(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 8 | View All Season 8 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 19, 2023
The Bar's Original Name Was: 360 Lounge Reloaded
Rio Ultra Lounge Address: 7030 Smith Corners Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28269
360 Lounge Reloaded, later renamed to Rio Ultra Lounge, was a Charlotte, North Carolina bar that was featured on the third set of Season 8 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Rio Ultra Lounge Bar Rescue episode aired in March 2023, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place around August 2022.
It was Season 8 Episode 27 and the episode name was “The Napoleon Complex”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer heads to 360 Lounge Reloaded in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The bar is owned by Napoleon Isom, which is where the episode gets its name from.
Napoleon was a mechanical engineer before shifting out of that career and investing $50,000 of his life savings into the bar (along with some partners who also put up cash).
At that time, the bar was already open and doing business as 360 Lounge.
The old 360 Lounge owner wanted to get out, which is when Napoleon decided to get into the business in 2019.
Napoleon called the nightclub scene in Charlotte “trash” and he wanted to create something better.
For example, he complained about the “half ass bottle service” at other clubs, which is why he wanted it to be nicer at his club.
Napoleon then relaunched the club as 360 Lounge Reloaded in January 2020.
Obviously, that’s about the worst time to open a nightclub because it’s right before the Covid-19 pandemic shut things down.
However, because the 360 Lounge Reloaded Charlotte nightclub was so new, Napoleon and his partners weren’t able to qualify for much financial assistance.
I did find a page saying that Napoleon got a $20,833 PPP loan in July 2020, but that obviously doesn’t go very far when you’re running a night club.
This led to the bar opening and closing a lot during the first year.
Napoleon eventually bought out his partners to become the sole owner of the bar, which is how things stand at the time of the 360 Lounge Bar Rescue episode.
Because of all these issues, 360 Lounge Reloaded has a lot of financial issues at the time of Jon Taffer’s visit.
At the time of the 360 Lounge Reloaded Bar Rescue visit, the bar is reported to be losing up to $20,000 per month.
These losses have caused Napoleon to get into almost $200,000 in debt.
To cover this, he had to refinance his home and borrow money from friends.
Not a great situation to be in financially!
Beyond that, the bar doesn’t seem to be run properly and the staff training is lacking.
While the bar looks nice from the outside, it’s lacking a lot of the operational details.
For example, there’s no soda gun and the bartenders complain about the quality of the well system.
This causes issues for Regi and the other bartenders at 360 Lounge Reloaded.
It also means they have to pour soda from cans, which costs way more than using the soda gun.
Jon Taffer even said that the soda gun company would’ve fixed it for free if Napoleon would’ve just told them about the issue.
It’s the same in the kitchen, where a lot of the equipment doesn’t work.
This obviously causes issues for Nick, one of the cooks at 360 Lounge Reloaded.
As you’d expect, there’s also cleanliness issues in the kitchen.
When Jon Taffer checks the ice machine, he finds black mold on the top of the machine even though it was supposedly “just cleaned”.
It’s all pretty standard cleanliness issues for a bar appearing on Bar Rescue.
There’s also a lot of turnover at the bar.
Managers come in and out like a revolving door, which doesn’t help with the staff training issues.
Overall, the bar supposedly has just around one month left before it will have to close, unless Jon Taffer and his crew can turn things around.
As part of the rescue, Jon Taffer changed the bar’s name from 360 Lounge Reloaded to Rio Ultra Lounge.
As part of rebrand, he got rid of the black and red furniture and replaced it with lots of neon and bright colors.
The Bar Rescue team also built a brand new bar with cool dancing lights.
True to the new name, Jon Taffer also put in a new food and drinks menu with Brazilian-inspired dishes.
So was the 360 Lounge Reloaded Bar Rescue visit a long-term success?
Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Charlotte, North Carolina nightclub is still open in 2023.
Rio Ultra Lounge Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Rio Ultra Lounge Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Charlotte, North Carolina.
Before I talk about where Rio Ultra Lounge is now, though, I first want to share some details on Napoleon’s Bar Rescue experience, because he did an interview with a local publication about his experience on the show.
Overall, Napoleon seems to have appreciated the help from Jon Taffer, which is a big shift from the previous episode in Season 8 (The Hideaway in Idaho, where Jon walked out).
In the interview with the Charlotte Observer, Napoleon said this:
There is no doubt this show saved our bar and gave me the confidence in myself that I needed to make this work
Napoleon also shared some details on Jon Taffer’s choice of renaming 360 Lounge Reloaded to Rio Ultra Lounge:
Jon decided that 360 had no meaning, and he wanted something that was more marketable.
