And we all saw things we can’t unsee.
The woman was clearly not wearing a bra with her tank top…or anything under her skirt.
Mind you it was 3 pm on a Wednesday.
Would I go back? Maybe.
As long as you go in a group of 3 or more I think it’s for the better!
That wraps up my Racks Bar Rescue update! Again, this was the first bar rescued on the show, so it holds a special place in my heart.
If you want to see some other nearby Bar Rescue California episodes, you can check out my updates for Canyon Inn / Canyon Saloon in Yorba Linda, Par Bar / Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant in Canyon Lake, Stein Haus / Friar Tucks in Pomona, and The Palace / Menara in Upland.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-02-07 05:26