There’s some big news from Community Board 3’s just-released April liquor agenda docket. According to the agenda (and confirmed by CB3’s office), Ulli Rimkus, owner of the legendary Lower East Side bar, Max Fish, is applying for a permit in the Gallery Bar space at 120 Orchard St.
Shortly after Max Fish departed 178 Ludlow St. last summer, the owners of Sweet Chick, a Williamsburg restaurant specializing in chicken and waffles, signed a lease for the space. They began the process of seeking a liquor license, with plans to open their second location at the former home of the legendary bar–only to face rejection in December.
As the whole world knows by now, legendary Lower East Side bar Max Fish is moving to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. During an impromptu chat the other afternoon, Max Fish owner Ulli Rimkus told us she’ll be closing the Ludlow Street location at the end of July. She’s anticipating a big farewell party before packing up for the move to the new space at 130 Metropolitan Avenue.
Max Fish became the epicenter of the neighborhood’s underground, bohemian arts scene shortly after opening in 1989. Rimkus said she loves the idea of the old New York business that endures in one spot decade after decade and she dreamed that she could stay at 178 Ludlow St. forever. Eye-popping rent increases, of course, made that impossible. When Max Fish first opened, Rimkus was paying scarcely more than $2,000 month. Arwen Properties, her landlord, is reportedly seeking $20,000/month for the space next door, which was the home of Pink Pony, another local favorite that was forced out in January.
Here’s something we just noticed online: it’s a petition in support of a liquor license for the legendary Lower East Side bar, Max Fish, in Brooklyn. Here’s the text:
Here’s an update on the plight of Max Fish, which was shuttered by the NYPD last weekend for alleged underage drinking violations. The legendary bar’s owner, Ulli Rimkus, and city attorneys spent a full day in settlement talks yesterday. There was no resolution, allowing Max Fish to re-open, but the two sides will be back in court tomorrow to resume negotiations.
As we tweeted a short time ago, the NYPD shut down legendary Lower East Side bar Max Fish tonight for alleged underage drinking and operating after hours. Shortly before 10 p.m., officers arrived in front of the bar, located at 178 Ludlow Street, armed with court papers ordering the closure.
In the past several months, the Police Department, has come down on other LES establishments, most recently Gallery Bar, Mason Dixon and Los Feliz. Those bars were able to reopen, after agreeing to hire licensed security guards and after paying steep fines.
Earlier this year, owner Ulli Rimkus was on the verge of closing Max Fish, a Ludlow Street pioneer, due to a rent dispute with her landlord. The crisis was temporarily averted when she signed a one year lease extension.
Other bar owners who have been shut down have complained that extra security costs make it virtually impossible for them to make money. Long before tonight’s closure, Rimkus had told reporters the bar continued to be in a precarious financial situation.
In the past, 7th Precinct Captain David Miller has said he has made a concerted effort to work with bar owners. He’s said the NYPD only pursues legal action against operators who refuse to cooperate. The legal process is a lengthy one; it takes at least several weeks to get a temporary restraining order from State Supreme Court. It’s likely Max Fish will be closed for about a week.
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