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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The name game over at The Sandbar

There was a lot of confusion regarding the Sandbar and their tv episode last week. As many of you know, the tv show, Bar Rescue, from Spike TV, with Jon Taffer, was filmed and the bar was renovated for the tv show. Media outlets around Miami reported that the new place is a Korean Barbecue spot now, which is far from the truth. The new place is the Sandbar Grille, same thing, only cleaned up with a few tweeks on the menu.

The Korean Barbecue is one item on their large menu, it's sort of a do-it-yourself dish as you can see here. We were given raw meat and fish and we cooked it on the sizzling stone that arrives with the food. It was pretty good, but in the future I'll stick with the food that comes to the table cooked already, not that the Korean Barbecue wasn't good, it was perfect, it's just that I don't want to cook when I'm going out to lunch or dinner. But it's a fun concept to try, others had ordered the same thing at other tables and people seemed to enjoy it. You can see our choice here being cooked on the hot rock. We had shrimp, New Zealand lamb chops and Angus skirt steak with olive oil tossed asparagus and yellow squash. There are other options too like scallops and salmon. It's $19.95, which is a good deal, as it serves two.



Al Borrero, one of the Sandbar Grille owners told me that the whole Bar Rescue episode (on tv and in real life) started out with great intentions. The production company comes in, they take over and they redo the business for free. The business gets tons of free publicity and everything is great except for the fact that the tv production company changes the name of the business among other things.

Many of you have requested that the bathrooms be done in the renovation. They weren't because that was not being seen on tv, so they only reno'd what was being shown on tv. The tables were wobbly, but rather than fix the wobbly tables (since you can't tell they are wobbly on tv), they put a new lamanent or covering on the tables. All for show.

The name was changed to Hot Rock Cafe by Jon Taffer, the reno guy; sounds like something out of The Flintstones. And the name was going to stay put until after the tv show airs in March, so that tourists and others who are looking for the Hot Rock Cafe would find it, but due to many complaints, from everyone basically, the guys at the Sandbar renamed the place the Sandbar and there's a little tagline that says, "Now Featuring the Hot Rock," which refers to the flat rock that you cook your food on. But again, it's one item on the menu.

All your favorites are still there - Tuesdays is still Taco Tuesday, where you get half price tacos and all the usual lunch specials are still on the menu. There's the catch of the day, baby back ribs, wraps, burgers, you know, their usual full menu. 
 There are the usual drinks and a few new fruity ones with ice spheres as the centerpiece.  New drinks include The Hurricane, Citrustini, Calm Waters, The Rock, The Sunset and The Coconut Grove. They consist of either bourbon, gin, rum, etc. at $9.25 each. 

Anyway, that's the story of how The Sandbar became The Hot Rock and came back to being the Sandbar again. I think it's a great testament to the owners that they listened to what customers wanted and they changed the name back and changed the menu around to be the usual Sandbar fare. As for the reality show, so much of it isn't reality that it's hard to understand what is and what isn't, but the whole name game thing was real. It really did change to the Hot Rock and then changed back to The Sandbar due to public outrage.





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45 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So they still haven't properly scrubbed those infamous toilets in about 20 years?

December 03, 2014 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be named Sandbar, but it lost every bit of personality it once had.

December 03, 2014 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHA What a joke the bathrooms were the worst part of the place.i was there yesterday and it looks cheap and a bad redue.bathrooms were filthy again.shame on the owners

December 03, 2014 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Dexter said...

Bring back the Hungry Sailor!

December 03, 2014 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quit going over a year ago due to the odor, the filthy bathrooms, and the bad service. Decided to give it a try on Monday and it was like nothing changed. took 10 minutes to place our order, even though it was empty, food took 40 minutes, drinks werent refilled, and the food was awful (cold, stale tasting wings, room temp fries) And it was unbelievable to see the bathrooms werent even touched. Now its just a boring empty red and brown room with no personality. No need to pass Duffys when looking for sports bar food, and they actually appreciate their customers there and offer great rewards.

December 03, 2014 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if the owner would stick around for more than a few days and not be traveling all over the country looking for a good time, he could work on making the Sandbar a good time for us all. #fail

December 03, 2014 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the old grapevine readers take a nice article and make it negative. What a surprise. I had lunch in there Monday and there was a guy measuring the bathrooms to fix them. The guys are trying to fix up the old place and you hags still nail them for it. Typical.

December 03, 2014 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Concerned Ex-Regular said...

Same name, same bathrooms, worse decor (Seminole colors in a Canes Bar!!!), and believe it or not, even worse service than before.

