Zanzibar Bar Rescue Update (Solids and Stripes) – Still Open Today?

Is Solids and Stripes still open today?

Status: >> OPEN <<
(keep reading to learn what happened)

Season: 3 | View All Season 3 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: March 10, 2013
The Bar's Original Name Was: Zanzibar
Solids and Stripes Address: 2046 Larimer St Denver, CO 80205

Zanzibar Rescue Update (Solids and Stripes)

Episode Recap

Zanzibar (also spelled Zanzbar), later renamed Solids and Stripes, was a Denver, Colorado bar that was featured on Season 3 of Bar Rescue.

Though the Zanzibar Bar Rescue episode aired in March 2013, the actual filming and visit from Jon Taffer took place before that.

It was Season 3 Episode 5 and the episode name was “Empty Pockets” .

In this episode, Jon Taffer and his crew head to Zanzibar Billiards Club.

Zanzibar is located in Denver, CO, and is owned by Ami Benari.

You’ll see the bar’s name spelled both ways – Zanzbar and Zanzibar, though I’m going to use the Zanzibar spelling in my Bar Rescue update.

Zanzibar owner on Bar Rescue

Ami was in the Israeli army and moved to America, where he opened Zanzibar in 2009.

It was the first bar in downtown Denver and was very successful.

At first, it was in the black to the tune of $450,000 per year, which is quite good.

However, things obviously went down hill from there, which is why the Zanzbar Bar Rescue episode exists.

In 2011 Ami was in a debilitating accident, and while he was away, the staff misbehaved and drove the bar into the ground.

As a result, customers stopped coming in. 

Six months ago, Ami returned to the bar.

He fired his senior staff and hired a new team.

He had lost thousands of dollars and now has six months until the bar closes for good.

That’s why he desperately needs help from Jon Taffer and his team to get the bar back on track.

Smirnoff master bartender Jenny Costa and expert chef Brian Duffy help Jon Taffer with the recon. 

Two college students spy for Jon, Nick, and Camio.

The bar has ten pool tables and eight beers on tap – it’s a definite billiards bar.

Zanzibar added pool tables

While they sit waiting, Nick gets no service.

Customers begin harassing Camio.

The staff is overpouring and losing money.

Ami keeps giving free drinks to the customers and his friends.

Jon catches the cook coughing into his hand and touching food. 

Jon Taffer storms in, and he is outraged.

He yells at the staff for over-serving the guests and tells them everything in the kitchen has to be thrown away because it is contaminated.

Cook Dave stays to clean the kitchen.

Dave can’t lose this job.

In 2009 he lost his trucking job because of a brain aneurysm, so having the job at Zanzibar is essential.

The next day Jon visits the kitchen and says it looks better. 

Ami gets angry when Jon informs him how much money he has lost on his staff overpouring alcohol.

They have lost thousands of dollars.

Ami begins throwing plates against the wall.

I’d be mad to if I was losing so much money.

Chef Brian Duffy has Dave cook the three most popular dishes as Jenny works with the staff on pouring. 

The stress test is about to start, and Jon wants twelve-minute tickets.

The staff is still overpouring, and the bar runs out of clean glasses.

Jon shuts down the stress test because Ami was useless.

Ami gets mad and calls Chef Brian Duffy ‘fat boy.’

That’s not a nice thing to say to someone who’s trying to save your bar.

As Jon tries to leave, Ami swings at him; Jon stays because he has a responsibility to help the bar. 

Jon makes Ami apologize, and the two have a one-on-one discussion.

Chef Brian Duffy creates a ten-minute express menu revealed during the relaunch.

Jenny has added six new drinks to the bar menu.

The interior looks amazing when the staff returns for relaunch night.

As part of the renovations, Jon changed the name from Zanzbar to Solids and Stripes, which fits with the bar’s focus on pool.

Ami loves the concept.

The team is working hard, and Jon and Ami shake hands. 

When Jon leaves the bar, things seem to be looking up for Ami and Solids and Stripes.

So – was the Zanzibar Bar Rescue episode a long-term success?

Keep reading to learn what happened next and if this Denver, CO bar is still open in 2024.

Solids and Stripes Update - What Happened Next?

Now that we’ve recapped the Solids and Stripes Bar Rescue episode, let’s talk about what happened to the bar after Jon Taffer and his crew left Denver, Colorado.

Six weeks after the visit, sales at the bar were up a massive 50%, which is a huge improvement that shifts that bar back to its earlier success.

