This isn't all Spike TV's fault, but everything Bar Rescue tried to do uncovered more problems for Rocky Point. A name change exposed an invalid permit; renovations performed without a permit inspired more scrutiny; and a subsequent safety inspection uncovered old and new problems, requiring "the owner [to retain] an architect, structural engineer, and sound engineer to assess the site for code requirements."

In the end, Havana Cabana's request for a live entertainment permit of its own was denied. Several months of death metal concerts were canceled or moved, and Havana Cabana closed, fresh coat of paint and all.

The final twist is that after Bar Rescue left and before Havana Cabana closed, things mostly went back to normal. Far from the picture presented at the end of the episode — "Six weeks after Bar Rescue left, staff reported that Havana Cabana brought in up to $6,000 a night" — the metal shows started up soon after Taffer and company left.

Havana Cabana: Shuttered after Bar Rescue tried to "save" it.
Dan Moore
Havana Cabana: Shuttered after Bar Rescue tried to "save" it.

"As soon as they turned the cameras off, everything went back to the way it was, except it was that shitty pastel color," Robens says. "Our CD release was, like, three or four weeks after that happened, and it was at Rocky Point Cantina . . . they didn't do any construction. They just redid the lines for the beer and all that stuff and painted the walls and put gross pictures of old ladies smoking cigars everywhere."

So out went the plans for a vibrant, healthier menu and a new clientele; in came the metal shows and the fried food. "From what I recall," Robens says, "they weren't open like they wanted them to be — during lunch and all that crap — because nobody came in . . . They tried it for a couple of days and it didn't work out."

"What happens speaks for itself," Robens says. "Once it wasn't a metal venue anymore, the place closed down."

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Seriously ??

You didnt see the bad management ? The gross bathrooms the neglected establishment ??

There could have been better ways to save it, unfortunately arrogance didnt allow for the changes that shouldve been made. Those kids ran it into  the ground.Kim with 13th Floor did excellent shows there. however, tell me in the arts dist there should be a metal club ?? I love metal and have supported the scene for years, but seriously now ?? Blame the show for their lack of knowing how to run a biz ?? ha.


This place was clearly already teetering on the edge of the cliff....all Bar Rescue did was give it a little push.


No comment from Taffer?


Did Bar Rescue help speed up the process of the closing of Rocky Point Cantina?  Most likely, but it wasn't because they gave bad advice.  Rocky Point Cantina was going to end up closed due to its poor management.  It is one thing to purchase a bar/restaurant and staffing it with the right people.  It is something completely different to have your no-experience son manage the place into bankruptcy.


Turning a Dos Gringos that was profitable into a metal club was a dumb move. The rest was all downhill. This article is poorly written and one-sided. Seriously, the New Times needs to hire real journalists.


If you watched the show, the problems at this bar we MUCH deeper than  what you are reporting here.  The bar didn't die because it stopped hosting metal shows, it died because the owners and their inept sons have no idea how to run a profitable business.  I have no reason to defend Bar Rescue or John Taffer, but c'mon - there's only so much someone can do to try and correct another person's mistakes.  The fact that metal bands now no longer have a place to play has little to do with this bar - the concept simply isn't a moneymaker, which is why there aren't other places for them to play.  See how that works?

You've failed to report how this bar was all but dead before Taffer arrived.  Sometimes, you just can't postpone the inevitable.


@krhutton9907 Your right.  Some best bands I saw especially seeing the Casualties, Nekromantik, LCB, and many more shouldn't being playing at that shithole.  It was terrible place hosting concerts.  Those fools did not know jack about running a business.  Good thing they move all the shows to Club Red now which is a better venue.  Oh yea that guy Anthony the bartender in reality was a real douche and didn't know how to make drinks worth a shit.


@incognito69 Wait a minute. There may have been problems but I know many a show that was sold out there. The owners did the best they could with the knowledge that they had. Were they great, no, but they weren't as bad as you make them sound. The bar died because the owners made 1 mistake in regards to their live music permit and because Bar Rescue didn't file permits with the city.

As for the bands, they have all found other places to play like Joe's Grotto and Club Red so that part of your argument is rendered moot.

david_saint01 topcommenter

@incognito69 actually, what Taffer did was a rookie move. Not checking city codes before making changes? what kind of moron does that!? Think what you want, but thats the facts jack. 


@Hotch75 Don't go trying to place ANY blame on the show Bar Rescue LOL! Get REAL! All those bands suck, The owners' were the ones to file permits with the city of Tempe! Their business was a failure from the start sorry to say that.. 


@david_saint01 @incognito69 

I give Taffer credit for trying to fix something that was broken the minute they created this venue. This project was a mess from the beginning. Frankly, when I retire, my goal is not to take my savings and see if I can sell alcohol to people. 

Zoning and construction codes are a basic part of due diligence on the property owner. 

Put all the whip cream on this onion all you want. It was an onion. I just hope mom and dad kept their house.

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