Piratz Tavern Puts An End to Corporate Makeover

Loyal customers are relieved after the owners of Piratz Tavern converted their restaurant back into a pirate-bar.


Piratz Tavern in downtown Silver Spring reopened Thursday without any remnants of Corporate Grill & Bar, a vision of reality TV show “Bar Rescue,” which renovated the tavern in February from its original pirate theme into a corporate theme in 36 hours.

Owners Tracy and Juciano Rebelo were greeted with relieved long-time supporters and pirate enthusiasts who said they found the corporate makeover uncharacteristic of the essence of Silver Spring.

“I’m excited,” said Silver Spring resident Vanessa Terzaghi who dined with her 8-year-old daughter, Kayora, and friend Philip McLeod.  “I think [the makeover] has been a wake-up call to realize that some of these independent restaurants really do rely on their clientele.”

The reopening wasn’t a “grand celebration” or anything big, Tracy said, but the tavern still filled with customers decked in pirate costumes who enjoyed good company and steak on a stone (filet mignon which diners cook themselves), peri peri chicken and of course, grog.

Silver Spring resident Captain Headbone, who declined to give his real name, has been coming here since the early beginnings of Piratz Tavern. He said he was “thrilled” about the reopening. “I’ve taken vacations here. [It’s] like coming home.”

Due to financial struggles and the desire to increase profit, the Rebelos had hoped that Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” and its host, Jon Taffer, would give their 5-year-old restaurant a facelift and attract more clients. However, when their pirate décor were replaced with framed office posters and notepads, the owners were outraged.

“[Bar Rescue] did the polar opposite of rescuing,” Tracy said.

The tavern, which was opened only during Thursdays and the weekends during March, has been slowly bringing their beloved bar back and getting rid of everything “Bar Rescue” put in.

Back to its regular hours (opened at noon Tuesday-Sunday and closed on Mondays; Sunday brunch will return on April 29), the tavern now has a fresh look. The corporate gray and yellow paint are covered with splashes of red and white. The dull high-top tables and stools are gone; in its place are wooden chairs and handmade wooden tables crafted by Juciano Rebelo. A new pulley bench, also handmade by Juciano, sits against one wall of the restaurant. The walls have yet to be decorated with swords and skulls, but it will happen soon, Tracy said.

Piratz Tavern was noted for its eccentric and family-friendly ambience. Terzaghi and Kayora enjoyed the kid’s corner near the entrance which supplied children with movies and books. Unfortunately, the play area will not be returning, Tracy said, but children can still enjoy gold coins, fake tattoos, coloring books and birthday parties.

A revised menu, which is still in the works, will include new appetizers such as spiced shrimp and specials from new chef Jason Herron, or “Da Cook,” Tracy said.

To balance the high cost of the original bison burger, a simple lean hamburger will be offered on the new menu. The Rebelos are also planning to create a bar at the front of the restaurant and add draft beer to their tab – something “Bar Rescue” was supposed to help with, but instead, brought a “smart bar” machine that turned out to be illegal because the owners did not have a license to use it.

Despite the unpopularity of the corporate theme and the “many of tens of thousands of dollars” the Rebelos spent to get their pirate bar back, the “local support has been absolutely incredible,” Tracy said. “It’s brought us all closer together.” 

