Saturday, November 16, 2013

Behind the Scenes with Bar Rescue in Omaha -- Taza Nightclub

"Guy" looking very Moroccan last night
HitThatDive informant, "Guy Incognito" was at it again last night to bring you his in-depth recap of the "ins and outs" of the overly staged (again) reveal at the former Oasis Hookah Bar.

As usual, Guy suffers though another one of these "events" so you don't have to.  It's getting to the point that he doesn't want to go to another one either.  Apparently the Stress Test is far more Bar Rescue-fan friendly if you want to attend the final two spots in Omaha.

Guy, as always, the sticky bar floor is yours my friend...whomever you may be.

"So I drove by my destination at about 7:30 thinking there would be a swarm of people outside since it was a Friday night, but I hardly saw anybody (reminded me of my stress test visit on Tuesday). I did, however, see a crew uncovering the new sign just enough so I could read it: Taza Nightclub. The sign's font makes it look like TaZa. Is it like "ta-da!"? I don't get it, and I don't think we'll know until the episode airs.

I could tell the sign made it appear to have a Persian theme, with cheap-looking arched window graphics (almost like cellophane) plastered in the front windows to complete the look in case we were too stupid to understand what they're going for. I'm just happy for them that they have a normal sign now!

Parking was a chore, but I realized the main reason was Larry the Cable Guy performing at the Orpheum nearby. The Taza Nightclub didn't seem like their scene anyway, so I knew we probably wouldn't be contending with them anytime tonight.

Once I got parked and walked to the general area, security stopped me and told me stuff probably wouldn't be going down until 9:30 or 10. I took this as my cue to get dinner, then returned about 9:15. Just like I saw at Sorties, they were filming multiple takes of the big reveal, with the staff feigning surprise repeatedly.

I ended up at the corner of 15th & Farnam at the same place where they had set up the table with waivers on Tuesday for the stress test, assuming it would be the same drill. The security guard instead tried telling the few people there that the line would be on the other side of the street -- a spot where another security person had just told me NOT to stand as I was running the risk of being in the background of their reveal shots. WTF?

How long will this place last?

So at this point, I knew I was dealing with the same incompetence that reared its head at Sorties, and so I didn't go where he asked, instead staying at the corner. Of course, I trusted my instincts and ended up being right! However, this wasn't without some waiting.

That security guard gave me a timeframe of 10:30 or 11 for the opening. They didn't set up the waiver station on the corner until about 10 or 10:15. At about this time, there was a line of about 25 people. I was feeling pretty good about being close to the front, though, so I didn't feel like I'd have a repeat of my experience at Sorties.

These warm fuzzy feelings of mine began to fade, though, as people started showing up and getting the preferential treatment. While there were some people that blatantly cut in line and were immediately shunned to the back, there were family and friends showing up that were being ushered straight to the front.

So now my place in line was slipping. But you know what? I'll give it up for family and close friends. That's fine, they deserve to be there for their loved ones during this big change. However, I will not be patient with crew members just cramming seemingly random people in front of me who have more of the young clubber look to them. It looks great for the camera to have these people up front, but is just plain downright rude to give the express treatment to people who are arriving late to the show in front of people who have been patiently waiting out in the cold for 2 hours. So much for respecting fans of the show and the average joes who will ultimately determine the club's fate. However, the BR staff will never give the courtesy of explaining why they're shoving people in front of you. But that's showbiz!

It also didn't help that, as of 11:30, there was still no indication of when anything was going to happen. Just more people being packed to the front of the line. Apparently the Bar Rescue staff constructs lines in reverse of social norms. All of us normal people behind all the "VIPs" were starting to get restless and irritated, and the line was stretching almost to the end of the block. It was about 11:50 p.m.(!) when the manager/owner/important person finally came out, greeted everyone, and invited us in. They let the line enter in small waves so as not to overwhelm the staff, because apparently we only do that on the night of the stress test. I didn't have to wait too long before I was in.

The interior of the club was definitely an improvement over what I saw on Tuesday. I will give credit to Taffer for creating a cohesive theme, rather than the random-colored walls and loose tropical motif. I can't say that a Moroccan nightclub is my thing, but if it is anyone else's, this is the place for you! The nightclub seems like Vegas done cheap. It is also quite clearly a nightclub targeted at women.

There was a lot of Arabian furniture, which includes chairs that I don't really consider chairs -- more like cylindrical pillows you can sit on. I'm sure there's an official name for them, but I don't have that readily available. There were many other chairs and sofas and such with the same general theme. So instead of having a lot of comfortable chairs, Taffer has put in seating that will increase social interaction by giving people seating that isn't closed off, and instead allows a full range of motion. I personally prefer a nice comfortable chair to sit in so I can enjoy my drinks for a couple hours. But maybe that's why I'm not a big nightclub guy.

Never would I order any of these!