Went Sat- walked through the inside to check it out and then sat outside. Waited for 5 minutes with no attention. Then my wife went in to get menus and a waitress runs out with 2 menus behind her. Order a drink, then ordered food and asked for a water and my wife ordered a drink. My drink comes out, then food, and that's it. No silverware, napkins, condiments, water, or my wife's drink. Then halfway through our meal, the waitress walks by and starts cleaning off the table and takes the silverware, while we are still eating!

Went again on Sunday, thinking, maybe we just had a bad server. This time we were a party of 4. We had almost the exact same experience. No menus & exorbitant delays in service- I mean, how long does it take to grab three bottles of beer? (I won't drink draft beer here because I know if they didn't clean the bathrooms, they didn't clean the beer lines.) Multiple requests for simple items that one should never have to ask for in a restaurant, like silverware.

0 for 2. Oh, and by the way, they no longer honor code 33. Plus, the prices went up on menu items that have not changed. Any they charge $0.50 for BBQ sauce. Seriously?!?!

The owner did not need to seek out bar rescue to improve business. Just needed to clean the beer lines, floors, and bathrooms, and give his staff some decent training. This place has gone down hill in a bid way and it is all the owner's fault in my opinion.

I will no longer go there. Hopefully they go out of business soon and someone with some common sense opens something else up there.

December 03, 2014 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soap,soap,soap. Everything in that place is sticky and dirty. Soap soap soap. Bring back the hungry sailor but scrub the gunk out first. Dirty trash cans right at the front door. Ajax, babo. Scrub brushes. Makeover, ha.

December 03, 2014 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The owners actually work there regularly as managers smart ass.

December 03, 2014 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The beer lines are clean. They get replaced regularly by the beer distributors.

December 03, 2014 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I had lunch in there Monday and there was a guy measuring the bathrooms to fix them. The guys are trying to fix up the old place and you hags still nail them for it. Typical."

SOAP. Maybe next decade some bright new owner might figure it out. I suggest that you or some other new Grovite young dude purchase the filthy place. Scrub it, vigorously, down to the last tile. Oh, and kindly hire better looking, vivacious young waitresses too; pay them well, for a change. Then, with the soap, good service plus decent fish tacos, we'll all be in a better mood! Thanks.


December 03, 2014 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did the owners write this article ?

19.95 item is enough for two people ?

Not quite.

December 03, 2014 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Oh yeah, forgot to echo what 10:15 said, Duffy's is killing it in the service department, plus they have a few hot bartenders.

December 03, 2014 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. The owners suck bigtime

December 03, 2014 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't thrilled about a chain restaurant filling the sports bar void in the Grove. Duffy's, however, has exceeded my expectations. Sandbar and Moe's have become cesspools. Every time someone comments on the poor service, poor hygiene, and poor quality, the Sandbar trolls come on here and make snide comments.

I used to go to Sandbar at least twice a week to watch sports or eat. Never again. The Grove deserves better.

December 03, 2014 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Dexter said...

I asked one of the servers if she would mind wiping down the table for me tonight.
She yelled something back at me in Spanglish.
The Sandbar needs to get rid of the lazy, arrogant servers.

December 04, 2014 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly. This bogus "Hollywood" Sandbar should be openly boycotted by everyone, at least until they they decide to keep a half-decent, clean bathroom.

December 04, 2014 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the type of place all "newcomers" to the Grove hope goes out of business soon.

December 04, 2014 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed by all the ugliness coming out. Yes, the bathrooms suck, but the smell and nastiness is from the many customers who can't control themselves and piss all over, because they think it is OK. If you like Duffy's fine, go there and save your comments for them. Leave the Sandbar owners alone, you don't have to go there, it's a free world. What do you care how they pay their rent?

December 04, 2014 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are so brave when they post anonymously. As a person who has lived in the Grove for the past 15 years I have seen the Sandbar in its heyday with lines out the door and people clamoring to get in. We all know that the Grove has evolved and you have to give credit to the Sandbar owners for realizing that and trying to appeal to the new Grove clientele. Clearly they had the best of intentions but unfortunately Bar Rescue fell well short and turned out to be all for show. They are working hard to bring some of the charm back and the bathrooms will be fixed. As for you anonymous haters out there, relax or take your hate somewhere else. For everyone else who still has a shred of sensibility keep supporting your local businesses and let's keep the Grove thriving for many years to come.

December 04, 2014 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hey 10:03 don't get your panties in a wad. Lots of the critiques come from people like me who visit Sandbar every week and want to spend money at Sandbar and at Duffy's and at Barracuda.



December 04, 2014 10:40 AM  
Blogger Alan Layng said...

if you post "anonymous" then consider yourself a coward !!

December 04, 2014 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:40...maybe you should run for mayor of Coconut Grove...your campaign slogan could be "vote for me...i'll keep your panties from bunching".

