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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bar Rescue in Omaha Final Recap -- PART 4

The final recap?  Really?  It seems like just yesterday that HitThatDive got a "hot tip" that some bar in Bellevue named O'Banion's was going to be the first bar in our area to feel the staged, faked and over-edited "wrath" of Jon Taffer.

A special thanks to the MANY people of the HTD Barstool Telegraph who sent tips in every from possible (practically 24 hours a day) regarding every single misstep of the bumbling Bar Rescue production crew.

The biggest thanks goes to "Guy Incognito" HTD's investigative reporter extraordinaire! I have yet to ever meet, or actually speak to Guy...which made his clandestine reporting that much more fun for me to wake up and read every morning.  So, for the final time on this subject, Guy the HitThatDive stage belongs to you...thanks for everything.


If you don't know by now, the HitThatDive "Office Christmas Party" for charity, will be held at The Village Bar on December 15th.  Tickets go on sale tomorrow right here at www.HitThatDive.com. For a simple $20 donation you get access to a private party at The Village Bar, limited edition t-shirt, drink specials, food, DJ, raffle prizes, Christmas show trivia contest, ugly sweater contest, Bad Santa handing out naughty gifts, Busch Light giveaways, Maker's Mark giveaways, dancing, singing and yes...butt photocopying!

But more importantly, you will be helping to provide three local families with basic necessities like food, clothing and furniture that they desperately need this holiday season.  When was the last time MY $20 ever got me that much during a bar review?  Answer...never.  Don't miss out, make sure to get your spot early!

The HTD Office Christmas Party...don't miss it!

Target #3: O'Face Bar

This double-wide shack in Council Bluffs is basically what you'd expect of an establishment with this name. Beer out of massive mason jars for $3.50 really isn't a bad deal, and in all honesty, I was actually enjoying myself here before Bar Rescue took it over later that night.

I (and I think most other people) had thought this particular night was supposed to be the stress test, but apparently filming was offset by a day, and this was the night where Taffer does his recon like a pervert hunched over his monitor in his dark SUV parked down the street.

Anyone who watches the show knows this is the night where Taffer spies through a camera feed of what's going on in the bar. In all episodes, when this happens, every infraction that could possibly be committed against Taffer's code of ethics is somehow executed beautifully by the bar’s staff while the cameras are capturing for Taffer's recon purposes. I always found it to be odd how that always worked out so well for him, but now I know why.

You see, leading up to the chaos, all was well in the bar. Everyone was acting normal, and I was seriously wondering why the Bar Rescue crew was even present. I knew something had to be happening since the lights were up and the music was off, but I just didn't know what. It was clear that it was not the stress test. I found myself thinking that if Taffer came in and started chewing out the staff, I'd genuinely feel bad for them, as everyone was being served and the employees were friendly enough.

But there was a noticeable difference when everything started going downhill. There was a really strange vibe, and everything about it seemed forced and over-the-top. Outsiders can be quick to say "Well that's just Council Bluffs for ya", but this was different. The suddenness of how everything unraveled was more than any coincidence could explain. It happened very quickly and was way too drastic.

I also think I saw the recon spies Taffer sent in, as they were put directly in harm's way when the bartender lit some sort of shots on fire and created a nice fireball that could've taken off their eyebrows. And then the fact that the Bar Rescue staff had cameras ready for these moments and then blocked the entrances when they knew Taffer was coming just seals the deal.

As to whether or not the staff knows ahead of time that Taffer is coming on your average episode of Bar Rescue, I'd say it's an emphatic yes. There is not a doubt in my mind. So when you see your average Bar Rescue episode and they seem surprised, maybe they're just surprised that he didn't walk in 15 minutes ago. Or they weren't expecting to see him until midnight. The TV show seems to give the impression that perhaps only the owner knows, but now I have a feeling that the staff is probably informed when they are asked to sign waivers and have cameras follow them around everywhere.

I wasn't able to make it to the stress test for O'Face, so I can't speak to what happened there. But I have three theories of what's going on with the recent development that Bar Rescue left town before completing the rescue:

1. Taffer walked away from this rescue in some sort of dramatic grand fashion that we will see on the episode. I heard through an interview that apparently there will be an episode that has yet to air that he does indeed walk away from one of his rescues. This interview was before O'Face's rescue, so perhaps O'Face will be his second time walking away. Let's face it, any place with a Barbie stripper pole probably isn't owned by anyone wanting to change the color of their stripes. And Taffer is a showman who needs to start being more unpredictable, being an even looser cannon for the sake of ratings. By introducing this whole idea that it's possible for him to abandon ship at any moment, a whole new element of surprise is added to the show.

2. Taffer had some sort of personal crisis or there was a very specific reason they needed to leave so they could return later. They might still come back and finish out the episode sometime after Thanksgiving. And, through the magic of TV, the timeline will still appear intact.

They were able to stay
3. Taffer and the crew pulled out when social media was getting too hot about their presence and spilling too much. I found it interesting that The Daily Nonpareil (Council Bluff's local newspaper) actually published a blurb earlier in the week that the grand reopening was going to be Friday. This was obviously untrue if the stress test wasn't on Tuesday like it normally is, as this would put them off of their 5-day shooting schedule and actually place the grand reopening on Saturday. Perhaps the Nonpareil received an early press release that fit with their original shooting schedule, but the Bar Rescue folks tried to change things at the last minute to get jerks like me off their scent, only to still have me tailing them.

Whatever the case, the truth will shake out in time. The O'Face staff is apparently mum on the whole ordeal, and I don't know how long that gag order will last, because obviously someone is going to leak the info at some point.

Overall, I both loved and hated this whole brush with reality television. I loved seeing the inner workings of a show I enjoy watching, but I hated experiencing the long waits and dealing with the ridiculousness of the Bar Rescue staff. I loved the suspense of seeing what would unfold next, but I hated how ugly the truth was when it came to what's staged and what isn't.

Most of all, I loved discovering Scuba Steve's operation at Hit That Dive and enjoyed participating in this odd chapter of Omaha's bar history. Thanks to everyone for reading these words and for your kind feedback, and special thanks to Scuba Steve for allowing me to take the stage for a few of his blog posts.

Keep reading Hit That Dive, because he will steer you toward all the REAL Omaha bars that are managed by competent people who genuinely give a damn about their patrons!

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