An international celebrity, highly sought-after hospitality industry guru, and creator, executive producer and star of Spike TV’s number-one show, Bar Rescue, most people know Jon Taffer as a larger-than-life television personality who takes a no-holds-barred approach to helping hotels, restaurants and bars reach their full potential. What most might not know, however, is that Taffer’s impressive industry experience dates back nearly four decades— and includes everything from consulting for hundreds of thousands of properties and Fortune 500 companies, to creating what industry experts call “the greatest nightclub in the world,” to changing the game of football for its fans, forever.
It all dates back to 1978, when Taffer accepted a position as the general manager of Troubadour, one of Hollywood’s most famous music venues, where an artist by the name Elton John was first discovered. In 1979, after news of his success as Troubadour’s general manager made its way throughout the area, West Hollywood’s iconic Barney’s Beanery recruited Taffer to serve as its lead bartender and manager. It was here, behind Barney’s coveted bar, that Taffer fell in love with the bar industry for good. In 1980, with a newfound love for the hospitality industry, Taffer left behind a sunny Hollywood for his home state of New York, where he accepted a position as the regional manager for Beefsteak Charlie’s. As part of the new gig, Taffer underwent a 26-week kitchen training program, which became his first official introduction to the food business and forever changed the way he looked at restaurants.
Taffer eventually made his way to Grossinger’s Resort and Country Club in the sprawling Catskill Mountains of Liberty, New York. Originally recruited to be the property’s food and beverage director, Taffer was swiftly promoted, earning a position as resident manager. With 1,700 rooms, the world’s first-ever snow-making machine, and a venue that housed world- renowned boxing matches all to its name, there was no resort in the world at the time that offered an all-encompassing experience quite like Grossinger’s—and Taffer’s hands-on approach to management and keen eye for effective entertainment proved to be crucial to the unprecedented success the property saw.
In 1983, Taffer received a call from a headhunter who was looking to open “the world’s greatest nightclub” in Glenn Mills, Pennsylvania. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Taffer succeeded in creating a club that forever changed the nightlife game, all with the help of a gentleman by the name of Leon Altemose—together, they opened what quickly became the area’s most iconic and coveted hangout: Pulsations Nightclub, a 15,000 square-foot venue boasting 10 levels, 11 bars, and 12 VIP hotel rooms.