29-year old, Darian Blanchard is turning his bar around.
“When I bought T.J. Quill’s, I knew what I was getting myself into. I just didn’t know how bad it was,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard decided to buy the bar because him and his friends used to hang out there. He thought it was a great idea until things started to spiral out-of-control.
In recent months, T.J. Quill’s was having a hard time making a profit, and got a reputation for being an underage party spot, and was on the verge of losing their liquor license, but now it’s a new day.
The old T.J. Quill’s is now called The Annex bar. It got a facelift when Jon Taffer and his crew from Spike TV’s hit show, “Bar Rescue” came to New Orleans to help fix up the place and turn things around.
“Taffer really taught me and the guys how to get the bar functioning better. They try to put as much pressure on you to make you break, so that we could become better,” he said.
Blanchard wanted and needed the bar’s image to change. Being on the show he said has helped in a huge way.
“I wanted to change the age, wanted to get out of the high school feel.”
Attracting a more mature clientele meant making the bar less grungy and more hip.
“One of the first things we got was a shot chiller. The shots are between 0-5 degrees, so really cold shots. The girls love cold shots,” he said.
In addition to the shot chiller, the show provided “Get the Smoke Out” smoke eaters which clean the air 13 times in an hour.
“Now people walk in and they don’t even smell the smoke,” Blanchard said.
In the past, T.J.’s never sold food. Taffer and his staff made sure the bar now serves food. Bar patrons tend to stay longer and drink more at bars where food is being sold.
“This is the coolest thing they gave us. A very expensive piece of equipment. This Turbo Chef is a super cooking machine,” he said.
He’s excited about his bar’s future. He feels grateful his bar was rescued.
“The show taught me to grow up. Instead of being a friend to my staff, just a fraternity guy, I became a business owner,” Blanchard said.