Spike TV's 'Bar Rescue' Renovates Piratz Tavern

The new restaurant will be unveiled to the public Saturday night, according to Spike TV officials.

Piratz Tavern officially closed at midnight and will be reborn by Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer through a 36-hour massive renovation.

Taffer won’t be making these changes to the downtown Silver Spring bar by himself. His expert team includes Chef Josh Capon, Mixologist Elayne Duke, and high-end service specialist Jessie Barnes. Collectively, they will retrain the wait staff on the fundamentals of serving, mixing signature drinks and preparing basic menu ideas that are still tasty.

Renovating the restaurant will cost about $250,000, Taffer said. That includes the design work, furniture, painting, remodeling, kitchen equipment, cleaning, signage and the experts' time.

A soft opening Thursday evening gave the staff an opportunity to practice for their real opening night. That is when Taffer purposely turns up the heat on the staff.

“I gotta see who holds up and who doesn’t. Some employees bubble up to the top and become heroes," he said. "I might lose one or two. If I do, so be it, better now than later."

When Silver Spring residents attend the official opening Saturday night, they will experience a completely new restaurant. Taffer said there will be a complete overhaul from “the entire concept, menu changes [and] uniform changes.”

The renovation process began when Taffer asked the owner, Tracey Rebelo, and her wait-staff to remove all of the pirate-themed elements from the walls leaving only paint and drywall.

Getting to this point wasn’t easy for Rebelo and her wait staff.

In February, she learned of her fate, that her five-year-old pirate-themed restaurant on Georgia Avenue, could be a finalist on the Spike TV makeover show Bar Rescue.

“Obviously, we wouldn’t have accepted the offer if we weren’t in trouble,” Rebelo said.

At this point, she doesn’t have any idea of what the new restaurant will be like until it’s unveiled this weekend, but she remains open to the new concept.

“I don’t want to alienate the client base," Rebelo said. "Our regulars come here because they are eclectic like us."

She said the change has to be something phenomenal to make a difference, but knows she doesn’t want a sports bar.

“I’m intrigued and very interested to see what happens,” she said.

The show is set to air later this summer on Spike TV.

Sonia Dasgupta contributed to this article.

What type of food do you want to see on the menu? Tell us in the comments.