er September 10, 2012 at 12:28 AM
This woman appears to be mentally ill... The staff is a bunch of drunks and so is she.... Her parents must be more dim witted then she is.....
Samantha Black September 14, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I think it is totally ridiculous and unfair that they don't have to pay back any of the money Jon Taffer and the show put into their bar. They should have some kind of contract so bar owners like these two fools don't use the show to get their bar cleaned and the new stuff they need just to go back to their old ways. The show bought the bar time because now it is clean and at least doesn't look like a s**thole but it will close eventually. I looked at the piratz website... tell me how is it family friendly when one of the employees goes by 'boobies'???
coolcat72 September 27, 2012 at 04:25 AM
took total advantage of show.supreme dumbasses in a year or two it will definitely close
CaptNLoser September 30, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Okay what Tracy should have done was add a name across that Corporate Grill& Barl sign. That would have personalized the branding and softened up the exterior presentation a bit making the place more inviting. For instance Tracy's Corporate Grill & Bar. But Tracy and her husband are LOSERS. Too bad because their employees were going to nake that place a winner for her and her husband in spite of those two idiots.
matt October 03, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Before you verbally bash this bar, and its owner's, you might want to get your facts straight. First off... It was made for TV drama. Most of the events were staged. The customers with the exception 5 people were paid extras. They acted however Taffer told them to act. Second... the make over did more to hurt business than it helped. The bar LOST money as corporate bar and grill. Third... the back story for the owners is fiction based very loosely on reality. How do I know all of this you ask? Its quite simple... I was there; before, during, and after bar rescue almost put a good bar out of business with its" improvements". What I think is truly sad, is the fact that all of you comment on a situation you know nothing about, that took place in a bar you've never set foot in. Why not actually check out the place before you pass judgement.
Sadie October 21, 2012 at 07:38 AM
I really feel as though the Rebeli's took advantage of the show, so as to get their place cleaned up and expanded. Now, I like the idea of a theme bar and I can see the fun in it, but Jon made a very valid point, the bar is in an amazing location with a fantastic patio, and the potential to make so much money due to the lack of any major competition in the area. I just want to fly to Maryland and grab Tracy by the shoulders and shake some sense into her! She could have used her newfound profits to open and smaller version of Piratz, or (as another poster mentioned) had Pirate theme nights. Her staff finally seemed on board with the changes. They seemed to understand that more customers meant more tips meant more money in their pockets. That building is beautiful and I want to go there and take over the entire bar and show her how to do it right. I've never seen this show before today, and Tracy makes me so angry... Or frustrated. I just don't understand why she doesn't see what an amazing opportunity she has there. She doesn't have to change who she is, or her soul, she just needs to do something that will let her lead a more financially secure life. Once she has that, she can bring the Piratz back.
Tray Lawrence February 01, 2013 at 07:39 AM
How can you LOSE money on a new concept without giving it a run of more then a few days? It takes years to build up a business and the clientele to go with it. As a 17yr. Chef I know first hand what it takes to be successful. If this 'Tavern' wanted to be successful if would go with what works and not with what put her 900k in debt. Now you say that back story was loosely based? She admitted it on TV! So now your saying she lied? Maybe you should get your facts straight. Fact: the whole this is a publicity stunt for both the Bar Rescue people and the Tavern owner. Only difference is Bar Rescue would have proved it's worth many times over and if they'd kept the place for a year as Corporate, built up a clientele and then used the profits to open a second business called Piratz, you'd have a Pirate themed Tavern and a financial backer all in one! Matt you either work at this Tavern so your opinion is biased, or your friends with someone who does and so again your biased, which makes your argument even more foolish. Course your going to say all those things. Now answer some REAL questions, how long was it ACTUALLY Corporate before they changed it back? What were the guest remarks from the NEW clientele who PAID for their meals and drinks? submit some proof to back up your claims and it won't be your 'biased' opinion anymore but pure FACT! Only then will anyone take what you said here serious.
one-eyed willy February 11, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Matt...."the makeover did more to hurt the bar than help it"...??? You, my friend, need to check into a mental institution. A grown woman pissed thru almost a million dollars over 5 years of attracting no business with a demented halloween fantasy, horrid unsanitary food products from an assclown chef who thinks shrimp is lobster, served by touchy waiters trapped in infants bodies. No television show in the world couldve made that "business" worse than it was. Now run along and play with ur friends on the pirate ship. Arrrrrr!
Becky February 11, 2013 at 02:21 AM
