Updated March 3, 2012:
One of Spike TV’s newest reality series, Bar Rescue, will feature the old on the in Sunday’s episode.
As part of the show, which focuses on helping failing establishments turn their fortunes around, Jon Taffer revamped the menu, redecorated the venue and retrained the staff, into a surf barbecue joint. To go along with the establishment’s new look, Taffer gave it a new name: .
So, were Taffer’s changes 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.”
Before the makeover, “we used to have a lot of old people,” Lara said, “but now we have a … younger crowd in here.”
Manhattan Beach resident Allie Speed, who co-owns the bar with sister Alexis Speed, expressed similar sentiments.
“Our customer base is so fun—we get people anywhere from 21 to 60 that like the beach, that are happy, that are hanging out … We have awesome people come here that like to drink and party and have fun,” Speed said.
Taffer’s revamp is helping the bar reach “a different part of the community—young, surfer-type people,” she said.
There’s still some nostalgia for the old Kilkenny’s.
“We miss the name,” Lara said. “[Customers] still call and ask if it's still Kilkenny's. We, the staff, just still call it 'the pub' or 'Kilkenny's,' but [the makeover] was a positive change in the restaurant.”
Nevertheless, a customer during Wednesday’s Happy Hour said he noticed remnants of Kilkenny's mixed with the new look.
“As a bar I don't remember it too well,” said Albert Knapp of Redondo Beach. He admitted that he had been to Kilkenny’s only a few times before it became Breakwall; however, he didn’t feel the transformation was complete.
“I feel like the décor is transient,” said Knapp. “There's half [of] Kilkenny's left, and then there's surfboards hanging from the ceiling.”
Long Beach resident Sheena, who declined to give her last name, described the atmosphere as “a little dead” on Wednesday night.
“I like the nachos and the view,” said Sheena, who was visiting Breakwall for the first time. “There's a bunch of flies when we walked in.”
Sheena was not the only one who complimented the food.
Lisa Badaoui, visiting from Grafton, New South Wales in Australia, was enjoying the view from the bar for the second time within about a week.
“This is the only place I've been in,” Badaoui said. “We had chicken wings for the second time—that's how good they are.”
And the drinks?
“Drinks are good,” she said, giving her gin-and-tonic a 10 out of 10.
Overall, she gave the bar a positive review.
“On Saturday [the atmosphere] was fantastic, but today it's nice, but it's not very busy,” she said.