About a year later, Jon Taffer returns to Solids and Stripes in Season 4 of Bar Rescue.

However, he finds out that the bar is no longer called Solids and Stripes!

You can see a clip of the Zanzbar Back to the Bar episode in this YouTube video:

Ami went back to using the Zanzibar name not too long after the Bar Rescue episode.

The full name is now Zanzibar Billiards, though it still has a sign that spells it Zanzbar.

It also still has the Solids and Stripes name on the sign even though it’s not doing business as Solids and Stripes.

Despite that, the bar seems to be doing good as a business.

Is Zanzibar still open after Bar Rescue?

As of my most recent check in 2024, Zanzibar is still open and serving customers in Denver using the original Zanzibar name rather than the Solids and Stripes name that Jon Taffer gave the bar.

Ami has added more gaming tables and brought back free pool.

He also added other games, such as foosball and shuffleboard.

The bar also regularly posts events and specials on its Facebook page.

Here’s an example of a free pool night:

Zanzibar free pool

And then here’s what the Zanzibar / Solids and Stripes Denver location looks like in 2024.

In the picture, you can see that the bar is using the Zanzbar name, but still has a big Solids and Stripes name on the sign (perhaps to capitalize on the Bar Rescue publicity).

I’ve embedded the most recent picture from Google Maps street view:

Zanzibar reviews after Bar Rescue

Now, let’s talk about reviews for the bar.

Reviews are mixed but generally positive, with many patrons loving how many pool tables Zanzibar has.

With that being said, the reviews aren’t amazing – it has just a 3 star rating on Yelp and a 3.4 star rating on Facebook.

Here’s a sampling of a few reviews that were written after the visit from Jon Taffer…

4 star Yelp review from October 2022:

Free pool!

This place was on Bar Rescue a few years ago so check that out if you have a chance.

It’s exactly what it says it is.

It’s a pool bar with the cheapest drinks on the strip.

Great place to hangout and pregame before bopping around to others.

3 star review from November 2017:

I was super pumped as I watch the Bar Rescue show so this was cool to visit.

We came in on a Friday afternoon so it was not too packed as people were working.

It’s located in a hip area and we were looking to play some pool.

The bartender was extremely welcoming and we were delighted to find that the pool was free so we played several games.

They also have a 4 person air hockey table that we took advantage of for a bit.

We noticed that it had several televisions as we walked in to find a majority of the patrons sitting at the bar watching sports.

We had a couple of beers, which were averagely priced and we went on with our day.

2 star review from March 2014:

Work in bar management industry and watch Bar Rescue all the time and happen to be in denver so stopped in on a Tuesday.

Wasn’t kept in the best of shape… dangling cords, tape on walls, dirty bathroom etc.

Ordered one of the bar rescue cocktails “the scratch” from a slightly unwelcoming tender which was made wrong and didn’t taste fresh.

Best thing about the space was the custom ambient lights and art made from the tv show and the sound.

Decent for a billiards I guess.

Wouldn’t be a watering hole for me if I lived here

3 star review from August 2015:

this bar is okay. i know it was on an episode of bar rescue and people find the novelty in that.

i know zanzibar has been in denver for a long time now, but i feel that it has the potential to hold better standards for itself.

it didn’t feel very clean or very well maintained.

i like that there are a lot of pool tables to use and the drink prices are pretty cheap.

the drinks that were created for the bar are good.

considering this place is around a few other bars, this probably wouldn’t be my top choice.

more of a stop in place to play a game of pool, have a drink, and then move on to the next place.

the employees didn’t seem very enthused about being there.

i know its hard to work in a place when its dead, but when customers do come in, show them that you’re stoked for them to be there and give them an awesome experience!

Issues during pandemic health restrictions

Zanzibar did have some issues with the local Denver government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bar was cited and temporarily closed for violating Covid-19 restriction orders by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE).

The citation happened in July 2020.

The issues seemed to have something to do with face masks and general public health order violations such as no social distancing, no seating system in place, and normal bar operations.

Despite that, Zanzibar still seems to be doing well in 2024, so this is definitely a boost to Jon Taffer’s success rate.

If anything changes, I’ll be sure to update this page.

Ami Benari owns other billiards bars in Colorado

In addition to the Zanzibar / Solids and Stripes bar that you saw on Bar Rescue, Ami Benari also owns multiple other billiards bars in the Denver area.

First, he’s owned Tarantula Billiards for over two decades, which makes it one of Denver’s oldest pool halls. That bar is still open with a 3.5 star rating on its Yelp page.

