Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Clark Street Gem "Max's Place" to Continue Under New Ownership


Max's Place at 4621 N. Clark (provided by Micah Hilgendorf)

A classic Clark Street dive bar, Max's Place, is getting a second shot at life under new ownership.

It wasn't so long ago that Ed Warm bought Carol's Pub and invested even more in the interior and exterior of the bar, still keeping most of the "charm" neighbors had grown to love over the years. It has turned into a very popular spot for folks from all over.

Now, another often unnoticed bar on the same block of Clark is ready to do the same. 

Micah Hilgendorf and his partner purchased Max's Place at 4621 N. Clark along with the building housing it. If you haven't been, Max's is a true Chicago dive bar, named for previous bar owner Maxine  and featuring a group of "regulars," great drink deals, and dive bar ambiance for miles.

Mr. Hilgendorf plans an interior renovation that stays true to Max's dive bar roots while making the bar more welcoming from the exterior. Plumbing and electrical in the vintage building are being upgraded and the roof will be replaced once the weather cooperates. Expect facade repairs to begin soon. 

If you are worried that the nostalgic Old Style sign will be removed, fear not! It has already been refurbished with more energy efficient LED bulbs and will be staying as a Fully Krausened beacon for all. 

They plan to apply for a back patio license with lighting, landscaping and seating. 

Finally, those of us who have enjoyed the Max's experience over the years will be happy to know that longtime bartender and soon to be great-grandmother Teresa is still bartending.

Hilgendorf recounts the first time he entered Max's:

"A bartender from The North End suggested I check out Max’s back in August.  I’d driven past it hundreds of times and never noticed it. I stopped by that afternoon and instantly fell in love with the place. There was this gorgeous mahogany and stained glass art deco bar tucked inside, and a colorful collection of regulars. It was my 50th birthday, so I bought a beer and the customers and staff eagerly told me the history of the bar and neighborhood with all its ups and downs. I knew the building was in rough shape, worn and neglected, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities. We decided to buy the building and closed mid-December. I haven’t met Maxine, but after hearing the tales of her storied life at the bar I couldn’t change the name.

It’s going to stay Max’s Place, a neighborhood dive bar. It does need some updates and repairs but we’ve already made good headway with the sound, tv’s, and lighting."

Hilgendorf is no stranger to the Chicago bar scene. He, along with business partner Brett Swinson, own Atmosphere (5355 N. Clark) as well as The North End and The Lucky Horseshoe, both on Halsted. 

Lots of changes on Clark, for sure, and this is a good one!

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