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‘Bar Rescue’ to Unveil the Revamped Jack’s Ale House Tonight, Public Invited

39-46 Skillman Avenue (Photo: QueensPost)

Aug. 29, 2014 By Christian Murray

The unveiling of the new Jack’s Ale House—or, perhaps, a renamed version of the bar—takes place at 9pm tonight and the public is invited to come.

Workers have been feverishly redoing the interior and exterior of the 39-46 Skillman Avenue establishment since Wednesday and the bar already has undergone a great deal of change.

The Spike TV show “Bar Rescue,” a reality-TV show that helps bar owners bring back their bar from the brink, has been shooting at the establishment all week and the revamp will be complete tonight.

Brian McGowan, one of three brothers who own the establishment, said the whole experience has been an emotional roller coaster.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “It’s brought our family back together again. Many family issues have been resolved as a result of the show—from how we run the bar to past money issues.”

Brian and his brothers Jimmy and John are all New York City firefighters—although John has now retired. Brian received an award last year for saving 3 children from a burning building in the Bronx.

The show stars bar-expert Jon Taffer, who is known to be mercilessly tough—tackling everything from the perfect pour to the height of the bar stools.

Brian said that the Taffer is no different in person as to what you see on the show. On Monday, “He ripped us all a new A-hole and then walked out of the bar,” he said. However, he added, Taffer has a “heart of gold.”

Jack’s Ale House was selected to go on the show after Jimmy’s wife Christine sent an e-mail to the producers last year. From there, the McGowans’ bar was selected from about 500 establishments after a series of interviews that started in January.

Brian, who has no idea how the bar will look tonight, said this morning that he was “nervous and excited.”

He said that people interested in coming to the bar tonight should come early. He said the bar has a capacity for about 200 people and that when it opened on Wednesday while filming the “stress test” 400 people showed up, with many people not getting in.

The show featuring Jack’s Ale House is likely to air in November.

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Ellen Diehl

It is a great place, I wish all the Mc Gowans the best of luck,they certainly deserve it. We always have a great time,with family and friends.

Sunnyside Up

Something to note — between the name chnages of the past, was the location ever closed for well over two years like it was between the most recent change from Firewater Inn to Jack’s Ale?

The neighborhood is and will be changing for better or worse and Firewater Inn lost A LOT of its regulars during its renovation period… Either they moved to other bars or moved out… Only idiots would ignore “new residents” and live in the past. No longer do you have people coming here with the intent of staying put 10-20-30 years like once was the case. And the demographics are changing — no longer families settling with 1+ kids, but instead mostly single or young couples who will have kids and move out. If they want a beer, two or three one night, they’re not going to Skillman Ave.

I think this new “revamp” will fade once the reruns “run out”.


Went by here yesterday in the afternoon, lovely to see all the garbage cans and cardboard piled next to the front of the entrance way. Didn’t Taffer the big blow hard tell these people in his rant to clean this place up!!!!!!
Yup they’ll do a fine job.


New residents, refrain from comments about location. The bar has been there forever with this family owning it since 1986, they grew up in the bar business, they aren’t fireman just buying a bar. Keep comments to yourselves if you don’t know what you are talking about. The McGowan family has always been wonderful to me and my family! I wish them much luck and success!

Woody Woodpecker

Walked by last night and it was packed will try and go by today to check it out. The McGowan’s have been my neighbors since we here in 2000. Nothing but good things to say about them.

Aldo J

Oh wow I grew up playing at skillman park which is a block away from the bar. Also played football a couple of times with those brothers when everyone was younger, I think that’s them…lol but that bar has been there for years. I remember I use to say, that bar needs a fix up, it looked so best of luck to the brothers and the business. I know its a tough business. Im also a huge fan of John Taffer on Bar Rescue, to bad I missed the grand opening. But im def hitting up the bar w some friend later on. I one day would like to own one myself. 🙂


I went by around 8:30 hoping to see Taffer. A friendly security guy suggested I should come back around 10. I was already drunk so I went home.

Concerned Hipster

In any case, how do you know that Melissa buys into your patriarchy? Presumptuous. Maybe she already has a lot of money and is happy and independent.

Concerned Hipster

This is not a dating site, “El Loco”. Take a leaf from my book and get on OkCupid!

A bit of History

That Bar on Skillman and 40 street has been at that location for over 100 years and has had the other names in its long past Jacks Ale House , Fire water and the older name the Outpost in the 1970s not sure of the original name and dates back to the late 1800’s before most homes and apartment buildings were here and there are pictures of it around with hitching post’s out side for horses so saying it wont last well its had a long run already and that is one of the oldest Bars in Sunnyside

Waste of money and time

Didn’t this place renovate and open a year ago? And already they’re crying the blues to Taffer? If they can’t figure out in a year that they don’t know what they’re doing why do they need help from bar rescue.
Why does every fire fighter in the country especially in nyc think they know the bar business? Stick to collecting your city salaries guys and let the trained pros in the bar business do their jobs.
Take a stool and drink your beer.
By the way does anyone know if bar rescue pulled permits for their alteration work?

Woodside Dad

@ Skillman Ave Resident…if your benchmark is The Dog and The Duck you have zero credibility. That place is an absolute embarrassment. Have you actually eaten there?


its still the firewater inn…only a new name…you can dress it up but still run by the same family

Skillman Ave Resident

The location is a big problem. I don’t believe that there is a hope for becoming a destination place for people from outside Sunnyside. They will be much better off to cater for people who live here and once things settle back, they will be back to local clientele and any newcomer will feel again like an outsider intruding on private party. The neighborhood changed in the past 40 years. The should take a clue from “The DOG and DUCK” what works in this neighborhood and how to stay afloat.


Went by about an hour ago and the workers were putting finishing touches on the new entrance and signage. Looks great! I won’t spoil it, but will look forward to the broadcast. No way I’d be interested in pushing through a double-capacity crowd.

Zero the Hero

I’ll wait until tomorrow to check it out so I don ‘t have to deal with all the tools trying to get their ugly mugs on television for a blink of an eye. Hope it turns out well for them…..


I was actually worried no one would show up to the stress test, lol

Good luck though. I always enjoy my time there.

El loco


Your comments are ignorant and stupid. Because someone goes into a bar doesn’t mean that they are a drunk.


Alcohol bringing family back together, only in Sunnyside.
I guess when money runs out family will dissolve again?


This was already a great little hang out in the neighborhood. Location is a bit
off the beaten track, but that is part of the charm. I hope the unveiling is a huge success! Exciting.

Celtic Bark

Sounds like fun but no way I’m waiting on a long line without even knowing for sure if I’m getting in. Is van Bramer on the VIP list?


Best of Luck tonight with the unveiling. Hope it’s all you are hoping it to be. The McGowans are a wonderful bunch and deserve the best.


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