(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 5 | View All Season 5 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: October 23, 2016
The Bar's Original Name Was: The Tradewinds
The Tradewinds Address: 8210 Old Redwood Hwy Cotati, CA 94931
The Tradewinds was a Cotati, California bar that was featured on Season 5 of Bar Rescue.
Though the Tradewinds Bar Rescue episode aired in October 2016, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.
It was Season 5 Episode 9 and the episode name was “Chase Lounge”.
The Tradewinds is a bar in Cotati, CA. Cotati is a small city in Sonoma County, located about 45 miles north of San Francisco.
If you’re not familiar with your California geography, that means that it’s in the northern part of the state, though still a good bit south of the Oregon border.
Dan Thompson was the Bar’s original owner, alongside his friend Eric Loria.
Chase, Dan’s stepson, was brought in to manage the bar.
However, Chase is irresponsible, and the bar often runs out of beer because Chase forgets to order it. Having enough beer is kind of a basic thing as a manager, so this definitely needs to change.
The bar is in a college town, but they do not bring in the college crowds, which means they’re missing out.
They are now within months of closing because of mounting debt. That’s why the Tradewinds Bar Rescue episode exists.
To help save the bar, mixologist Rob Floyd joins Jon Taffer, as well as culinary expert Michael Ferraro.
The bar has no theme, and the furnishings are worn out and outdated.
Dan and Eric own 40% of the bar each, while Chase owns 20% for his work (or lack thereof haha).
When Jon Taffer arrives, he meets with Dan and Eric, but Chase is not there and does not answer his phone when he is called.
Traci, Chase’s mom, is the cook and usually hangs out at the bar while waiting for customers.
After Chase finally arrives, Jon arranges for a mini stress test.
He invites 75 college students to come to the bar.
The served beer is warm and foamy, and disaster as a whole is a mess.
Customers can only pay for their drinks in cash since the POS machine keeps breaking down.
What happened – did we teleport back to the 1950s here? C’mon!
There is a lot of beer wasted during the stress test, and the customers receive no food.
Instead of food, they are offered free popcorn…I mean seriously – popcorn?
Chase leaves to go to another bar for drinks during the stress test.
Dan and Eric begin arguing with Chase in the middle of the street.
Jon Taffer meets with the owners after the test and is upset they do not hold Chase accountable.
They try to talk to Chase about the business, but he shows no interest.
The next day at the staff meeting, they tell Jon that Chase is the main problem with the bar.
He is very spoiled and doesn’t care about The Tradewinds.
Chase tells the owners and the staff he wants to change.
After the meeting, Rob teaches the bartenders to make a Mai Tai and a spicy cocktail.
In the kitchen, Michael shows the staff how to make mini calzones.
Eric is put in charge of the front of the house for the stress test.
Dan is bartending, and Chase is working the floor as manager.
Traci becomes overwhelmed in the kitchen, making the mini calzones.
Customers wait for their food and drinks because the staff forgets the table numbers.
Jon shuts down the failing stress test.
Jon tells the staff he thinks they need to retheme the Bar to a tiki bar the next day.
Everyone agrees Chase has potential, but he needs to get serious about the bar if it’s going to be success.
Chase promises he will change and become a better manager.
Rob takes the bar staff through making cocktails with a rum-based, to fit the new tiki theme.
The kitchen staff learns sweet calzones.
While Jon Taffer did change the theme of the bar and renovate it a lot, he didn’t change the name – he still kept it as The Tradewinds, which makes sense because it fits with the new theme.
Jon gets the shuttle bus in the bar working and hopes to bring college students back and forth.
There are televisions on the wall and maps.
Jon also fixed the draft beer system, and he gave them a subscription to Taffer Virtual Teaching for the staff members.
When Chase comes back, he’s sporting a new haircut to showcase his newfound seriousness and that he’s ready to be a better leader at The Tradewinds bar.
When they open their doors for the relaunch, the customers are impressed with the décor, food, and cold beer.
The Tradewinds Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Tradewinds Bar Rescue visit, let’s talk about what happened after Jon Taffer blew out of Cotati, CA.
Things started off quite well for the bar, as sales were up ~20-25% after the Bar Rescue bump.
The calzones are also a big hit.
People stay around longer to eat the calzone, which also has benefits for drink sales.
Chase seems to have matured and is doing much better as a manager, which is great to see.
The staff says that Chase has “broken all of his bad habits”, which is great to hear.
In an interview with a local publication, Dan also told them that Chase had matured:
Since the show, Chase has really stepped up.
He has a reputation to uphold now.
Taffer acted like the big brother Chase needed to get on track.
That interview also includes some other interesting details.
Dan said that he estimated the Bar Rescue team invested about $50,000 in renovating the bar, which is quite a nice gift (remember – the bar owners don’t need to pay for renovations).
