The start of football season marks two celebrations for local pub Hammer & Ales. On Sunday, September 8, Spike TV will feature the transformation the establishment underwent earlier in 2013 under the guidance of industry expert Jon Taffer. The celebrations will begin as the first Sunday games of 2013 start and will continue into the evening with a viewing party of Bar Rescue kicking off at 9 p.m.
Hammer & Ales, originally named The Hammer Bar, opened in 2009 by longtime local friends Chris Sarret and Mitch Watson. After years of working in the restaurant industry at fine dining establishments, Sarret and Watson decided it was time to pursue their own venue. With culinary backgrounds and years of experience running their own catering business the two set out to create a fun local hang out that offered not only a place for guests to relax, gamble and watch sports but to also enjoy great food, an amazing beer selection and be served by a staff that made them feel at home.
In early 2013, Sarret and Watson were approached by producers of Spike TV’s hit show Bar Rescue after writing in to submit themselves for a potential rescue. After many tedious days of filming and transformations The Hammer Bar was converted into now thriving Hammer & Ales. The show instituted changes to the branding, menu, staff and ambiance in addition to working on the business relationship and day-to-day operations of owners Sarret and Watson.
“It was an interesting process in that not only did Mitch and I write into the show, but a couple of our regulars had written in to suggest us as well,” said Sarret. “I guess that caught the network’s eye – we stayed up on the paperwork and bam next thing we knew a camera was in our face. It was extremely difficult during the filming process with 16 hour days and few breaks. I look at the whole process as a positive one for not only myself, but the entire staff. People always ask what Jon Taffer is really like and I always say the same thing, tough but fair and he has my utmost respect.”
Sarret, a Las Vegas native, spent 10 years as a professional golfer prior to attending Le Cordon Bleu in 2003. After graduating he went on to be a fine dining chef in some of the top venues on the Las Vegas Strip. He met Watson in his first culinary position in downtown Las Vegas.
“Being on Bar Rescue was a mixed emotion experience,” said Watson. “From being on a TV show for the first time and learning how that actually works to the transformation of something that you have put your heart and soul into for many years no matter how well it was doing financially. Seeing how the bar and the staff transformed into something better made the overall experience well worth everything we went through.”
Watson moved to Las Vegas in 2004 after attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York. The California native met business partner Sarret while working at Andres in downtown Las Vegas. After leaving Andres to open RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Watson stayed in touch with Sarret and began discussions of opening their own venue. His love for creating food into an experience of great flavors that can be shared between people has driven him throughout his career.
Bar Rescue launched on Spike TV in early 2011 and has become a hit with audiences as host Jon Taffer travels each week to bars around the country. Taffer is a bar and nightclub industry veteran who has opened, flipped, or owned more than 600 bars and clubs in his career. He currently owns one of the nation’s top consulting firms in the bar and nightclub world. Taffer employs his expertise to return struggling bars to the cash cows they once were. Everything from the science of the perfect pour, to the height of the bar stools is a key factor in making a bar the hottest place in town.
Hammer & Ales is located at 3990 W Russell Road, just west of Valley View, and is open 24 hours a day. For more information, please visit www.hammerandales.com or call 702-597-1550.