Max Fish Packed to the Gills on Closing Night

July 30, 2013 | Bucky Turco

Max Fish, a venerable dive bar on the Lower East Side that has operated continuously for over two decades, poured its final round of drinks last night. And this time it was for real. ANIMAL was on hand, with correspondent Julia Dawidowicz, to document the ceremonial closing and witness firsthand, that the patient was indeed being declared dead. After all, there have been many false-alarm Max Fish deaths over the past few years.

In April, it was reported that Max Fish might live another life altogether and reopen in Williamsburg. That may help explain the mostly jubilant crowd that attended last night’s organized chaos. Come opening night, they’ll probably be there too. Like a classic zombie movie, Max Fish lives, it will just look and act a little different.

By 7PM, the bar was jam packed with skaters, graffiti writers, musicians, artists, weirdos, fashionistas and it pretty much stayed that way through the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Inside, many patrons were so pressed up against the front of the bar that the glass panels looked as if they would shatter at any minute. Those who couldn’t fit hung out on the sidewalk, creating a block party-like atmosphere.

Although we didn’t get him on camera, downtown fixture Dave Ortiz waxed poetically about the bar’s demise: “You either evolve or dissolve.” When asked if he’d be going to Max Fish’s new location across the river, he replied emphatically, “Hell no!”

(Video: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)