(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 3 | View All Season 3 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: February 10, 2013
The Bar's Original Name Was: Turtle Bay
Spirits on Bourbon Address: 615 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130
Turtle Bay, later renamed Spirits on Bourbon, was a New Orleans, Louisiana bar that was featured on Season 3 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Spirits on Bourbon Bar Rescue episode aired in February 2013, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that in 2013.
It was Season 3 Episode 1 and the episode name was “Turtle on Its Back” .
Turtle Bay is located on the historic Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The owner is Brad Bohannon, and he opened the bar in 2011.
He is the former owner of the bar across the street named Tropical Isle, so he knows a thing or two about life on Bourbon Street.
After a fallout with the owners, he left.
Side note – Tropical Isle is still open as of 2024, so the other owners also seem to know a thing or two about running a successful bar on Bourbon Street.
When Brad opened Turtle Bay, he used the same theme and colors as Tropical Isle.
After he copied their signature cup, he was sued.
Steve Smith is another former owner of Tropical Isle who manages Turtle Bay.
The bar has no identity and no profit because it seems like just another lookalike.
As a result, they are losing a whopping $15,000 per month at the time of the Turtle Bay Bar Rescue episode.
Rent on Bourbon Street ain’t cheap, guys!
To help fix Turtle Bay, Jon brings in professional bartender Rick Gomez and Chef Ron Duprat.
The streets are busy, but everyone is passing by the bar.
John and Nathalie from The Black Sheep (later renamed The Public House), a former bar on Bar Rescue, go into the bar as spies.
They order the bar’s signature drink, The Turtle.
It tastes sour and looks identical to The Hand Grenade from the Tropical Isle.
You can definitely see why Tropical Isle took issue with it and sued Turtle Bay.
To make matters worse, the food isn’t much better.
The gumbo is served after being reheated in a microwave.
Jon comes in and asks Brad why he copied the other bar.
Brad responds by saying the other bar has his ideas.
Then, Jon Taffer reminds him that when he sold the shares to the other bar, he sold his rights to his unique ideas as well.
Steve doesn’t manage the bar very well and doesn’t know the price of the drinks.
They all have a lot to prove to Jon.
The next day when Jon meets with the staff, he finds out there are no set drink recipes.
The bar staff was never trained properly and just kind of does their own thing.
Again, it’s not hard to imagine the bar losing $15k per month in these circumstances.
There are hygiene issues too – Chef Ron finds a dead roach in the kitchen.
Jon then orders the kitchen staff to be deep clean the kitchen.
During the stress test, the team has thirty seconds to make cocktails and can’t keep up with the heavy demand.
Customers leave before they are even served their drinks.
The food is served cold, and Jon explodes when the kitchen staff admits they served the gumbo at the wrong temperature.
Chef Ron introduces a new gumbo dish, and there are new signature drinks like The Resurrection.
The Resurrection is similar to The Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle, but it now has a unique spin that’s unique to the bar.
Why is it called The Resurrection?
Well, as part of the renovations, Jon Taffer has changed the name of the bar to Spirits on Bourbon.
He used the bar’s spooky history as inspiration for the new name.
A barber who worked in the building was supposedly murdered by his mistress.
The new signature cup is a flashing skull – here’s a picture of it:
Beyond the new name, Jon Taffer also renovates the interior of the bar and adds new equipment.
He also puts in a barber’s chair, to further connect with the bar’s history.
There is more interior lighting and a new POS machine for easier order taking.
Now that we’ve recapped the Turtle Bay Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about how the bar is doing in 2024 and whether Spirits on Bourbon is still open.
Spirits on Bourbon Update - What Happened Next?
So – was the Spirits on Bourbon Bar Rescue episode a success?
The answer is a resounding yes…for a while at least.
In fact, it’s probably one of the most succesful rescues ever, though all good things must come to an end (spoiler!).
Soon after Jon Taffer’s visit, the bar is bringing in almost $10,000 per month in profit, which is a huge improvement from the $15,000 deficit when Turtle Bay originally appeared on the show.
Their annual sales are well over one million dollars.
Reviews for Spirits on Bourbon are both positive and negative, mainly on the drink taste.
Bar Rescue also did a lengthy revisit episode to celebrate Mardi Gras.
The video is about 26 minutes long – you can see the full video in this YouTube video (though a lot of the video is from the original episode – the new stuff start around the 19:30 mark, which is where I’ve started the video):
Is Spirits on Bourbon still open after Bar Rescue?
Unfortunately, Spirits on Bourbon closed around December 2023.
While it is no longer open, that does mean that Spirits on Bourbon stayed open for more than a decade, so I still count this one as a Bar Rescue success story.
The bar closed because it was sold to new owners who put in their own concept called the Tipsy Trumpet.
Note – as of February 2024, the bar is still marked as open on Google. However, I have confirmed that it is closed in multiple reviews and Reddit comments, as well as pictures from someone who went in person.
