Bar Rescue is Heading Back to Tempe's Brick and Barley Tonight — Here's A Preview

This weekend, Spike TV’s Bar Rescue will be laying the smackdown on Tempe’s Brick and Barley once again. And it promises to be just as dramatic as the first time the local bar was featured on the popular reality show, if not more so.

Tonight, the Spike network will air a special “Back to the Bar” episode of Bar Rescue that will return to Brick and Barley, the Tempe spot that was originally featured on the ultra-popular reality show last year.

And according to the Brick and Barley owner AJ Hunter, this new episode will offer even more melodrama, histrionics, and reality-show theatrics. As a matter of fact, she’s expecting it to be just as much of a “trainwreck,” including plenty of yelling by the show’s host, Jon Taffer.

“Yeah, he definitely spends quite a bit of time screaming at me,” she says.

Bar Rescue’s “Back to the Bar” episodes return to drinkeries and establishments that were previously transformed by the show in order to see how each are faring. In the case of Brick and Barley’s episode on Sunday, Taffer and mixology expert Daniel Ponsky learn that the Tempe bar didn’t keep the new cocktail and food menus that were put in place during its transformation last year.

Hunter says that the specialty drinks that Bar Rescue recommended just didn’t fit in with the vibe of the Brick and Barley.

“I didn't keep their drink menu,” she says. “It just didn't work for this place and it didn't necessarily work for this area of town. It was a very high-end drink menu, something you'd probably see in Scottsdale. Their drink menu had all of these specialty syrups that you would have to special order. We couldn't even figure out where they got the cherries from that they brought in. So we created our own drink menu that works for this area.”

And her changes didn’t make Taffer happy, to say the least.

“So Taffer got really upset about that,” Hunter says. “He basically spends the whole time screaming at me about everything. Basically, how stupid I am for not keeping his drink menu, how stupid I am for not keeping his food items.”

One of Bar Rescue’s other changes that Hunter axed were new uniforms, which she said weren’t stylish enough.

“The uniforms were a huge source of contention. Actually, I had three employees flat out quit because they refused to wear those uniforms. Flat out quit. It was just red shirt and really was quite awful,” she says. “I'm not against the idea of uniforms, I'm just not going to go with that uniform. Once you'll see the episode, you'll see how I took a lot of abuse for letting the uniforms go.”

Want to know what else Hunter and her staff changed? And what wound up pissing off Taffer? Tune into Spike TV on Sunday night. The episode airs at 10 p.m. Arizona time. Brick and Barley will also be having a viewing party at the bar starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.