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Despite 'Bar Rescue,' Breakwall Closes

Breakwall on the Redondo Beach Pier has closed. The bar became famous after appearing on an episode of Spike TV's "Bar Rescue."

Despite 'Bar Rescue,' Breakwall Closes
This article was originally published March 2, 2012.

Breakwall Bar & Grill, the former Irish pub on the that was transformed into a surfing-themed bar on an episode of Spike TV's Bar Rescue, has closed its doors for the last time.

Records from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control indicate that the establishment surrendered its liquor license on Jan. 25. An application for another liquor license for the business was withdrawn Dec. 13.

"Breakwall, like many businesses, closed its doors in early January because it was impossible to keep it open," Allie Speed, who owned the bar with her sister Alexis, said in a statement. "Sadly, we had no choice. We truly thank our patrons, employees and the Redondo Beach community for their support over the past six years."

Both the surrendered liquor license and the withdrawn application were under the name of Killkenny's—the Irish pub that closed to make way for Breakwall. A search of the ABC license database did not return any results for businesses operating under the name Breakwall.

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The bar drew national attention after the "Beach Bummer" episode of Bar Rescue aired. The episode tracked the transformation of Kilkenny's Irish Pub, which according to the episode was $900,000 in debt, into a surf barbecue joint.

Host Jon Taffer revamped the menu, redecorated the venue and retrained the staff, including then-General Manager Carlos Cable, who appeared to sabotage Taffer's efforts to improve the establishment throughout the episode.

The changes appeared to be beneficial for the business.

In an August interview with Patch, Allie Speed, who co-owned the bar with her sister Alexis Speed, said Breakwall's customer base was younger and more "surfer-type" than Kilkenny's.

"We get people anywhere from 21 to 60 that like the beach, that are happy, that are hanging out," Allie Speed said. "We have awesome people come here that like to drink and party and have fun."

Bartender Carlos Lara said Taffer's changes appeared to be effective.

“Business has been great—I've seen the changes here, and especially in my pockets,” said bartender Carlos Lara. “We got a lot of surfer people who come out, a lot of new customers.”

Nevertheless, reviews on Yelp show that the bar's fortunes appeared to be faltering.

"It is like watching a slow death," wrote Yelp user Scott C. "Someone just needs to pull the plug."

Other Yelp reviewers and Patch commenters noted empty tables and underwhelming food.

Customer Stefany Sherman, who first alerted Patch to Breakwall's closure, said she was disappointed the bar had closed. She and her boyfriend had been going to Kilkenny's and Breakwall since they moved from the East Coast four years ago.

"I had high hopes for them when they appeared on Bar Rescue, although the debt they were facing was scary," Sherman told Patch in an email. "I watched the show, and it seemed to me that Jon Taffer really didn't understand the Redondo Pier business."

In a review on Yelp, Sherman expressed the same sentiment.

"Honestly, I think that Bar Rescue killed (Kilkenny's)/Breakwall," she wrote. "I'm sure that Jon Taffer would blame it on something else, but he had a hand in (its) demise."


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