Here are a few other notable quotes…
On Jon Taffer…
He’s a total showman, but he came up with some clever ideas, including giving us a theme
On the whole Bar Rescue experience…
When ‘Bar Rescue’ left, they left the bar with a good foundation, and it was free…
… It was great, other than us making an ass out of ourselves on TV.
It was such a success story that Jon Taffer revisited the bar in Season 6 during one of the Back to the Bar episodes (it was episode 22 of Season 6 if you want to check it out).
Unfortunately, I can’t find a long clip of the Tradewinds Back to the Bar episode.
However, I did find a two-minute clip of part of the episode in which Rob Floyd (mixology expert) challenges Chase and the owners to make the Tradewinds signature cocktail.
You can see it below:
Is The Tradewinds from Bar Rescue still open?
As of 2022, The Tradewinds is still open and serving customers in Cotati, CA.
The bar doesn’t seem to have a Facebook page, which is a bit weird to me. But it seems to be doing fine even without one.
The bar seems to have really leaned into the young college crowd.
It’s also part of the Cotati Crawl, which is a local bar crawl that includes The Tradewinds bar along with three other local bars.
However, the reviews just average, as it has just a 3.5 star rating on the Tradewinds Yelp page.
Newer reviews seem much more positive, though, so it seems like the Bar Rescue changes worked well.
A lot of people praise the food – especially the calzones. Other people praise the drinks and appreciate that the drinks are strong.
The Tradewinds bar reviews after Jon Taffer
Here’s a sampling of some reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…
5 star Yelp review from May 2017:
A fun place to catch a game, have a pint, listen to music and be treated like family.
Traci, Chase, Dan, Bronte, Dylan and Jaclyn are all fantastic.
The regulars are friendly, good vibes all round.
Traci serves up free food on Fridays which is awesome.
Not a fan of changing the sign with Gilligan’s Island font, Bar Rescue decor, and tropical drink theme.
That is not Cotati, or the legacy of Tradewinds!
Also the lack of Live music is a buzz kill.
Still the nice screens, cold taps, camaraderie and ownership make up for it.
5 star Yelp review from November 2016:
Friendly place, good drinks.
My GF and her friend tried the new drinks from their “Bar Rescue”.
The owners (Dan and Traci) seemed pleased with the rescue.
The place was a little slow(10-15 people) but we were there early(6-8pm on the Friday after thanksgiving) the place was filling up around the time we left.
Definitely will be back.
A few people do mention issues with the bar’s bouncer, though. For example, this one…
1 star Yelp review from November 2018:
Well, I haven’t been to the Tradewinds in well over a year, considering they are the worst bar in downtown Cotati (for multiple reasons) and the other night, me and my friend decided we would give the place another try.
Now I had 4 mixed drinks all night, so I was completely fine and my friend had 3, so even more NOT drunk.
We get up to the bouncer, he says let me see your id, and then asks my friend how much she’s had to drink.
She told him and he said “nope you’re lying you’re not coming in” we both literally thought he was joking.
He proceeded to tell her that her eyes were glazed over, and she was wobbling. Which she 100% was not.
…(long review continues)
5 star Yelp review from July 2019:
This is a great place to enjoy a drink or a great hip hop event.
Please just make sure you are very legit because the local police agency will make it a point to be as annoying as they possibly can!
Besides the intimidation and harassment by the local police agency this place is incredible.
I love the atmosphere. Everyone is so positive and friendly. I love the vibes here.
Next time your ever in Catoti you should make it a point to pull up to Tradewinds Bar and get your party on!
Just make sure you are one hundred percent legitimate.
Or you will most definitely go to jail or worse.
Other than the police overreacting this is a great place to party!
A decent number of reviews mention police “harassing” the bar, so I’m not sure what’s up with that.
I did find this 2020 article about a person suing the police alleging excessive force after he had an interaction outside Tradewinds:
Christopher “CJ” Alcala, 25, said he was waiting for an Uber rideshare driver outside the Tradewinds bar near closing time on July 19, 2019, when Officer Anthony Garber and Cpl. Brian Deaton singled him out of a crowd of people.
Though Alcala claims he did not resist them, the officers used violent tactics while arresting him, according to the complaint.
I’m not sure what’s up with that, but several reviews mentioned it so it does seem to be a thing.
Overall, though, the Tradewinds bar seems to be a real success story in Cotati so far.
If you find yourself in the Cotati, California area, go check out the bar and let us know how it went in the comments!
Here’s what the Tradewinds Cotati CA location looks like in the most recent picture from Google Maps street view.
Unfortunately, it seems like the Tradewinds frontage is blocked by a tent from a different cafe, though, so you can’t actually see it in the most recent Google update.
If you want to see updates for some other nearby Northern California Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for SacTown / Brannan Manor in Sacramento, The Roc / Fort One in San Francisco, and Rob Ben’s in Oakland (the Marshawyn Lynch episode).
Thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2022-12-16 10:05