In 2017, Ami also opened a new bar in Lakewood CO named Hangar 101.

That bar offers a 15,000 square foot building that includes 12 pool tables and even bowling.

Hangar 101 is also still open in 2022, though it has just a 2.5 star rating on its Yelp page.

Overall, Ami seems to be doing pretty well in the bar business.

He almost seems like the king of Denver billiards or something.

Final thoughts on the Zanzibar episode

Overall, even though Ami hasn’t fully embraced the Solids and Stripes name from Jon Taffer, he seems to be doing very well with Zanzibar.

In addition to Zanzibar itself, Ami also owns multiple other succesful businesses and pool halls in the Denver area.

Given that, it doesn’t seem like Zanzibar will be slowing down any time soon.

That wraps up my update for Zanzibar after Bar Rescue.

If you want to see some other nearby Denver Bar Rescue episodes, you can check out my updates for The Kasbah in Aurora, Summit House in Lakewood, and St8 Pub / Downstairs Bar in Englewood.

Or, you can check out my full list of all the Bar Rescue episodes in Colorado, as of 2024.

If you want to see some other Bar Rescue episodes that deal with pool halls, you can check out my updates for Griff’s Billiards in Las Vegas, Rack’s Billiards in Corona CA, and Lucky’s Corner Pocket in Davenport FL.

And if you want to share your thoughts on the episode, you can do so using the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

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Last updated: 2024-03-29 06:04

11 thoughts on “Zanzibar Bar Rescue Update (Solids and Stripes) – Still Open Today?”

All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.

  1. Surprised it’s still open, didn’t believe in Ami at all. He was an ass, and going back to free pool is losing him money. He probably has most of the shitty regulars he had back in there and lost out on good patrons.

    • He owns another bar called Tarantula on stout. Until someone else comes in and does better, that’s the only choice. Tarantula is more profitable only because it’s smack in between 10 hotels, so for people who come down and want to do something, Tarantula is the first thing they see and go. It’s not because it’s some hot destination for billiards: the tables are all nasty, as the players are mostly drunks who know nothing about billiards. Tarantula has better players, as Zanzibar is strictly drunks who know nothing about pool, just hitting balls randomly and trying to get lucky.

  2. As a truck driver traveling the country & fan of the show I try to stop at many bars I see on the show. This is 1 of the few I won’t visit! From watching the show and seeing owner acts he not worth giving my hard earned money to. Also I asked locals about the bar and was really surprised by how many people know of or have been there. The sad part not 1 person said anything good about this place!!! I believe people don’t change and the owner of this bar is the same A-hole he was in the beginning change at the end for the show but from what I hear he went back to who he really is.

    • People do change. People go from being alcoholics, to sober for decades. People with addiction issues, beat those addictions and never participate in the addictions again.
      Before you express a world view of yours, perhaps you should do some research.

      • Oh come on. You’re passionately defending alcoholics who have turned their lives around, which of course would be awesome but that’s not what this is about AT ALL. Ami is a raving a-hole PERIOD, and I wouldn’t give him a cent of my money either.

      • You are correct people do change but, in 64 yrs. of life and traveling the country and some customers I go to I’ve been going to for over 25yrs and 1 thing I’ve is very few assholes change!!! I spent 5yrs traveling the world the the last driving AMERICA so I’m no expert all I go by is my experience with people. And believe me I have met thousands of people of all sex,color and religion and that’s just from my travels that I speak of!!! Finally 98% of people I meet are all pretty good BUT that 2% that’s another story so Keith cause of your comment I’m going to check this bar out! I prefer the AIRPORT LOUNGE when in Denver but I will try this bar out!!!I’m sorry I forgot to say I’ve been driving a little over 40 yrs so I have met a few people along the way!!!

  3. I can’t believe how much patience Jon has for this ass hole.This is one I wanted him to walk out on. Jon and his staff are amazing.

  4. I love what Jon does. This is my favorite show. It’s really about “Life”, not just saving bars. I think the producers of the show should do a better job of vetting the owners. A complete asshole like avi, should not get saved. It reminds me of when “The People”, bailed out the American auto industry. Then they continued to make cheap overpriced cars. While giving their workers the shaft.

  5. what a cheap shot ami took at brian duffy calling him fatboy over n over. same kind of bullying that goes on in high schools, so its obvious ami hasnt grown up. i so wanted jon taffer to walk out and never come back after the skirmish. ill never understand why he continued the bar rescue after ami’s disingenuous apology to brian duffy. once a tool always a tool.


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