(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 3 | View All Season 3 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: June 1, 2014
The Bar's Original Name Was: South Park Bar and Grill
The V Bar Address: 30 S Park St Montclair, NJ 07042
South Park Bar and Grill, later renamed to The V Bar (The Vodka Bar), was a Montclair, New Jersey bar that was filmed as the original Bar Rescue pilot episode and aired as a special.
Though the South Park Bar Rescue episode aired as a special episode in June 2014, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place way back in June 2010.
Though this was the original Bar Rescue pilot episode, it only aired as a special between Season 3 and Season 4.
The episode name was “The Lost Episode”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer heads to South Park Bar & Grill in Montclair, New Jersey.
South Park Bar is not based on the TV show.
Instead, it’s name comes from the location – 30 South Park St (though it obviously does still have a double meaning that connects to the show).
South Park Bar and Grill’s bigger distinction, though, is that it’s the first bar that Jon Taffer ever rescued.
Yes – this was the pilot episode that got Spike TV / Paramount to green-light what would become such a long-running show.
Fun fact – it seems like the bar’s first name was Bars on the Brink.
Personally, I like Bar Rescue better, though I guess I’m biased.
As you’d expect, Jeff, the owner of South Park Bar and Grill, has a quick temper.
He’s known for kicking out both employees and customers, which isn’t a great reputation to have if you want your bar to be successful.
He also just generally doesn’t respect his employees.
As you’d expect, Jon Taffer is not a fan and the two butt heads plenty of times during the episode.
To help him with the recon, Jon recruited his wife Nicole Taffer.
That means the South Park Bar Rescue episode is the first time that Nicole ever recon-d the bar.
During her visit, Jeff turned on the fans while Nicole was eating, which caused dust to get into her food.
Her drink was also poorly made and had very little resemblance to what she ordered.
As part of the renovations, Jon Taffer renamed the bar from South Park Bar and Grill to The V Bar.
The V Bar is short for The Vodka Bar (though there’s also a double meaning here, if you put your mind in the gutter).
So was the South Park Bar Rescue episode a long-term success? Keep reading to learn what happened next and if The V Bar is still open in 2023.
The V Bar Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the V Bar Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Montclair, NJ.
First off, the bar did not keep The V Bar name from Jon Taffer for very long.
However, instead of going back to the old South Park Bar and Grill name, the bar switched to The Park Sports Bar.
Is The V Bar still open after Bar Rescue?
South Park Bar and Grill closed in October 2012, which means it stayed open for around two years after the visit from Jon Taffer.
At the time that the South Park Bar closed, it was doing business as The Park Sports bar.
As of 2023, the old South Park Montclair NJ location seems to be occupied by a makeup/cosmetics store named Bluemercury.
Here’s what the old V Bar Montclair NJ location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:
Why did South Park Bar and Grill close?
The bar closed because it lost its liquor license after a long period of issues at the bar, including allegedly buying alcohol from a prohibited source, illegal drug use, loud music, drunk bar patrons, and more.
The bar’s issues grew over time and nearby people in the Montclair community generally seemed to hate the bar because of its effect on their quality of life.
At the time that the V Bar closed, it had just a 2.5 star rating on Yelp.
Here’s an example review to show how the community viewed them:
This place is closed now, thank god.
What a disgrace it was.
Back in the day this place was half decent.
When the last owner took over he ran it into the ground.
The town shut them down ultimately for noise complaints and too many disturbance calls to the police.
It became a public nuisance an attracted a less than desirable clientele to an otherwise peaceful residential, shopping and dining street.
This is a great location and I hope to see a new and upscale bar/rest here in the future.
The V Bar / South Park Bar was the only Bar Rescue Montclair NJ episode.
There was one other New Jersey Bar Rescue episode, though – Jon Taffer visited Tres Cuartos / Laguna Lounge in Jersey City.
Beyond that, the other nearest bars are in New York City proper.
To see those, you can check out my updates for Jack’s Fire Department / Ale House in Long Island, 5th and Vine / Rhythm and Brews in Staten Island, and Undisputed / SoYo Craft Bar in Yonkers.
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-03-06 07:00