December 04, 2014 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" For everyone else who still has a shred of sensibility keep supporting your local businesses and let's keep the Grove thriving for many years to come."

NOSE sensibility doesn't count? Try yours as you open that disgusting bathroom door..Or how about getting barked at by an ugly waitress kindda "sensibility"? Keep that thriving too!

December 04, 2014 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We went the other day and the place still smells like garbage. I didn't have the displeasure of using the rest room, but the filth in the restaurant, itself, was a turn off. The fact that the waitress was clueless as to what beers they had, and after leaving to find out, never came back, lead me to just leave. Horrible experience. I live in the Grove and have seen places come and go... Just bring back The Hungry Sailor! lol

December 04, 2014 12:25 PM  
Blogger Alan Layng said...

The SandBar is a local place with great bar food, sports bar, great prices, eccentric staff and locals mix very well, newcomers always welcome. So sad to see comments by "Anonymous" with such vile and hatred, I guess he needs something more pretentious or swanky. It's simply a fun bar, not sure why people make personal attacks on owners? I know them very well and find them to be very charming and a lot of fun....By the way it's the Grove nit South Beach.....

December 04, 2014 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, that "makeover" sucked - the cheap paint they splashed around, without even prepping the surface underneath - was peeling off within 2 days.

They regret having been tricked into being on that show, egg on the face, as they say.

Sandbar's a college bar with cheap drink specials - at least it once was - they need to return to that - be a cheap/dirty/college/beach bar. That was the whole idea, and the only thing that ever mattered.

No tone good thing came out of the mistake of doing that show.

December 04, 2014 1:04 PM  
Blogger Alan Layng said...

As I said before if you wish to comment and want to voice your "valued" opinion then have the courage to post your name, it otherwise has no value. I have worked in bars and restaurants, Dublin, London, Miami, great cities, lot's of fun.. NO the Sandbar is meant to be what it is... a casual bar, great staff, terrific customers, Trivia Night is a blast. I always feel appreciated by owners and staff...The haters I have a feeling just don't get the idea of charm, not sterile enough for some, not South Peachy enough! Great place for watching football, great place is drop in and have a laugh, some people don't seem to understand the concept of a bar, by the way bathroom is a 2 minute trip maybe. Anal-ymous get off your high horses :)

December 04, 2014 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...with such vile and hatred, I guess he needs something more pretentious or swanky. "

Nahh.. the only really, really vile thing here are the unspeakable, funky odors constantly emanating from the filthy joint, pre-and-post stupid TV make over. "Swanky?" Dunno what that means, but it does smell that way near the toilets.

That's just the fact, Jack, just stop by and smell the roses. Nothing "pretentious" about asking for a somewhat decent bathroom and somewhat polite normal service. Swanky nose is what you get when you leave the place!

December 04, 2014 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

Alan, aka Sandbar crusader -- since you seem to believe that using your real name gives you carte blanche to attack anyone voicing their opinion, then let me just say on behalf of all the anon's that you are clearly either one of the 1,000 co-owners of the Sandbar or just a massive douche with nothing better to do.

Many of us with negative opinions on the Sandbar are longtime grovites that have watched it slowly go down the stinky toilet. It's great that you are such a fan, but that does not mean others cannot call the place out for being a smelly hole with terrible service and average food whereas it was once a place with excellent service, good food, a lot less stench.

We're allowed to be disappointed in the fact that one of our once beloved establishments has become a place that we can no longer be proud to bring our family/ friends to. So chill the frick out and go get yourself some room temp fish tacos from the new Sandbar hot rocks stinkhole cafe.

December 04, 2014 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Prez - Alan Layng fan club said...

Alan, you are so brave. Where does your strength come from?

December 04, 2014 3:28 PM  
Blogger Alan Layng said...

Still a coward Anonymous, was there last night and had a terrific time, I work in healthcare industry now and have absolutely no issue with the SB's health standards or hygiene... As I said I'd value your opinion more if you had the courage to post you name. It's a fun place and the food is terrific. I asked owners a few years ago if they'd carry a specific Irish Whiskey for me and they did, maybe I just have the right positive attitude when I go out, not a whiner and seeking me me me attitude...

December 04, 2014 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I work in healthcare industry now and have absolutely no issue with the SB's health standards or hygiene.."

Which perfectly sums up the horrific state of our infamous "healthcare industry"!