Kathy Jentz February 17, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Will someone post when the air date is set?
jag February 17, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Very much looking forward to it! I really, really hope this place has turned it around and the kitschy pirate theme is dead and gone.
Francine Blume February 17, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Please please please retain the steak on a stone. That was the best steak in the whole DC area. I was born in Texas and raised in the Midwest, so I know what I'm talking about.
Alicia February 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I was there when they were filming last Friday. It needs a redo.
Ingrid Nichols February 17, 2012 at 04:11 PM
I hope the food gets better, it's a fun place but terrible food...
Annie L February 17, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Piratz Tavern was more than a restaurant to a lot of people - it was a home for those with eclectic sensibilities. To have its soul ripped out is devastating, and Silver Spring needs another "white collar lunch spot" like it needs another ice cream place (there are three within a block of each other). A lot of people are grieving today.
jag February 17, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Hopefully more people are happy about it than are grieving. Otherwise, this place won't be able to turn it around and will just go under. I very much doubt the place is going to have anything to do with lunch, white collar or otherwise. Maybe the pirate theme isn't even gone - it's certainly possible to be eclectic without being over the top/kitschy.
Tamika Smith (Editor) February 17, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Kathy- The crew isn't sure yet about an air date but I bet once they closer to finishing up the editing of the episode they will have a better idea of that. Don't worry though Patch will be getting the sneak peak :)
Mary Schmidt February 19, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I was genuinely excited for the reorganization and renovation that would turn this into a place I’d actually enjoy frequenting. I figured I’d show my support and see the new place. When we got there we were assigned numbers, and put in a long line in the cold night air. One of my coworkers asked what time the bar was opening. He was told in a very condescending manner, “for the last time, the bar opens at 10:00!” It was 10:20. We continued to stand in line as my legs went numb. FINALLY, at 11:40, the line began to move. And then stopped. My party did not get seated. At midnight we finally gave up. I expressed my frustration to a number of the people with the show, and no one an apology, a kind word, or advice. Apparently you treat people with extreme disdain. I was thoroughly insulted, and beyond angry as I walked away. What started out as an interested attempt to support local business by my colleagues and myself ended up with the feeling that we never want to go back. Perhaps PR is not the strong point of ANY of the Production Assistants with this show, but it is a pity that there wasn’t someone to run interference, that apparently no one gave a thought to what potential customers might actually think…or did everyone involved assume that there were no real potential customers in the group? On the very first night you have managed to alienate a small but significant percentage of your customer base. Is this a bar resuscitation, or just a TV stunt?
jag February 20, 2012 at 04:45 AM
"On the very first night you have managed to alienate a small but significant percentage of your customer base." Why are you blaming the bar ownership/staff for the actions of the TV show's producers? It's not the bar's fault so I'm not sure why you'd feel like an alienated customer. Of course the TV show doesn't care that you stood outside - they had enough people to shoot their show and that's what the night was for. Here's hoping the bar is good once it opens for real.
Eva Whitley February 20, 2012 at 06:01 AM
The reason why we can't get other people to go to Piratz--and the reason why we stopped going--is unbelievably bad, clueless service. Been in there when we were the only customers and it was slow and erratic. I loved the decor, loved the menu, but in the end just could not put up with the bad service. Hope they have a clue now.
Brian W. February 20, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I always experienced Piratz Tavern as the Silver Spring outpost for folks involved in the Renaissance Faire/Pirates of the Caribbean subculture: a very small, but still interesting group of people. Clearly not a business model that could sustain a bar/restaurant in the environment in which it was located. Add to this the medocre food and service that many experienced, it did not make for much repeat business for those outside the subculture that found a home there. I liked the large rum selection and the private outdoor patio. I know families with kids liked the pirate themed restaurant for its ability to distract & entertain the kids. I have my doubts that Jon Taffer's makeover correctly reads the Silver Spring customer base and will have any staying power but I will reserve judgment. I will however miss the "eclectic" crowd and the added personality Piratz Tavern represented in increasingly cookie-cutter downtown Silver Spring.
Trevor K February 21, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Corporate Bar and Grill? That's the new name and persona? I know they wanted to change things up a little ... but that is so far to the extreme. I can't imagine that the owners are thrilled with the change. They opened a pirate themed bar. That kind of says to me that they wanted exactly the opposite of a place called "Corporate" anything. I wish them the best, but I'm sad that they ripped the soul out of the place.
BPat February 22, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Corporate Bar and Grill is a dumb name. On their sign (logo), the image of a man in a suit and tie is very sexist. I think their by line should be "I am the 1%" I am not going there. By the way, I was not a fan of Piratz place. Theme was fun, but food and execution was lacking. They need another make over.
Interrobang February 22, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Strange -- the Piratz Tavern web site says it's "still open": http://www.piratztavern.com/
jag February 22, 2012 at 03:05 PM
It's remarkable the number of people who don't understand the new theme is purposefully ironic. I don't see how they could have made it more obvious.
jag February 22, 2012 at 03:06 PM
The "still open" tag line has been on that site for as long as I can remember. It doesn't have anything to do with the current situation.
jag February 22, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Not to say I like the name, haha.
Double a July 30, 2012 at 02:43 AM
What a stupid stupid lady. Just got done watching the bar rescue episode. A total renovation to a failing bar and the owner throws it all away. Good luck being $900,000 in debt.
Charles Schelle July 30, 2012 at 03:07 AM
SpikeTV just posted their post-show recap which includes a bizzare musical YouTube video of the Piratz people burning the Corporate Bar sign. I'm a huge fan of Bar Rescue, and while the name should have been different, going back to the same thing that kept your family living in your parents basement is a little crazy. http://www.spike.com/articles/kfhssf/bar-rescue-post-show-recap-the-piratz-strike-back#.UBXwcbwAptU.twitter
mr. parker July 30, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Trying the same thing again will lead to the same results. The Rebelo's are fools. Wait until the bills come due. Maybe they can chang the name to Chapter 7.
rest73 August 02, 2012 at 07:08 AM
They burn the sign, re-paint the bar, call Taffer an A**hole, and go right back to what HASN'T worked for 5 years. All it has achieved is putting them is $900k of debt. You have the EXACT same problems as before. Yes, you have new equipment and a new paint-job, but the food is still INEDIBLE and the service is still terrible. I agree the name change could have been a bit "softer" but what did they seriously think would happen when Taffer had everyone going around to corporate offices in suits and ties, trying to drum-up the local business people in the surrounding buildings? OK. I get it. They don't like uniforms. They don't like corporate. They don't want rules. I get it; but we're not 12. Pretending to "stick it to the man" just isn't cool anymore. Where are they going to work when Piratz closes and is $2 mil in debt? I'll tell you where..... they are all going to be wearing a uniform. Working in a "corporate" restaurant. Following the set rules. (ala: Applebees, Chili's, etc) Maybe when Piratz fails the Rebelo's can open a bar in Tracy's Mom's basement. And speaking of the Rebelo's, since when is it cool to be 40 and living in your Mom's basement unable to take care of yourself or your family? Oh. That's right. Never.
Dan Pittman August 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM
The husband could not cook and seemed to be younger than the wife. Did he get a green card by marrying the owner. Seemed pretty fishy.
Gayla Miller February 25, 2013 at 11:08 PM
if you love living in the basement of your mom house then ya it a good thing but if you want something better than yes you have to cater to the white collare


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