This Is How Long It Actually Takes To Shoot An Episode Of Bar Rescue

Have you ever walked into a bar that feels like the exact opposite of the Cheers theme song? A cheerless hellhole where you don't want to know anyone's name, and you just regret you came? Maybe it made you want to drink just so the establishment becomes attractive to your booze-confused eyes? The reality series Bar Rescue taps into that feeling and cranks it up to 11... thousand.

A show that might be best described as "alcoholic schadenfreude," the Bar Rescue invites viewers to see awfulness that not even the strongest prescription beer goggles can distort. Armed with withering criticisms and enough screaming to make Al Pacino wince, host Jon Taffer is tasked with being the saving grace of the graceless — places plagued by vermin, moldy ice, and fruit-fly-filled bottles, unconscionable filth, and dangerously undercooked food, per the Paramount Network. Places dumb enough to dub themselves Fatballs, according to Bar Rescue Updates. Places that clearly have no business being in business.

How long does it take to film the rescue mission that gets distilled into a single episode?

Rescuing a weak bar in under a week

Trying to save a bar from itself seems like a herculean task, especially when that bar is basically the business equivalent of a Darwin Award winner. Bar Rescue recruits experts to help employees unlearn staggeringly bad habits and acquire skills they need to reverse their bar's slow-motion implosion. That's got to take months or at least weeks of filming, right? Wrong.

"We shoot for five days," Jon Taffer explained during a 2015 Q&A. The first day is dedicated to observing the bar from afar and comparing it to the local competition. The second day is "the most brutal." Brutal for the bar owner, that is. Taffer basically uses that day to say how much the bar sucks, grinding whatever sense of self esteem an owner might have had into a fine powder that gets vacuumed up — possibly by all the bar's sucking — and tossed in the garbage. Days 3 and 4 are when the experts take the reins. And the last day is when everything comes together for "the big reveal."

That's not a long time to save a sinking ship, and Screen Rant wrote in June 2020 that a little more than half the establishments (74 out of 166) have gone under so far. Considering that they couldn't clear even the lowest bar of acceptability to begin with (if the show is to be taken at face value), saving even half these disasters is a minor miracle.