Also, to round out the nightclub, they did the obvious task of clearing the way for a dance floor. This was logical, and I had a feeling Taffer was going to do this since they had a perfectly good DJ booth with nowhere to dance before the renovation. This was at the sacrifice of some seating, though, so this club certainly promotes a lot more standing and dancing.

The most notable change: NO MORE HOOKAHS!

I had an inkling Taffer would do away with these, and I'm sure when we see the episode, he will spout off some random statistic or study that shows that hookahs are bad business and out of style and kill innocent puppies and so on. I predict that the episode will highlight strife between him and the owner and staff over this change, but he'll find the middle ground with them by creating this Moroccan paradise that is almost as intoxicating as puffing on a hookah. But in all seriousness, I can't help but think they'll bring back the hookahs after the dust has settled if business goes back to the way it was.

It may as well have been the night of the stress test, because I didn't get a drink in my hand until about 12:30. For those keeping score, that's a wait time of nearly 40 minutes from when I walked in the door. My max wait time on the night of the stress test on Tuesday was 12 and a half minutes. So, compare that to 40 minutes on opening night... Taffer's "my work here is done" speech doesn't seem so conclusive this time.

I will say that the new cocktails were very well-crafted, but they aren't enough of a draw for me to come back to this place. I tried all four (yes four total -- not including the shot). None of these cocktails were the ones being featured during the stress test. The only drink that I feel like I'd consistently order would be a minty tea-flavored concoction that was quite delicious. The rest were interesting, but not something I'd order again for $8.25. They also offer all cocktails in a 2-serving bowl or 4-serving bowl to be shared amongst friends, but it's not worth it since they pack so much ice into it that you are hardly getting a better deal than a single-serving that comes with no ice.

So what's a nightclub without a little dancing? No, seriously, where's the dancing? Just like with the stress test, the house lights were up and music was off. There was some new lighting installed over the dance floor for dazzling purposes, but it mainly just looked neat without any music. It wasn't until about a half hour after everyone had gotten settled into the place that they got a DJ behind the booth to play about 15 minutes worth of music and stop. 

 It was enough time for people to temporarily hit the dance floor and the cameras to capture the magic of this former hookah bar's new identity as the greatest dance club to exist next door to a wig shop. As I've learned, the filming process is a very carefully orchestrated art of setting the stage and capturing it in a controlled environment. Since dance music renders camera interviews useless, they had to basically schedule a chunk of time to highlight the dance floor and then shut the music off and continue filming.

Aside from the initial pandemonium of people swamping both of the bars, everything was fairly relaxed. The wait on the drinks was frustrating, but I heard that apparently they were short a staff member -- and it sounds like you can expect some sort of drama with that.

Also, I mentioned earlier that this was clearly a nightclub now aimed at women, and this was further solidified by the fact that the cameras were mainly focused on them, getting their perspective, and showing them have fun. They got drinks in their hands right away, in addition to free shots that the staff brought out on trays.

As for Taffer? I honestly didn't see much of him the whole night. He must've been there for about an hour after the bar opened and split. He moved back and forth from the front of the house to the back, but I saw no yelling tonight. Since I was closer to the back, it's very possible something happened up front, but I would've never known. Typically on the night of the reopening in episodes, Taffer gives his vocal cords a rest and takes a back seat to letting the business operate. This definitely seemed to be the case here, and I never saw his departure, so he must've slipped quietly into the night like the show always suggests.

My assumption as to when he left is around the time that cameras, producers and crew members began to disappear. And at about this time (about 1:15) the DJ started playing music again, the lights went down and patrons started leaving. Huh? Wow, old habits die hard. I made my exit at this time too.

Will I be at the O'Face bar next week? Probably not. If anything, maybe I'll sit in on the stress test again since that was an entertaining thing to witness. But I think it's safe to say that Taza will be the last bar reopening I will ever attend. I've learned that I prefer this show from afar!"

10 comments:

  1. Ottomans! They're called ottomans.

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  2. Egads, that's the word! Thank you! I knew someone with better knowledge of such things would read this and would chime in if I described it. Sadly, the ottomans in Taza were pretty pathetic and uncomfortable, unless stacked.

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  3. Hookahs return in 2 weeks. All new ones no more liquor bottle hookahs

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    1. So, the hookahs return...I just like saying that.

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  4. This recap is precisely the kind of experience we ran into as well - at least before getting into the bar. After getting the runaround several times from different members of the security team we decided to give up on the whole thing and hit up an old favorite instead. From the account of things on the inside, it seems we made the right choice. I can't imagine that place lasting.

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  5. there were alot of things out of the staffs hands both nights. so you shall give it another try and things will be different

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    1. Let me know when you guys are back to where you want to be...

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  6. Hookahs??? Ah, sorry but I agree with JT, hookahs have no place in Nebraska. Why do I just know, that joint is back to the se.

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    1. Taffer took them out and and bar TANKED. Jesse put them back in a two months later and went back to making money. Taffer blew it...again.

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