Uuuhhh???matt? That commented that this had been a good bar????!!! Even the moron owner, Traci, admitted she was $900,000 in debt due to her inability to properly run it. Did u see the food her husband served? He even spit it out! And they said they served fresh fish but it was frozen and Tracy admitted it! I don't have to go there to imagine how awful the cocktails tasted with the listed ingredients. It will fail, they r morons and fn creepy!!! Yeah...enjoy living in the basement!!!
chris February 11, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Exactly!!!, I would have gone up an made an offer to buy what would have been an obvious money maker and then she could pay off the 900k that she is in debt, build a pirate fort out back of her parents house and play make believe for the rest of her sad delusional life. Her young jerk-off husband who is from where ever could play right along (god he is such an Asshole) and what a smack in the face to Jon, and a waste of his time. I hope that place deep-sixes in the near future.
chris February 11, 2013 at 05:08 AM
dude...your full of it...or should I ask. what is your pirate name?
chris February 11, 2013 at 05:14 AM
The only reason I would go to this place would be to walk in, shake my head in disgust, laugh then walk out of an empty "Piratz Tavern" ARRRRGGGG ye matey. I really feel bad for the daughter, I think the owner is sick and delusional and her husband (of what 15-20 younger and from what country?) is the biggest asshole. F them all for wasting Jons time....but..but...thanks for a classic show! hahahaha
Joseph Logue February 11, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Just saw this last night, so I'm a little late to the party but the show's repeat will probably engender more commentary. First, is it still in business? I would respond to Matt first by saying, yes, I guess you're right that those of us viewing the show don't know the "real story," the "whole story." Not many of us could or would choose to get to know a pirate bar intimately but to each his own. I think most posters are or were responding to the show, so maybe we're on parallel tracks here. I think the issue that confused many viewers is that Tracy seems to want to run a bar along lines of what is essentially a house party with costumes. Frankly, the whole bar looked like a place that would not attract anyone who simply wanted a good meal and drinks. The whole point of bars and restaurants is hospitality. The theme was exclusionary, as if not wanting to participate in its yo-ho-ho bonhomie meant you were not welcome. I would not feel comfortable going into a place in which the chef spits out his own food and the point of the cocktails is to drink to intoxication, while loading everything up with so much sugar you will have a hangover for days. I do think naming it so blatantly "Corporate" was insensitive on the show's part as Tracy's fantasy is inherently anti-corporate. But this self-regard as some sort of rebel (don't forget that pirates are historically raping thieves) can never coexist with a desire to make money honestly and by dint of hard work.
Craig February 13, 2013 at 01:01 AM
I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED that it is still in business. I went there once in the summer, when they had live Reggae. Not bad. But then I went on a Tuesday night a few weeks ago - COMPLETELY dead. They were literally losing money every minute they stayed open. Such an awesome location. I am going to keep my eye on it and once bankruptcy or the end of this business comes (I am going to throw out a prediction: April 2013), lets see what comes in there. Could be such a chill, awesome spot but they made it into a creepy Halloween place with Pirate junk everywhere and a completely under-utilized back area (outdoors). Sad.
Craig February 13, 2013 at 01:03 AM
I don't understand how they can stay in business? I'm guessing they've just used the show to buy a little more time. They are so, so bad at attracting a crowd. It could be such a nice little bar with a spot in back for live music during summer. Instead... it just creeps me out.
Kyle February 25, 2013 at 11:30 PM
I can't believe that they would opt out on making good money and a real living to dress up like lame ass pirates and live a stupid fantasy in a place that will never succeed this lady has mental issues and her husband also has them I feel sorry for her daughter hopefully she doesn't turn out like them and hopefully this pirate tavern closes for good so no one has to have another shitty time in that lame ass wannabe bar they should have left it they way bar rescue made it cause they would be actually making money now not living a shitty fantasy life with no place to go but her parents basement I feel sorry for her parents too having to put up with that joke of a husband also
Connee Sheckler February 26, 2013 at 01:03 PM
Jon Taffer had it right with his first comment about the owner "she's delusional" and obviously stinks at math. Anyone that can run a bar until they're $900,000 (!) in the hole and continue to think that catering to an insufficient amount of "regulars" which is obviously not increasing profits IS delusional. In the 1970's, there was a restaurant/bar in Rockville called G.D. Graffiti's. The interior was an old-fashioned design (1930's/1940's). The waiters and waitresses, dressed like gangsters and "molls", talked in Brooklyn accents. After dinner, they would arrive at your table with a fake gun case (complete with bullet holes), opening it up to reveal the dessert menu. We went a few times but the food wasn't that good. The novelty eventually wore off and Graffiti's went out of business. Sound familiar to the Piratz scenario? I have read all of the comments and I agree. I feel most sorry for the owner's daughter.