December 04, 2014 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So i decided to go to the sand bar today because i was reading all these negative comments and i always go for the underdog.heres my take on what i saw there.

first off as i walked in it smelled like the dog pound. horrible horrible smell of urine mixed with the smell of a bar floor that hasnt been cleaned in a few days mixed with somebodys dirty socks.

second it took almost 30 minutes to be attented and when we were it was a very rude person.i dont want anybody to lose there job during the holidays so i wont disclose there name.

third but not least they messed up my drinks twice and the food was cold and the plate was dirty and the table was sticky.

i really hope that the only person reading this blog seriously is the owner because if he is not this place wont last very long. sad!!!!!!!

p.s
i remane anon becuase theres no need to make a profile to make anybody happy and its my right as an american

December 04, 2014 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put, Bryan. I'm one of the people that have lived in the Grove longer than Sandbar has been in existence. It was a good place years ago and I have many fond memories of the place. No Grovite should feel compelled to keep afloat a local business that no longer takes pride in it's appearance, service, or product.

Speaking of loyalty, it speaks volumes that they no longer honor Code 33. This dump is a disgrace and embarrassment to the Grove.

December 05, 2014 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Healthcare Industry is very valiant and brave to publish his name here. Still, even a tough guy like him wouldn't willingly withstand 10 full minutes inhaling those putrid SD toilet aromas.

December 05, 2014 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Alan, Sandbar has always had the gross bathrooms and I've always lived with them because the bar had other redeeming qualities including attentive staff, a great atmosphere, lack of pretentiousness and CODE 33.

However, their cheap makeover took away every redeeming quality they had, so I will not go back.

Additionally, if the owners cannot handle the criticism on an internet blog, perhaps they are not cut out for the restaurant business.

December 05, 2014 1:53 PM  
Blogger Alan Layng said...

Matt, I understand your views and comments but others have habit of making the attacks personal, everyone has their views and comments welcome but I do believe the point is lost when hatred is spewed, when it's made personal. We all have jobs, work or businesses how would we like to be so blatantly attacked. I know Matt and Albert and know how much effort they are putting into making the place better, it's been a tough economy, not easy to change everything, takes time, money, permits.. I have lived in Grove 25+ years, Old Taurus was fun but also not spotless, it's the Grove... Peace and Love to all

Nice been called a douche by faceless Bryan (no last name) tough guy I guess, this is what I meant by vile sadly

December 05, 2014 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I know Matt and Albert and know how much effort they are putting into making the place better.."

Hint:

SOAP.

December 05, 2014 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, speaking of Taurus, those bathrooms always made Sandbar's look like a Ritz by comparison...

The makeover was lazy and geared toward making a TV show and not a good business, which was obvious from the start when Taffer's "research" resulted in such a stupid concept. But there are a few minor upgrades... it looks a lot nicer from the outside, the wall behind the server station looks nice and adds a table, and it is cleaned up a bit. As more changes happen slowly it'll regain most of the personality. I still don't like it as much as before and never will, but I'm still going to go there to watch sports and eat a giant pile of tequila fajitas.

The bathrooms still suck, yes... but so do most places drunk people pee. It'd be great to enlarge them, re-tile, add sinks, and get rid of that front dumpster/garage door... but they can't. The options are really limited, and this would be the case for any new ownership group as well. The current group is working at it though, and anyone who gets to know them would certainly support them and their efforts. They'll always make you feel comfortable there, put your game on, take your suggestions, and help you out. Always have. If you get a shitty waitress, let them know! If nobody says anything it can go unnoticed. I've had a few lazy ones too, but there are definitely still some good ones there. Young kid waitresses are always going to be hit and miss, and this is true at Duffy's as well... the best you can hope for is some eventual natural selection.

December 05, 2014 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are Taurus' toilets truly even filthier than Sandbar's? You gotta be kiddin'.. Growing up in the Grove past couple decades I can only remember the Tavern as undisputed king of despicable dumps. Right now even Kennedy park's awful bathroom is cleaner, heck, just came back from Scotty's and their perilous throne looked heavenly compared to SB's lamentable stinking disgrace.

December 05, 2014 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duffies has been atrotios the 6 times I've been. Never again

December 05, 2014 8:39 PM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

I like the Sandbar, before and after.

Wow, good thread. Alan Layng is correct in observing the behavior of the anonymous and the no-last-name writers.

I never understood why they do that.

December 08, 2014 3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are allowed to post their views, negative and positive, without revealing their full identities if they choose. Sandbar also has a choice to be filthy or not; since when do Matt & Albert need money & permits to have the bathrooms scrubbed and train their servers & kitchen staff to be attentive like they used to be?? What a lame excuse Alan, but hopefully you get some free refills for it.

We cannot all be like Alan & be ghosts essentially on the internet, some of us have careers & a strong internet presence to protect. But that does not mean we do not have the right to voice our disgust when an establishment in our backyard goes to hell.

The economy is doing great! The SB would also be doing great, with none of Alan's lame excuses shared on their behalf to keep them down, if they would just clean up their act.

December 08, 2014 8:03 AM  

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