10 Awkward Questions With Jon Taffer of 'Bar Rescue'

  • Jon Taffer (center) with former J.A. Murphy's owners Joel Gallant and Keith Murphy after the show.
Jon Taffer (center) with former J.A. Murphy's owners… (Chaz Niell )
August 03, 2012


f you watch Spike TV's "Bar Rescue"you know how hard Jon Taffer's job is. Recruited by drinkeries, Taffer not only revamps bars' design, menus and business practices, but deals with bullheaded owners. He's already had to fix a pirate bar (!) in Silver Spring (!!) for the premiere of Season 2 last week. But for this Sunday's episode (9 p.m.), he attempts to fix Fells Point's J.A. Murphy's, which became Murphy's Law ... and then closed. What went down? We decided to awkwardly ask Taffer.

I don't think I've ever seen you madder than when you saw the J.A. Murphy's cook cross-contaminate food after touching raw chicken. Just how close were you to punching the one owner in the face when he was laughing about it?

Yes. Getting people sick makes me furious and his smirk almost took me over the edge. But I guess you noticed that. 

A guy in the episode said the bar smelled like a combination of "balls, cheesecake and a porta potty." What exactly do balls and cheesecake together smell like?

That combination of pungent smells pretty much describes it!

You sent your daughter, Sam, in for some investigative work in the episode. How do I become your son for a day and have you take me on bar rescuing missions? Not that I've been dreaming about that or anything.

Sam would not like that and you do not want to mess with Sam. 

The two owners were frat buddies. Is the lesson here not to open a bar with a friend or not to join a frat?

Definitely do the frat.  Let me explain it like this: If you were into drugs I wouldn't suggest you become a pharmacist. Get the message?

An interesting part of the show is where you practice your bar science (the height of stools, what goes where on a menu, etc.). Where can I go to study bar science and why exactly didn't I major in that in college?

No such book exists.  I'm the only nutcase in my industry who picks this stuff apart.  

My favorite episode so far has been the champagne bar, Swanky Bubbles, in Philly. Seriously … Swanky Bubbles as a name?! I think I would have quit when I heard that.

Stupid names need stupid comments. It was fancy, smancy.

In the Season 2 premiere you went to a pirate bar in Silver Spring called Piratz. Please tell me you demanded a raise after that one.

I got it before I walked in. Or walked the plank, as it was.

When walking through Fells Point, how much did you have to resist walking into a certain bar you saw from the outside and rescuing it?

Honestly, I liked some of the bars in Fells Point.  Coming directly from Piratz, Fells Point bars seems world class!

Here's an idea: rescue bars in foreign countries. I would love to hear you shout in another language.

Actually, after 30 years of traveling, I have found the best foreign language shouting is mainland China.   

Murphy's Law is now closed. What should go in its place?

I understand they sold it and got their money back. I suggest a bar with different owners … maybe a pharmacist?

Jordan Bartel is assistant editor at b and never went to J.A. Muphy's ... or Murphy's Law. Email him at jordan.bartel@baltsun.com or follow him on Twitter, @jordanbartel.

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