Part of the confusion seems to come from the fact that Tipsy Trumpet seems to still have the Spirits on Bourbon sign out front, even though it’s not using that concept.
Perhaps that’s to still attract Bar Rescue fans.
If you want proof that Spirits on Bourbon closed, here’s a quick rundown.
First, you can check out these pictures from a Twitter user who visited the bar in person in February 2024.
The pictures show the Tipsy Trumpet menu and sign inside the bar (though you can still see the Spirits on Bourbon sign out front, as I mentioned above).
Ask and you shall receive, it is now the Tipsy Trumpet… pic.twitter.com/8SP8pkJ22N
— Just Won One (@JustWonOne) February 21, 2024
Here’s a screenshot of a Reddit post from someone who visited in February 2024 and found it renamed to The Tipsy Trumpet:
Finally, here’s a screenshot of a February 2024 review mentioning that the bar has changed to The Tipsy Trumpet:
The official Spirits on Bourbon website has also been taken down.
Prior to its closure in December 2023, a lot of reviewers loved the Resurrection drink, so it appears that they stuck with the changes that Jon Taffer made.
You can see reviews of people mentioning the Resurrection drink as recently as early December 2023, so it appears that Spirits on Bourbon kept offering the drink right until the very end.
Here’s a Google Maps street view from March 2022 that shows what the bar looked like when it was still operating as Spirits on Bourbon..
It has a sign saying to “Get Your World Famous Resurrection”, so it seems like they really play up Jon Taffer’s drink:
Spirits on Bourbon reviews after Bar Rescue
Prior to its closure, Spirits on Bourbon had just a 3.5 star rating on Yelp, which isn’t that amazing.
Still, Spirits on Bourbon seemed to have a lot of happy customers, which is how they were able to run a succesful business for more than a decade after the Spirits on Bourbon Jon Taffer visit.
Here’s a sampling of reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer (and before the bar closed, obviously):
4 star Yelp review from November 2022:
My boyfriend and I are fans of the show Bar Rescue.
A while back we saw this place on the show and instantly looked for it when we first got to Bourbon St.
We never got a chance to check it out in the evening, but when we did visit during the day there was live music and the vibe was pretty chill.
The bartender was really nice and she made us really good cocktails.
Of course my boyfriend ordered the skull cup signature drink which was about $15, but if you bring the cup back you get $5 off.
During our trip here, we came here twice just for the drink.
I, myself, liked the drink, but I could do without the jalapeno slice, it gave me acid reflex.
It’s not a must see, but it’s really cool to still see the bar and the signature drink.
4 star Yelp review from January 2022:
My boyfriend and I passed this place while drinking.
We decided that we needed more alcohol. Why not drink more??
You can never have enough booze.
We also heard about this place from Bar Rescue.
We both had the Resurrection.
I don’t remember at all what was in it, but it was delicious!!
It also came in one of those flashy mugs! Flavor was great!
I wish our bartender interacted a bit more.
Would have made the experience a bit better.
We didn’t order any food, but food menu looked good!
1 star Yelp review from September 2016:
We went to this place because it was on Bar Rescue so we wanted to give it a try.
* the light up cups are cool to walk around with at night.
* the live music was bad or maybe that was an off night
* the place doesn’t look clean
* most of Jon’s (guy from Bar Rescue) items wasn’t offered any more.
* the waitress took so long that we ended up leaving without ordering anything.
4 star Yelp review from September 2021:
During our party vacation week in the Big Easy we had to pay a visit to Spirits on Bourbon which was featured on Bar Rescue.
Fun spot and great bartender on duty when we took a few seats at the bar.
The place itself still has a dive bar look and feel to it.
Not much seemed to change that much from the Bar Rescue episode, as it looked as if they went back to their old look.
The barber shop chair was still there and we observed people getting spun in it and taking shots.
Kind of fun but I’m not stupid enough to do that. HAHA!
We both got the specialty drink in the light up skill glass, The Resurrection and it was really good.
A bit sweet but full of booze, and you get to keep the glass.
Fun to walk around with at night.
Final thoughts on Spirits on Bourbon
Overall, while Spirits on Bourbon is now closed, I think this one still counts as a Bar Rescue success story.
It stayed open for more than a decade after its episode aired on TV, which is longer than most other bars on the show.
It only closed when it was sold to new owners who put in their own concept, The Tipsy Trumpet.
All in all, I think Jon Taffer did great with the concept on this one.
That wraps up my Spirits on Bourbon Bar Rescue update.
If you want to see some other New Orleans Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for The Annex / TJ Quills in New Orleans, Desi Romano’s Sports Bar in Chalmette, and The Second Line Co / Speakeasy in Kenner.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the bar or the episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
A lot of people who visited the bar in person have already shared their thoughts in the comments.
As always – thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2024-02-21 05:31