(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 1 | View All Season 1 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: August 14, 2011
The Bar's Original Name Was: Swanky Bubbles
Sheer Address: 10 S Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Swanky Bubbles was a Philadelphia bar featured on Season 1 of Kitchen Nightmares. The Swanky Bubbles Bar Rescue episode aired in August 2011.
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Swanky Bubbles is owned by John Frankowski.
After going to a successful champagne bar in New York City, John was inspired.
At its peak, the restaurant and bar was doing $100,000 a month, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
However, the good times at Swanky Bubbles would not last, which is why the Swanky Bubbles Bar Rescue episode exists. I mean, you don’t see a lot of successful bars asking for help from Jon Taffer, right?
Three years ago, the popularity began to wear off, and Swanky Bubbles began losing money.
Now they are losing close to $4,000 a month.
John is barely at the bar anymore, and co-owner Ryan must make all the decisions. It is a high-stress environment because servers receive low tips.
Jon and his wife Nicole stake out Swanky Bubbles in the back of the SUV. Nicole then goes into the bar to do recon.
The bar has a permanent bar gate that doesn’t open, meaning the staff has to duck under it to get to the bar.
Nicole and her friend Valerie pretend to be single ladies out on the town.
Ryan talks to them and offers them a drink for free. He makes sexual implications, and Nicole and her friend leave.
The following day Jon tells the staff that Ryan is a problem. The bar is also too enclosed and dirty.
The bartenders tell Jon they are often out of liquor and have to go buy it themselves to have something to work with. Jon is still not happy about Ryan’s behavior.
Jon brings in Chef Brian Hill, and he tours the kitchen saying the dishwasher smells.
Mixologist Elayne Duke has the bar staff make simple drinks to assess their skills.
Elayne tells John the bar staff needs more space.
Chef Brian said the menu is too vast.
Jon has an idea to turn the bar into a social club for women with simple food and cool drinks.
However, Ryan is in denial about his behavior. Jon warns him that to succeed; he must change.
Chef Brian tells the staff that the dishwasher needs to be sanitized nightly. The cook is annoyed and walks out of the kitchen.
Jon reminds Ryan to either step up or step aside.
Jon gathers the staff to sample the new menu.
Swanky Bubbles has a stress test to see how well the staff handles things. However, the bartender, Tim, can’t keep up with all of the drink orders coming in. Jon is fed up and tells Tim to leave.
The ticket times are up to one hour, and customers are ravenous. Imagine waiting an hour just to get your food – that’s friggin’ ridiculous!
Customers fill out comment cards at the end of the dinner service. Jon meets with the staff and discusses the issues.
Ryan lacked the leadership that was needed to make the night a success. Jon can’t want to rid the bar of its old décor.
After reconstruction, Jon changes the name of the bar to Sheer.
The bar looks classier, and Ryan hires a new line cook to replace the one who quit.
There is a bachelorette party at Sheer that evening, and they are unhappy with their service. The staff manages to turn things around, and they leave happy.
Sheer Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Swanky Bubbles Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his team left the building.
First off, the new name, Sheer, did not last long. John changed the name back to Swanky Bubbles pretty much as soon as Jon Taffer left.
Soon after that, Swanky Bubbles closed for good, just a month after its episode aired on TV. As of 2022, the old Swanky Bubbles Philadelphia location is occupied by a British pub called The Victoria Freehouse.
Reviews for the new pub seem good, as it has a four star rating on its Yelp page.
Why did Swanky Bubbles close? Well, there were two reasons. First, the bar was struggling to obtain a liquor license, which is obviously a big issue. Second, there were tax liens against the bar, which means that there were money troubles as well.
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Last updated: 2021-12-31 09:13