Co-owners Miguel Torres and Brian O’Shea talk about selling Soyo bar in Yonkers, June 22, 2016. The bar underwent a “Bar Rescue” makeover two years ago and is now selling for $150,000. (Video by Tania Savayan/The Journal News)
YONKERS – The Soyo Craft Bar that got a makeover and life-support from the “Bar Rescue” reality show has closed.
Co-owners Brian O’Shea and Miguel Torres sold the bar at 38-1/2 Main St. on Jan. 3 and the venue has been transformed into a Central American restaurant called Kala’an Mul Bar and Grill.
On Monday, O’Shea, an electrician, said his seven-year run at the location had ups and downs.
“I had good times and bad times,” he said. “It was definitely a great experience.”
O’Shea and Torres got a national spotlight in October 2014 when “Bar Rescue” aired an episode on them called “Thugs with Mugs.” It depicted the Undisputed Sports Bar & Grill — the Soyo Craft Bar’s former incarnation — as an out-of-control business that needed an overhaul.
“Bar Rescue” launched in 2011 on the Spike television network. It stars Jon Taffer, a hospitality consultant specializing in nightclubs and pubs who offers expertise and renovations to bars featured in the show.
FOR SALE: ‘Bar Rescue’ falls short, Soyo Yonkers for sale
WATCH: The ‘Bar Rescue’ episode on Soyo
The show came in and renovated the restaurant, which opened in 2010. They re-branded it as Soyo Craft Bar, created new drink and food menus and advised the owners to target a working professional crowd.
The makeover helped, but only for a short while. To make matters worse, the co-owners said rowdy patrons from the surrounding neighborhoods brought Soyo Craft Bar into conflict with Yonkers police.
Brian O’Shea, left, and Miguel Torres, in their former Soyo Craft Bar in Yonkers (Photo: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)
“The amount of violations we were getting were just killing us,” O’Shea said. “A lot of incidents happened outside that had nothing to do with the bar.”
O’Shea and Torres put the bar up for sale in 2016 because the new people moving into downtown Yonkers weren’t arriving in big enough numbers or necessarily dining locally when they returned home from their jobs in New York City. The owners said many of the new downtown residents were dining and drinking in Manhattan before getting on the train.
The challenges of running a businesses haven’t soured O’Shea’s appetite for entrepreneurship. He would do it again, but differently.
“Probably not a bar, just a restaurant,” he said.
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