(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 4 | View All Season 4 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: November 22, 2015
The Bar's Original Name Was: The Arena
The Arena Address: 203 E Washington St Ann Arbor, MI 48104
The Arena was an Ann Arbor, Michigan bar that was featured on Season 4 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Arena Bar Rescue episode aired in November 2015, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 4 Episode 39 and the episode name was “Unnecessary Toughness”.
In this episode, Jon Taffer visits a bar named The Arena.
The Arena is located in Ann Arbor, MI.
If you’re not familiar with Michigan geography, Ann Arbor is a mid-sized city that’s located just to the west of Detroit.
It’s a pretty big college town, as it’s home to the University of Michigan. The Wolverines, if you’re a football or basketball fan.
Mike Flore is the owner of the bar and a former restaurant manager.
In 2001 Mike bought the bar and turned it into a sports bar. That means he’s owned it for well more than a decade at the time of The Arena Bar Rescue episode.
After years of being open, the bar has started to fall into disrepair. Mike is difficult to work with and rude to his staff.
To help rescue the bar, Jon Taffer brings in mixologist Andrew Venjohn and chef Ryan Scott.
The experts are informed that the owner is $1 million in debt, which is a pretty steep hill to climb for any bar, even with Jon Taffer’s help.
Jen, Mike’s wife, bartends with Stephanie, who loves to serve flaming drinks but unsafely.
Vinny is the manager of The Arena, and Jimmy is a cook.
To see how things are functioning, three grad students from the university spy on the bar for Jon.
The furniture is outdated and worn.
The spies ask for a special menu, but there isn’t one, so instead, they order a rum punch, a long island iced tea, and food.
The kitchen doesn’t have the ingredients needed, so they have to change their order.
The food is served, and the spies see that its middle is raw.
Mike confronts the spies over their complaint and scares them.
Customers can make their drinks at the bar as Mike and his staff drink.
Before going inside, Jon Taffer talks with Brittany and Lauren.
They say Mike makes them uncomfortable as well as turns business away.
Jon meets Mike and sits down with Mike, Brittany, and Lauren.
The girls tell Mike their issues, and he becomes very defensive.
The next day the staff meets with Mike, and he eventually agrees with them.
The experts give their feedback and tell the team the flaming drinks are a liability.
Andrew trains the bartenders on drinks that use rum as a base.
While that’s happening, Ryan teaches the kitchen staff a burger using local ingredients.
During the stress test, Jon wants to see positive behavior from Mike.
The bar staff begins making mistakes, and they have to dump drinks.
Mike is so busy he brings drinks to the wrong table.
The bar is falling behind, and Mike breaks a glass and loses a credit card.
Jon ends the stress test and takes Mike to another local bar to show him how it is run.
The next day Jon comes into the bar, and Vinny, the manager, is absent.
Jon meets with Vinny and tries to break down his tough exterior.
Andrew trains the staff on signature drinks while in the kitchen; Ryan shows them a meatball dish.
Jon has finished renovations and made the sign brighter. However, he didn’t make any changes to the name – it’s still named The Arena.
There is new furniture and a drum set for the university drum team.
The bartenders serve drinks confidently as the relaunch happens.
Jon is pleased with how positive the night is going.
So will the changes last? Let’s find out…
The Arena Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Arena Bar Rescue episode and visit, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer and his crew left Ann Arbor, MI.
Things started off well…
In the six weeks after the Bar Rescue episode, The Arena grossed $220,000 in sales, which ain’t too shabby.
Mike seemed to have turned over a new leaf. However, all wasn’t quite what it seemed, as The Arena has a very interesting ending.
Is The Arena from Bar Rescue still open?
The Arena closed for good in July 2016, less than a year after the episode aired on TV.
Why did The Arena close? Because the owner, Brian Michael Flore, pleaded guilty to keeping over $700,000 in sales tax that he was supposed to pay to the government over the previous ten years.
Obviously, the government didn’t take too kindly to that, which is why they charged him with tax evasion.
As part of his plea agreement, Brian received a two-to-five year prison sentence. He also owed the government $1.5 million in restitution fines.
Given that Brian was in prison and owed the government over $1 million, it’s pretty easy to see why The Arena closed.
Before that happened, reviews for the bar were actually ok, as it had a 3.5 star rating on its Yelp page.
As of 2022, the old The Arena Ann Arbor, MI location is occupied by a new bar called Haymaker Public House. Reviews for the bar seem good, as it has a 4 star rating on Yelp. You can learn more about the new bar on its official website.
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Last updated: 2022-03-11 07:43