PAWTUCKET – A camera crew and two bar and restaurant experts visited Pawtucket last week to film the first episode of a new online series titled “Bar Crashers.”
The episodic series is a collaboration between Move Films, Invictus Hospitality and the Night Club & Bar: The Bar Industry Authority. On each episode, celebrity chef Brian Duffy and bar expert Michael Tipps, the hosts of the show, visit various bars in a specific town or city to help figure out a better business model. Each episode targets a new community. The show is targeted to bar owners and managers, Duffy said.
Tipps and Michael Abbott are the series’ creators and executive producers of the show. They worked to co-write the first episode.
“If we can give them a little bit of an insight on something they can do to make a change, then we’re good,” Duffy said. “We feel confident in that. We feel comfortable that we’re able to take that information and share it with other people.”
Unlike with the already established and popular “Bar Rescue” show, these two believe that “not everybody needs to be yelled at.”
During their time in Pawtucket last week, Bar Crashers producers visited Plouffe’s Diner & Pub, Boundary Brewhouse, and Crooked Current Brewery to consult with the bars and bar managers. They also filmed at The Guild, though they did not critique the brewery as they did with the other three.
Tipps and Duffy offered various recommendations and observations to each bar. They chose the three bars because they were each very different and offered a variety for the opening episode, Tipps said.
“Plouffe’s had great food and their bar just needed a lot of development and work from operations to concept, where Boundary Brewhouse, their buildout and their bar is very comparable to major cities, like LA or New York,” he said, reasoning that was why more people from Providence than Pawtucket may visit the bar. “Their food program needed some work. It wasn’t bad, but it needed some development to match the buildup of the bar. ”
Bar Crashers producers decided to film their first episode in Pawtucket because they wanted a place that represents working America, not a big city, Tipps said.
“Pawtucket has a lot of historical, Colonial America,” he said. “It’s pretty awesome. Everyone here is pretty progressive and awesome. You’re surrounded by big brothers with Boston and Providence and there’s this little tiny town called Pawtucket that everyone knows.”
Mayor Donald Grebien and members of his office jumped in to help plan the Pawtucket visit, Tipps said.
“To the mayor’s credit, it really shows him going above and beyond in that element,” he said. “He really obviously cared about this cause and wanted to support the bars and restaurants in Pawtucket, which is a very, very rare thing and attributes to what a great mayor he is.”
Not only did the crew feel welcome in the town because of the mayor, but Abbott said the bars also felt very welcoming.
“The hospitality of each of these places was very nice, which does say a lot about the community,” he said. “You feel comforted and home there. You don’t feel like stand-offish.”
Jeremy Duffy, cofounder of the Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket (not related to Brian Duffy) said the mayor’s office reached out about a week before filming to see if Bar Crashers could feature the brewery in the show. The day the filming took place, there was canning and brewing taking place at the brewery, he said.
“It’s great to be able to showcase what we’re doing here and cool things that we’re doing for our partners,” he said. “This is more about Pawtucket and the start of all the great things that we have in front of us.”
The episode is planned to launch in late January, with promos and clips starting earlier in the month, Abbott said. Various episodes will run between eight and 14 minutes. The main hub for the series will be www.nightclub.com “to maximize direct engagement with all of the industry players in the massive night club, bar and restaurant space.” The show will also have a dedicated YouTube channel.