Spoiler Alert: Bar Rescue Hates Metalheads, Helps Kill Rocky Point Cantina
First you have to know that SpikeTV still exists. Then you'll have to take my word that one of its reality shows is a Kitchen Nightmares clone called Bar Rescue. Then you'll have to know that Tempe's Rocky Point Cantina (briefly known as Havana Cabana) is the bar the show will set out to rescue Sunday night.
Voice Places Rocky Point Cantina, pre-Bar-Rescue.
Only then can you begin to understand what's weird about this story. But this is probably the easiest place to start: Rocky Point Cantina is closed. And Bar Rescue's suggestions had a lot to do with it. (Step one: Get rid of the metal bands people are paying to see.)
The Rocky Point Cantina/Havana Cabana story seems destined to get weirder and more sordid as time goes on, but right now here's what we know about it:
1. Bar Rescue doesn't like metalheadsThis is right in the press release they sent us:
This week, Taffer heads to Havana Cabana Bar and Grill, run by two brothers who have drained their parents' retirement fund by opening an ill-conceived death-metal concert bar. Taffer arrives to run off the metal-head clientele & straighten out this festering mosh pit of failure
I've got no window onto Rocky Point Cantina's finances, but it seems like metal was the least of their problems; by 2013 this was much more a venue with a bar and grill attached than the other way around.
Given the super-glossy, scripted nature of the excerpts, I doubt we'll be seeing a very nuanced picture of this "death-metal concert bar" crowd. But that's the least troublesome part of this bar/reality show relationship.
2. SpikeTV got Rocky Point in trouble with the city of TempeThis is where it gets--well, weirder, at least. Bar Rescue, in addition to driving the metal players from the temple, gave the bar a facelift and a new name, Havana Cabana. Which would be fine, except they didn't bother filing any permits with the city of Tempe.
Which would also be fine, except they told the owners they did. Notes from a Development Review Commission meeting held on July 23 say that "the owner was advised by the producer that all permits for work would be taken care of prior to the bar rehabilitation, and was unaware that the exterior modification was done without authorization."
One possibility to consider: This is part of a backdoor pilot for a show called Reality Show Rescue, in which Bar Rescue's sloppy work is taken to task with an even more hidden set of hidden cameras. The same notes say the Bar Rescue renovation lasted all of four days in late May.
As it turns out, though, the damage had already been done--when Rocky Point Cantina changed its name and altered its business model, it was unwittingly signing away its own live entertainment permit. As it turned out, Havana Cabana couldn't have been a Death Metal Concert Bar even if they'd wanted it to be.