Best Bar Rescue Episodes Ranked

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Step aside Gordon Ramsay because there’s an even angrier hospitality/ food TV personality and his name is Jon Taffer…. Despite looking like the world’s angriest Republican waxwork, Taffer’s still mega successful Bar Rescue is in the midst of its ninth season and is one of the only things worth getting Paramount+ for. Well that and Spongebob…. Anyway, with it showing no signs of slowing down, no matter how much evidence comes out about scripting, we thought we’d rank the very best of Fox News’s shoutiest hospitality specialist’s show. With that out of the way here is some history about the show.


Bar Rescue first debuted in 2011 on Spike, does anyone remember that channel?, and aired its first 5 seasons on the channel. It then switched to Paramount+ where it still currently resides with all 253 and counting episodes. This includes various specials and pilots. The show follows a very similar format to Kitchen Nightmares with use of hidden cameras and recon spies being used by Taffer to assess the direness of a bar’s situation.

He normally then enters with his revolving cast of experts, all of whom get smash bros style introductions, to try and fix the bar. And rinse and repeat for 253 episodes…. Whilst the show is immensely successful it has often been criticised for inflating drama and making bars out to be worse than they appear. But then that seems like standard reality TV practice to be fair… Anyway, with the history out of the way here are the best episodes of Bar Rescue (so far)…

10. Desi You Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do (S5, E20)

Starting off our list of the best Bar Rescue episodes is one of the iconic clips which always seems to circulate their Youtube channel: the iconic Desi episode. While there is a very tragic undertone to this episode with the bar’s owner Desi recently suffering a stroke, he seems to get a stroke of luck when Jon Taffer turns up. However, naturally it takes a while for Jon and his very shouty Republican spiel to set in leading to a near iconic walkout scene. A good episode elevated by the memeability of the walkout. 

9. Casually Tapped Out (S5, E22)

Similarly to Kitchen Nightmares, not all the bars featured on Bar Rescue survive Jon Taffer’s shouty whirlwind as seen by the casual tap in this episode. Again, similarly to Desi this episode has a tragic undertone with a retired firefighter who has just fallen out of love with the industry. Can’t say I blame him too much there…. Cue many, many fire puns as Taffer and his experts attempt to re-ignite this ex fireman’s spark for his bar and the industry. Although I’m sure this won’t lead to yet more burnout… Honestly, the sparks fly in this episode. 

8. Punch Drunk and Trailer-Trashed (S3, E33)

Take that Gordon Ramsay….. Whilst it took nearly 8 series for Gordon to walk away from a Kitchen Nightmare, it only took Taffer 3 series. But in fairness, it’s entirely valid given how horrendous behaviour is turned up by Taffer in a background check. Needless to say, the episode wasn’t even initially supposed to air given the owner got into a very real assault case and it was only an accident which led to Spike broadcasting the episode. When the episode physically can’t do a recon segment because of the drunkenness of most of the staff, that’s when you know just how dangerous and dire the situation was here. Needless to say, Jon took his hurricane of Republican buzzwords right onto another bar in short haste.

And so now we come to the Series 9 finale. Yes, Bar Rescue often averages close to 30 episodes per series these days because Paramount are damn sure getting their money’s worth. So, how does Jon set about rescuing a bar owned by a former travel agent before it crashes and burns? Well he adds an e to the Grill in the bar’s name… Now that’s what I call a classy move…. Whilst I’m mostly kidding, it is funny to think of the conversation between Taffer and his crew before somebody just suggested putting an E on the end and calling it a day. Again, just another very solid Bar Rescue episode.

6. JJ’s Sports Bust (S8, E24)

For all of those avid Bar Rescue and wrestling fans, this episode is an absolute delight given it features two wrestlers who left WWE after Wrestlemania two years ago. Though one has since returned…. I am of course referring to Trinity Fatu and Mercedes Varnado (aka Mercedes Mone) who Taffer uses as two of FOUR recon spies. Good lord, I didn’t realise this was a KGB operation. Anyway, if I’m right this is the episode where Jon spends a lot of time talking about Maria Menounos’s love of potato skins but I could be mistaken. Anyway, this is a lot of fun mostly just for how much I may have popped for Mercedes and Trinity’s cameos.

5. Bar Rescue: Operation Puerto Rico (S6, E19)

Sometimes it’s fair to say that Bar Rescue gets weirdly real for a reality show and this episode is the perfect example. When a bar and the surrounding area in Puerto Rico is absolutely devastated by a hurricane, Jon and an assortment of famous celebrities, including Mark Cuban and Bethenny Frankel amongst others, pitch in to save it. Oh and the fact that Taffer puts up $12,000 to stop the bar owners losing their house due to mortgage repayments is incredibly generous and almost makes you forget the many, many weird things he’s said on Fox News. Overall, an incredibly wholesome episode.

4. Game Over (S8, E23)

If these owners really needed advice on how to run a retro arcade style bar they should just have looked over to the UK and NQ64. Shout to those who have been but anyway this episode threatens to be game over for two things. The first (and obvious) thing is the bar but the second one seems slightly more severe given it’s about the owner’s marriage. Though they should probably thank their lucky stars they ended up on Bar Rescue and not Marriage Rescue because then it really might have been game over…. Sorry about the puns but I’ve got a high bar to clear….

3. Things That Go Pahrump in the Night (S5, E23)

Considering that I’ve spent three years in Liverpool which is famous for its Irish bars, this episode is very funny to watch. As one of Jon’s experts points out, despite both the chef and lead bartender being Irish it’s as if an American opened an Irish bar. And that is damning given the fact the owner is Irish… Also, I don’t care if you’re Irish but gulping down 4 ounce shots of alcohol is very whisky business regardless of your nationality. Again, it baffles me how no matter how terrible the bar is, nobody seems to know how to cook decent chicken wings which is strange. Anyway, it’s fair to say Packy got the luck of the Irish here….

2. Wreck it Ralph (S8, E12)

Unfortunately this isn’t some mad Bar Rescue crossover with the animated film although that’d be awesome. Instead it focuses on a bar owner called Ralph who seems to have, in the words of Taffer, turned True Grit into True Shit. Now that’s what Paramount pays him the big bucks for… Besides some very sassy wordplay, this episode is also part of the Las Vegas residency series where Taffer deals with a lot of bars who struggled in the aftermath of the pandemic. Somehow that context is making me old…. Overall, an episode full of the same shouting and puns which keeps Bar Rescue chugging along.

1. Magically Atrocious (S8, E20)

And the best episode of Bar Rescue (so far) is…. Magically Atrocious. Now, I’m sure a regular Bar Rescue viewer is aware of some of the mad ass bar names Taffer has visited but Cerealholic Cafe and Bar takes the biscuit. Why make a bar which is what students turn into before the student loan hits their bank account? Anyway, I could describe the sheer weirdness of this bar but it really needs to be seen to be believed especially with the, how shall I say, interesting decoration and interior design? Either way, this is Bar Rescue to a tee in the absolute beast way imaginable….

So those are our favourite Bar Rescue Episodes so far but what about yours? Let us know in the comments below!