Ian Brett Cooper March 04, 2013 at 02:28 PM
I saw the show and the problem was that the people behind the show didn't do a 'bar rescue': they did a 'bar destruction and rebuild', completely gutting the theme and turning it into a cynical corporate moneymaker. The problem with Piratz isn't the theme, it's the staff and the food, both of which are (or were on the two occasions I've made the mistake of eating there) appalling. If they could get someone who could cook, someone who could mix drinks, someone who could serve, and someone competent to clean the toilets, the bar would be a winner. If the folks at 'Bar Rescue' would have limited themselves to that, and maybe an upgrade of the bar interior to make it look even more like a pirate themed pub, everyone could have been happy. You don't have to destroy the owner's dream in order to turn around a business. Again, the theme was not the problem.
Pirate Randy March 14, 2013 at 09:11 AM
How are they able to pay suppliers and pay their staff? And.the overhead along with their taxes?
poorrichard April 01, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Totally agree. Didn't the owner tell the producers that she wanted to keep the Pirate theme? Or is this a question of Bar Rescue telling owners that all responsibility for the make-over remains in the hand of Taffer and company. She is free to follow her dream even as it sinks into the Potomac River. If she were smart, which obviously she is not, it would be better to move to Florida where a Pirate themed bar would thrive, provided she had good staff and cogent business acumen..
Kenneth Dupree April 15, 2013 at 05:10 AM
I guess the 900k in debt was staged also the fact that she didn't make money for last five or six years was staged too, oh, she lives in a basement with her husband and teenage daughter if you consider that a good bar then maybe you need to be rescued.
Craig April 18, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Great point Larry! "Tax Hike" Ike Leggett claims to want a "vibrant" night scene in Silver Spring a la Arlington and DC... but instead we have this kind of stinker. HOW ARE THEY STILL IN BUSINESS? They should write a book... it can be the anti-MBA book on "how to be awful at the restaurant business but still stay in operations for several years."
larry m April 18, 2013 at 03:16 AM
Bar is a shithole and its employees a bunch of previously unemployed morons who dont have a clue because they have lived lives absent of responsible thinking as has the moron owner. My question woud be this: where the hell did this absent minded bitch get 900 thousand dollars to wasteon her delusional idea for a.bar. My guessis this, her obviously not american boyfriend/husband has qualified for federal loans that none of us sensible and hard working americans could ever qualify for. When money comes easily it isnt appreciated or wisly invested. Look at the waste and poor decision making that takes place every day within out pathetic and corrupt government, the decision making process is a mirror image of the stupidity that exists in piratz....the bottom line is this , i work far too hard for the money i have and have far too little free time to waste it on shitty experiences and piratz is an insanely shitty experience.contrary to what matt thinks i have been to piratz and will never go there again!!!
Ian Brett Cooper April 18, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Loans have to be paid back, no matter what the nationality of the person taking out the loan. Why don't you take your time machine back to the 1850s where your bigotry, coarse language, baseless assumptions and thinly veiled racist notions might find a more appreciative audience.
jag April 18, 2013 at 05:43 AM
larry m, you badly need some sort of medication. Please seek help.
angel azzrio June 18, 2013 at 01:45 AM
i felt the dirt of the bar and from an entirely different country.. i agree there seemed to be a mental issue with the owners.. even a control issue.. you have a restaurant with a chef that cant cook .. also the one eyed guy seems to be a man child.. and not a normal child.. it looked dark dank and dirty .. i could not believe such stupidity actually existed
Dina Wilder September 01, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Just saw the repeat of this show this afternoon. I'm sure glad I don't vacation in Silver Springs! What a joke! I don't care what anybody says in defense of this place, I agree with Angel...I could feel the dirt from an entirely different country! WOW...GROW UP! How old are you? Still living with your parents? I'd kick you the hell out! What a bunch of losers!
Brandi Nemer Mastain September 29, 2013 at 05:00 PM
The bar owner is a huge selfish loser. She does not care what the stress she is putting on her parents. She doesn't care how embarrassing it is for her daughter to have NOTHING, while living with her grand parents. Wonder if she lives in the basement with her mom. Bar owner, a f'n idiot. The chance to be financially secure, a one in a lifetime opportunity. Grow the he** up and think of those who you PERSONALLY are financially and emotionally SCREWING OVER. Such a damn idiot.
Brandi Nemer Mastain September 29, 2013 at 05:06 PM
It also occurred to me that she is probably screwing over TONS of creditors, just to live as a pirate. So she will probably file for bankruptcy, and stick them other hard working SERIOUS businesses, with the loss.
Nunya Dambinness March 10, 2014 at 06:34 PM
To the stupid among you asking "why not give it a chance " the answer is "because it's a pirate bar." That you don't get that says everything about why you're living in your mom's basement.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something