The former Lower East Side institution has been reincarnated for the summer in Asbury Park, the historic seaside resort about an hour south of Manhattan on the Jersey Shore. (A similar Max Fish outpost was imported to Miami back in late 2009.) Whether it still "is" Max Fish now that it's an open-air concept just steps away from the surf and sand and sun, however, is in the eye of the beholder.
The new Max fish is located in the Beach Bar on the southern terrace of Asbury Park Convention Hall. It's a spacious ocean-front venue that never fails to attract a crowd during the summer months. Through October, it has rebranded as "Max Fish at the Beach Bar."
Max Fish at the Beach Bar is one of the latest additions to a once-blighted city that has gentrified slowly but steadily since the late '90s, modernizing and upgrading its housing stock and amenities while recapturing much of the quaint boardwalk charm that made Asbury a famous weekend getaway in the first half of the 20th Century.
Max Fish owner Uli Rimkus told Paper, which broke the news about her bar's Asbury outpost earlier this month, that she hopes to provide party-bus style round-trip shuttles once a month.
"I've been coming here for years with my daughter and it's beautiful," she told the magazine. "It's really easy to get here -- you can take New Jersey Transit or drive. I'm hoping my friends will come out because it's going to be really, really great."
I was digging the light-house and ship-wreck decor.
I've spent a fair amount of time over the years at the Beach Bar (far more time than I ever spent in the former Max Fish), so when I was down there this past weekend, it didn't feel all that different to me. But it seemed an improvement over the venue's usual vibe, which had started to get a little clubby. Rimkus' aesthetic, on the other hand, is a better fit for Asbury's motley assortment of tattooed punk and rock 'n' roll types, laid-back Jersey beach bums, and expat Manhattan gays.