RALEIGH — A Raleigh nightclub is getting a much-needed makeover this week from Bar Rescue, a popular reality show that airs on Spike, a cable television network.
Cashmere, a self-described upscale nightclub and lounge, was called a big challenge by Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, who said the club has been losing $12,000 a month.
It had one of the drunkest, most obnoxious managers Ive ever seen, Taffer said. He has been terminated.
Taffer is the owner of a bar and nightclub consulting firm and has hosted Bar Rescue for each of the shows three seasons.
Cashmere is one of two Wake County bars that the Bar Rescue crew made over in the last two weeks for episodes that will air this summer. The other, the former Characters Corners in Garner, reopened last week as MoonRunners Saloon with a nicer interior and improved operations.
Cashmere shares a lobby and a thumping-bass-permeating wall with Sullivans Steakhouse in downtown Raleighs Glenwood South district. Taffer, who said he and the crew enjoyed a really wonderful dinner at Sullivans Wednesday night, admitted part of the challenge in transforming Cashmere (which will have a new name Saturday) has been repairing the bars precarious relationship with the swanky steakhouse. The first step in that, says Taffer, is a redesigned sound system hung on mounts, which keeps the bass from coming through the walls.
Brandon Klintworth, a Raleigh landscaper who owns Cashmere and who requested the shows help, was described by Taffer as a really good guy in serious financial trouble because of the bars mismanagement.
With these bar rescues, I really take that seriously, Taffer said. When I look into somebodys eyes and theyre in trouble, then it becomes personal. It becomes almost a vendetta.
Taffer says the managers drunken behavior is captured on hidden cameras placed in the bar by the show and will be shown when the episode airs.
A crew from Bar Rescue has been at Cashmere all week evaluating the scene and making decisions about how to transform the business.
The Cashmere employees knew they were finalists for a makeover but didnt know if they had been selected until Taffer walked through the door Tuesday night.
Before it was Cashmere, the Glenwood Avenue location was occupied by the George, a tapas restaurant and wine bar. Before that, it was April and George, an upscale wine bar and art gallery. Cashmere took over the spot in the summer of 2009. The Cashmere website advertised DJ dance parties and ladies night drink specials.
In the most recent Yelp.com review of Cashmere, a patron who identified herself as an N.C. State student gave Cashmere 1 star, complaining of overpriced drinks served in plastic cups and tips added to credit card bills without authorization. The most recent review before that described the bar as only ok if you are enough drinks in that you do not care anymore.
Taffer cant give away details of Cashmeres transformation but says the concept is different.
Were doing something very unique, he said. Actually, something Ive never done before and never seen before. Its going to be high-energy, reasonably upscale really nice, energetic nightclub. But the way were presenting the entertainment is extremely unique.
Taffer has also brought in a chef to develop a small-plate menu and a mixology team to improve drinks. The changes are paid for by the show and its sponsors.
The Bar Rescue team spent last week filming the makeover of Characters Quarters, a bar and grill in Garner.
That restaurants owner, Charlie Alexander, said that even though the week of filming was stressful, he couldnt be happier with the results.
The whole crew was warm and friendly, Alexander said. Jon Taffer was really concerned with us as people. And I think Im a pretty good judge of character.
Cashmere was closed Friday, but a reveal party, which is open to the public, is planned for late Saturday night.
Staff writer Kyle Jahner contributed to this report.