Food Network’s Latest Show is “On The Rocks”

Food Network apparently thinks American restaurant owners like being yelled at by British men. First, it was Robert Irvine in Restaurant Impossible. Now, it’s John Green in On the Rocks. This isn’t a bad thing because it makes for some good TV. It’s just very peculiar.

While I liked On the Rocks, it’s like any other restaurant makeover show, only this time it’s in a bar. For those like me who don’t frequently watch Spike, you’ll be more surprised that guy-centric Spike is airing a bar makeover show called Bar Rescue than the fact that the concept has already been done. Nothing is saving On the Rocks from being redundant, but John Green saves it from being boring.

John Green isn’t like Robert Irvine at all, even though they are both British. (It’s entirely possible John is Australian. I can’t determine where his accent is from.) His attitude is more like Willie Degel from Restaurant Stakeout, who’s not warm and fuzzy, but definitely wants what’s best for the restaurant/bar owners. John Green won’t be everyone’s favorite host. He’s blunt and knows the people he is trying to help will hate him until they see results. He knows that’s the case, but he doesn’t care. John’s not warm and fuzzy. Everything’s strictly business. Also, unlike Robert, John doesn’t make any attempt to Americanize his English. When Robert uses a British phrase, it’s usually to get something past the censors. When John does it, it’s because he knows we understand what “piss off” means and he doesn’t need to mince words.

The first episode of On the Rocks features the Oxford Inn in Royal Oak, Michigan. The restaurant has a bar in the backroom. While the Oxford Inn does well with an older clientele, the bar’s attempts to attract 20 and 30-somethings have failed. Since the show is entirely formulaic, John walks in is disgusted at the condition of the bar, which hasn’t been used since opening night 12 years ago, and appalled at the owners’, in this case Higgins family, finances. He finds that the bartenders are over-pouring, costing the business money. John spends the next few days retraining the staff and making over the barroom. Instead of going the traditional bar route, John turns the Oxford Inn’s bar into the Lock & Key Speakeasy. It’s a cool concept that came complete with a password, which patrons needed to know to get in the door.

Food Network officially ran out of ideas long ago, so nowadays the only thing its shows bring to the table is a new host. John Green does a good job, but, unless there’s nothing better on or you’re absolutely infatuated with the Restaurant Impossible formula, you should probably pass.

About Allison Lips

I am the Toastmasters District 83 Public Relations manager and President of Freehold Phrasers.

Posted on November 18, 2013, in Cable, Food Network, Primetime, Reality TV and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Green’s accent is that of a Londoner… diluted with a bit of Canadian.

  2. Hi guys. One of the bars no longer on the rocks, here! I appreciate very much the opportunity of betterment the show brought to me and hope you like the future episodes. I don’t know if you find this to be true on the other shows as I do, but it’s not just about the host, but about the transformation of the people and their places and not every episode is as captivating as the next… each one has it’s own personality. And Richard above is right. John told me while here he is originally from London and now resides in Vancouver. I am so honored to have been chosen as one of the bars who he and the whole show touched. I hope, more for them than for me, that the show does well! They deserve success for the hard work they put into the TV show projects they took part in!

    • You are absolutely right that the show isn’t just about the host. It’s more about the transformation of people and places. I’ve just seen so many of shows with this format that for me it’s the host that keeps me coming back.

      Thanks so much for your comment. It’s always nice to hear from people who have been on these types of shows. I wish your bar the best of luck.


  3. There was a reference to Spikes show “Bar Rescue” and while the concept might have already been chosen, “On The Rock’s” concept has to already be chosen also. I have watched “Bar Rescue” since day one and I like John Taffer’s approach because it wakes up people from being complacent, shows them just how stubborn they are, and he gets to the root of the problem and tries to fix their broken relationships, not just the issues of the bar much like Robert Irvine on Restaurant Impossible does. He also gives the bar’s a new identity, he reconfigure’s the actual bar area making them efficient. This show just basically cleans up and does a little face lift. Nothing more. I know that every Network is relying on it’s own reality show to make a go of it but this is just a knock off of a much better show on Spike, ” Bar Rescue”. John Green doesn’t work with broken relationships, he just does the same thing everyone else does, come in, bring new cocktails to the place, refreshes the food, and gives the bar a small makeover. He’s to nice to the failing owners and staff on the show. He doesn’t really point out all the issues that made the bar fail in the first place. It’s rather boring to me. I’d much rather watch John Taffer run surveillance and send his undercover people in to watch to see what the issues are and then come in and knock some sense in these people’s heads. Much better show than it’s knockoff, “On The Rocks:. Sorry just my opinion. It’s rather boring.

  4. To whom it may really concern:

    I have some very close friends of mine that are in need of some help. They own a club in Post Falls ID called “The Slab Inn”. The owners are second parents to me and have helped me out in many ways since my parents have passed.

    The club used to be a thriving business with a packed house all the time 8 to 10 years ago. However with the economy and I’m not saying that’s the reason, or should I say the only reason but the club is barely making 90 people on a Friday and Saturday night. The club has capacity of 225 + with special events or occasion they can go up to 425. It use to run real smooth and right before Karynne the manager took a full time job now the Randy and Deb own and manage the bar.

    Employee drinking, over pouring, attitude, presence, ID checking and cashiers it all needs help! I have been doing what I can to help for the last 6 years but without title or acknowledgement from staff what good does it due to try anymore. I have worked in bars off and on for 26 years and I’m burned out when no one will listen. so I quit going as much because I don’t want to see it anymore.

    Things are going downhill very quickly! They are great people who have a staff that some of them need, well they need the right push. The owners need to realize it takes longer than 1 or 2 weeks for a change to work instead of saying “It’s not working” and stop it. In my option it takes 4 weeks or more for people to see changes.

    They have owned this club for 17 + years and I would hate to see them loose everything they have worked for. Their contract comes due in 6 years for the balloon payment. The Slab Inn has a long history, It’s been in Post Falls since 1934.

    Rundown of the club:

    Hours are M -Th 4 pm to 2 am

    Fri – Sat 3 pm to 2 am

    Sundays – Closed

    Monday – Thursday – Karaoke

    Friday and Saturday Live country music (local bands)

    4 bartender’s different shifts (except Fri and Sat 2 bartenders those nights)

    3 Waitresses

    3 security

    They lease out a space in the N/E corner to a pizza company and have a BBQ guy in the small kitchen of the club for food. The club is approx. 12,000 square feet.

    I love them and I don’t want to see them loose everything. Please help them out.



    801 w Seltice way Post falls Idaho 83854

    Again please help

    (Their son)


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