“It’s all one big farce. They cut and paste to their advantage,” Rebelo tells me. “They made a great TV show, and we have no problems.”
It’s unclear whether this is more of the same denial that Taffer cited on the program — or just acceptance of what he and the crew have actually done for Piratz. The failure of Corporate Bar and Grill is beside the point. The crew’s very appearance in Silver Spring has generated boatloads of free publicity for Piratz. Taffer and his consultants also provided suggestions that appear to have been incorporated into the $60,000 renovation of Piratz, including the bar now found in the underused front room.
What’s more, “Bar Rescue” gave the Rebelos some cash and left behind equipment and signage that the owners have either hawked at a yard sale or burned in effigy in a public YouTube video. So in a limited and backhanded way, “Bar Rescue” has done what the owners hoped: It helped upgrade a rickety niche restaurant and pointed out many areas for improvement. That the owners had to make the changes themselves only fuels their pirate persona.
“When this whole thing happened, I said my two biggest regrets are my first husband and ‘Bar Rescue,’ ” Rebelo says. “I can say at this point, no, I don’t have any regrets.”
Rebelo claims Piratz has emerged stronger — a Man O’ War with only a few holes to patch (like hiring a qualified chef) before it’s ready to do battle again. She and her family have found a house of their own, and she expects to be “totally square” with Piratz’s debtors by the end of the year.
But she doesn’t mention what, arguably, is her biggest asset.
His name is Jon Taffer, and his very presence has galvanized the swabs at Piratz Tavern. They’re determined to play pirate in a town that tends to create laws, not flaunt them. Despite this, the same old question dogs the tavern: Will the button-down denizens of Washington support the place? Or will Taffer have the last laugh one day as he stands over the corpse of Piratz Tavern and says, with an icy finality, “Outlaws always lose”?