Let ‘Bar Res­cue’ save your night out

Jon Taf­fer tells us when it’s time to ditch a dive.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - NED EHRBAR @Nedrick ned.ehrbar@metro.us

Nightlife con­sul­tant Jon Taf­fer has seen the worst wa­ter­ing holes on Spike TV’s “Bar Res­cue” and helped im­prove their busi­ness — oc­ca­sion­ally through the use of force. So he knows the warn­ing signs of a sketchy bar when he sees them. Here are his tips for spot­ting red flags next time you’re out on the town.


“If there’s a bot­tle of ver­mouth in sight — in other words, not in the re­frig­er­a­tor — then they don’t know what they’re do­ing. Ev­ery bot­tle of ver­mouth, once it’s open, must be re­frig­er­ated. It’s wine. It will go bad. That’s a big prob­lem with bars; they don’t know that. If the ver­mouth isn’t in the re­frig­er­a­tor, I wouldn’t or­der any­thing.”


“If a back bar is dis­or­ga­nized — just s— is ev­ery­where — that would clearly be a sign.”


“If you put your hand un­der the ta­ble and it’s cov­ered in chew­ing gum, that might be a good in­di­ca­tion [that you should go else­where].”


“Ev­ery bar has a cut­ting board be­hind it. They typ­i­cally are white plas­tic. If it’s brown in the mid­dle, I’m not sure I’d be drink­ing there, be­cause the brown in the mid­dle is ac­tu­ally a bac­te­ria colony. The fruit wasn’t brown when he cut it, and the board wasn’t brown when he cut it. What’s brown is the bad stuff.”


“If a menu is sticky or is dirty or has thumbprints on it, ob­vi­ously that would be a sign.”


“Mu­sic so de­fines a bar. When you walk into a bar, the mu­sic that you hear will tell you all about the peo­ple that it wants to have there — or the peo­ple that are there. If the mu­sic is un­cool, then prob­a­bly the bar isn’t go­ing to be cool in your per­cep­tion.”


“If you walk into an empty bar, and there’s a bar­tender work­ing there, I of­ten scratch my head. Would any great bar­tender work in a bar that was empty? The an­swer is no. So if the place is empty, I’m not sure I’d go much far­ther than that.”


There are many ways to tell whether you’re at a good bar be­fore they even make your first drink.

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