This article outlines the first Champagne’s Bar Rescue makeover in 2016. For details on the second Champagne’s makeover during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, go here.
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For the season 5 premiere of Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer and crew are in Las Vegas to rescue Champagnes Cafe, a classic dive bar that opened in 1966 with a storied history that includes catering to the Rat Pack and even infamous gangsters. In fact, Frank Cullotta of The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang remains a regular.
The episode, “The Perks of Being a Wallpaper” was filmed back in March, and Taffer dropped “Cafe” from the name, calling it Champagne’s, with the tagline – “Legendary since 1966.” The name change was more of a tweak rather than a rebranding exercise.
Greg Sims bought the bar in 2015 with a $150,000 loan from his mother. Sims is described as “a hell of a nice guy,” perhaps too nice. Greg’s staff take advantage of his easy going personality, and even refer to him as a “pussy.” As a result, the bar is $150,000 in debt, losing between $3,000 and $4,000 a month, and will be forced to shut down in three months, unless things change.
A Closer Look
During the makeover, the iconic wallpaper was NOT removed or cleaned. Taffer even left the dirty carpet, which was taken from a local casino. A kitchen was on Sims’ wish list, but was taken off the table due to licensing and structural issues. Taffer’s crew removed most of the booths and added new tables, and modern gold colored furniture. The walls were given an update with the addition of photos of Vegas from the 1960s and lighting fixtures. Drink prices were increased, but only slightly and the bathrooms were untouched.
Champagne’s has an active Facebook Page, website and Instagram account. You can also check out owner Greg Sims’ personal Facebook Page. Bar regular Frank Cullotta also has a personal Facebook Page. If you’re looking for some more Candy, you can check out bartender Candy Stone‘s personal Facebook Page for some very REVEALING photos. Champagne’s bartender Raleigh Mowrer also has a personal Facebook Page, with some photos posted. You can check out Champagne’s Doorman and Host Palamino Garcia‘s Facebook Page.
As we mentioned earlier, Greg was hoping to add a kitchen and serve food, but due to special circumstances that was not an option. However, Greg appears have found a way to indirectly give customers a food option by allowing a local food truck to set up in the bar’s parking lot.
Saved By The Jon
Greg took to Facebook to thank Jon for the rescue and said since the makeover, the publicity has boosted the bar’s business and it’s now doing well. Greg also said the show is not scripted and to look for Candy to be the star of the show when it airs Sunday. His full post is available below:
So the trailer is out on youtube for our Bar Rescue episode this Sunday. The butterflies are definitely growing. Believe it or not, nothing in the show is scripted. They definitely pushed for the drama though. My staff definitely amped up their stories. Look for Candy to be the star of the show. She definitely knows how to stir it up. They’re all pretty awesome by the way. Candy, Autumn and Raleigh really are bartenders here…no actors. Autumn got to do her very first bar shift on camera….no stress there. The entire staff is awesome and have supported me and the bar since the day I took over, and I’m eternally grateful. Thanks to Frank Cullotta for doing the show. I pushed Bar Rescue to use him, and I know they’re happy I suggested it.
BTW, the show has really boosted business already due to all the local press and is doing well. They got me through the slow season in Vegas, which is brutal. Not sure that I would have made it through without them. Thanks Jon!
Since the rescue, Champagne’s added a Bitcoin ATM.
Champagne’s now has a bitcoin atm! Buy your bitcoin here!
Stay and have a drink and check out the…
Champagne’s is holding a viewing party during Sunday’s broadcast on Spike with all Bar Rescue cocktails priced at $4.00 for the day.
The Reviews Are In
As always, we like to take a look at online reviews since the Bar Rescue makeover. Overall, Yelp reviews are positive, with just a few complaints. It’s also important to note that food is not offered at Champagne’s, so that will have an impact on reviews. Here’s a sample of some reviews since the makeover:
- Went to check out the remodel. The bar looks so much better but still feels like the classic champagnes everyone knows and loves. The service was great.
- This place is great! I have been here twice. It is a great dive bar with a fun karaoke night. I love the old school decor and the local feel.
- Found this spot by accident and glad I did. Reminds me of a club I used to own with Rolando. Brings friends or don’t you will have a great time regardless.
- First time visiting this place. Decided to visit after the recent remodel. I really like the place and the atmosphere. Sat at the bar and Autumn was my bartender. She was very friendly and knowledgable.
- Your standard Vegas dirty dive bar. Decent drinks, decent prices, and a clientele that is fun to watch at 3:30 in the morning.
- Always been one of the token go to dive bars in Vegas. Got a little TLC and looks better than ever but hasn’t lost its local feel and the service is great.
- Why would they get rid of the original sign out front? It was amazing the new sign is ridiculous . I was born and raised here and hung out at this bar in the day ! Sad they got rid of something that made them unique .
- Post Bar Rescue. I never got here before Taffer did but post-Taffer the wall paper is peeling, the bathrooms are almost as scary as the bad Karaoke but at least the drinks are reasonable priced.
Episode Promo Videos
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