When you think of Rio de Janeiro, you think of diversity and partying.
You think fun and colors and music.
This new name fits right in with the vibe we want to give.
Finally, here’s another quote where Napoleon seems grateful to Jon:
We may have butted heads a couple of times, but I knew he was here to help.
I really learned a lot from him, just about being involved in your business, making connections with customers and continuously investing back into the venue.
Jon helped build my confidence back up.
I’m really so proud of how far we’ve come.
Napoleon also has an Instagram video that talks about some of the changes from Bar Rescue.
I’ve embedded it below:
View this post on Instagram
Rio Ultra Lounge also posted multiple Instagram stories promoting the Bar Rescue episode on the night that it aired.
So again, it seems like Napoleon Isom, the Rio Ultra Lounge owner, is happy with the visit and willing to promote it.
In contrast, none of the bars from the previous three episodes promoted their episodes on the air date.
Now, let’s talk about the most important question on your mind…
Is Rio Ultra Lounge still open after Bar Rescue?
As of 2023, Rio Ultra Lounge is still open and serving customers in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Napoleon also seems to have kept the name and concept that Jon Taffer gave the bar, which is great to see.
The bar has its own official website and is also active on Instagram, regularly posting about events and specials.
There doesn’t seem to be a Rio Ultra Lounge Facebook page, though.
There is a Facebook page for the old 360 Lounge Reloaded concept, but there hasn’t been any new posts since July 2022.
If you want to check those out, here are the links:
For example, you can see how the Instagram page is posting all kinds of events:
From some of the Instagram stories that the bar has posted, the club seems to be very busy (at least on weekends).
And then here’s a picture of the Rio Ultra Lounge menu to give you an idea of prices:
Here’s what the Rio Ultra Lounge Charlotte NC location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view – it already has the new Rio Ultra Lounge sign:
Rio Ultra Lounge reviews after Bar Rescue
As far as I can tell, Rio Ultra Lounge doesn’t have a Yelp page.
There is an older Yelp page for 360 Lounge Reloaded, but all of those reviews came from before Jon Taffer rescued the bar.
However, Rio Ultra Lounge does have lots of Google reviews.
Overall, the nightclub has a 4.0 star rating, but that includes reviews from back when it was 360 Lounge Reloaded.
There are only a few reviews that have been written after the Rio Ultra Lounge Bar Rescue visit (which was around August 2022.
In total, there are 151 reviews, but only 3 of those reviews came after the episode.
Here’s a sampling of a few Rio Ultra Lounge reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
3 star Google review from February 2023:
Empty & charged $20 for entry smh.
However service was good.
1 star Google review from November 2022:
I went here for the first time November 2nd and initially I love the Place, beautiful place the ladies in the bar was awesome.
I had a section me and a group of friends just having a good time.
At the end of the night I wanted to use the restroom (take note the bar was close but the music was still playing and people was still there).
I went and a guy told me the rest room is closed for the night.
I was literally begging because I had to go so bad.
I could not believe as a spending customer to this establishment I was refused access to the rest room.
I ask to speak to a manager and the same guy told me he is the manager and I have to leave and go to the gas station across the street to use their rest room.
I continue to tell him I will do a blog about this and he try to snatch my phone out my hand then telling the security to drag me out if I don’t leave .
What kind of place treats their customers like this?
I will never go back to that place.
They were very unprofessional, and especially that manager.
I am very upset at the way I was treated.
2 star Google review from August 2022:
All they play is trap.
Also, our waitress was rude.
Nice to people each if you wanna have a good laugh.
I’m not sure if this last review happened before or after the Jon Taffer visit.
Final thoughts on Rio Ultra Lounge / 360 Lounge Reloaded
Overall, Rio Ultra Lounge is a breath of fresh air in the third set of Season 8.
In contrast, Napoleon has kept Jon Taffer’s name and concept and seems to be genuinely grateful for Taffer’s help.
While it’s still early, the Rio Ultra Lounge Charlotte location seems to be doing well so far.
If Napoleon sticks with Taffer’s concept, I think that Rio Ultra Lounge can have a long future in Charlotte.
I wish Napoleon and his crew success going forward!
If you want to see some other North Carolina Bar Rescue episodes, you can also read my updates for Cashmere / Dual Ultra Nightclub in Raleigh, 22 Klicks / Cliques in Hope Mills, MoonRunners Saloon / Characters Quarters in Garner, The Gateway Pub / Corner Pocket II in Hickory, and Latitudes Island Bar in Denver NC.
And if you want to share your thoughts about the Rio Bar Rescue episode, you can use the comments section below.
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Last updated: 2023-06-10 08:43