Saving bar makes for good television

There seems to be one fact on which everyone from Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” can agree: Downey’s Irish pub and restaurant was bad.

“This was the dirtiest bar I have ever seen,” said consultant Jon Taffer, host of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” which follows Taffer and a rotating panel of experts as they renovate ailing bars. The show overhauled Downey’s last week.

“The bar was filthy,” said whisky aficionado Keith Raimondi, who redid the drinks menu. “It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”

Celebrity chef Brian Duffy was even more disturbed. “I worked here for two and a half years in the ’90s. To come back and see the restaurant in such disarray … that was something else.”

Holes in the ceiling were patched with framed pictures, clogged pipes in the bathrooms routinely regurgitated waste and fruit flies infested the bar. Moreover, the menu did not exactly befit the establishment. “The owner was making pasta in an Irish bar!” Taffer said in disbelief.

“To go from corned beef and cabbage to veal parm is a restaurant in identity hell,” Duffy concurred.

But Thursday, all past sins were forgotten as the crew of “Bar Rescue” unveiled the new Downey’s to a tearful staff, including owner Domenic Centofani. The crew whooped and hugged each other as they removed blindfolds and were led through the new dining room, bar and kitchen.

“We were six months from closing our doors,” said Centofani. “Now I think we can stay open for another 60 years.”

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