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.