Bar Rescue Host Jon Taffer Gave Away Breast Enhancements at His Philly Bar in the 1980s

Also: Memories of Pulsations and its giant robot.

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Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer has an interview online today with the New York Times talking bars, rescuing them, and TV. The conversation takes a detour into his time managing a Philly bar during the early 1980s:

Before you were on TV, you were a bar owner in Philadelphia. Is it true that, back then, you gave away breast enlargements to female customers? Not exactly. It was a promotion called Thanks for the Mammaries. We ran a contest for 10 weeks, and girls competed for a breast augmentation. The girl who won received the contract with the doctor and had to give us before-and-after brassieres. We bronzed the bras and hung them over the urinals in the men’s room.

The feminist in me is aiming a square kick at you. That’s pretty disgusting. But you gotta realize: This is the bar business, and these were 21-year-old girls.

That makes it worse. No! It was also — you gotta realize, this was in 1982; it was a very different political time. I mean, I did midget-tossing in Long Beach, Calif. We would throw midgets. So this was a different time. I would never suggest doing anything like that today.

Taffer also mentions “Pulsations” a “state-of-the-art” nightclub he helped create in Glen Mills in the early 1980s. A description of it in a 2015 Naples Herald interview with Taffer is … kind of glorious.

It was, at the time, a $16 million attempt to build, potentially, the greatest nightclub in existence.  The club consisted of 7 or 8 levels, a descending, 27 foot, 4 ton spaceship that entered the club nightly…descended to 12 feet above the dance-floor…opened its cargo doors releasing dry ice and, through the opened doors, lowered a dancing robot that looked around and bellowed “Wow…check this place out!”  That robot was later leased from “Pulsations” and made an appearance in Rocky IV…as Paulie’s birthday present.  “I wanted a sports car for my birthday,” exclaims Paulie, “not no walking trash can!”

Yup:

And here is the robot dancing at Pulsations:

The downside to all this: On opening night in 1983, a lighting fixture fell and killed a 37-year-old woman. Despite that ominous start, the bar survived until 1995.

“It was the greatest nightclub ever built, and it was quite an experience to see this robot come out,” Taffer tells the Times about Pulsations. “It was the closest to a religious experience that I’ve seen without it being religious.”